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Street 21
Street 21
Yangon, Myanmar
By Timothy M. Leonar...
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Friday
Oct192018

Tranquility

Sitting in a quiet zone noon hour
Nourishment
Zen equilibrium peace

Overhead fan curls churns air
Grandmother peels purple grapes
Mother waits for noodle soup people

Son plays homework game on phone
Chattering with friends, no TV, no obscure blaring idiot box
Voices from slurping nurses, doctors, poor Lao patients
Wait for a miracle of modern medicine

It's quiet enough for scribbles, a poem story
Tranquility
Stranger sits alone
As whirling fan
Discovers invisible air

Angkor Wat

Wednesday
Oct172018

Hello Chicken Soup

Goes the market women’s mantra song waiting for customers in Sapa, Vietnam.

Basic English is all you need to sell chicken soup. It arrives with long white noodles. Food women work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. 

Sellers, shoppers, locals, a few tourists with guides or in pairs feel comfortable with inexpensive market food. What is the profit margin, food cost, labor cost? 

Two foreigners live here. One is a Frenchman mid-20 with a brown ponytail. He speaks fluent H’mong. He stands on the cement staircase between the cloth market and sprawling food tables. He stares at people eating. He doesn’t smile.

He was married to a local H’mong girl, 19. She had a baby. Two years ago he left her. He pays support. Now he is chasing a Red Dzao girl. He works for the International Manipulate Relations Love Company with a Big Orgasm.

A fluent thin foreign man in his 20’s wearing large framed glasses carries a worn knapsack. He walks fast. He buys greens and tofu. He goes into a small shop for cooking oil. He hurries away over broken disjointed concrete blocks covering the central sewage system. He is in exile from far away. 

The Red Dzao women are persistent sellers, Buy from me. Repeat. Repeat. They never give up.

Mo, my 10-year old teacher gave a good lesson in how to handle these sellers. We were hanging out.

She said, When the women ask you to buy something, don’t say maybe, or later, or not now, or tomorrow, they will remember you and now and maybe and later and tomorrow they will tell you, you said tomorrow, later, maybe, now, Thanks for the lesson, Yes, I don’t know but I understand.


My and Mo, Sapa, Vietnam

Red Dzao

Mo

Monday
Oct152018

Tolstoy & Wolves

Fear sells.

Fear speaks volumes being a universal language. Good idea, said Zeynep, Work fear and sex into this. Readers need to keep turning pages. This work is not linear. It doesn’t flow from A 2 Z. It presents a form with a minimum of punctuation.

Punctuation is a nail.

Is it an error or a mistake (part of a statement that is not correct) that’s a question for a linguist. I love Linguini, said Devina. What else? Split the infinitive hairs. Infinity. Infinite. Finite. Dynamite. Kids know infinity, adults are scared of it, said Death. It’s long, cold and black. Nothing ever happens again. 

Well, it’s ok to be horrible, said Z. Some writers give up because they want it to be perfect. You need to be passionate and persistent about your art without become obsessive-compulsive about it.

A writer has grit and stamina.

Do it because you love it. Make a mess. Clean it up and make another mess. 

A work of art is never finished. It is abandoned, said Duchamp Ulysses Take Nothing For Granted.

Kill your father. Marry your mother. Push a stone up a hill. It rolls down. Push it up again.

We are all orphans sooner or later, said Rita, Speaking from my hard lived experience. Experience is my teacher.

Editing is a form of censorship, said Leo Told Story, waving a pile of rejection letters from lame mainstream upstream.

Tolstoy said, “When a human is born they face three paths. If you go to the left the wolves eat you. If you go to the right you eat the wolves. If you go straight you eat yourself.”

 

Phonsavan, Laos

Tuesday
Oct092018

Grit & Gratitude

Being nine Lucky helped 4th grade geniuses become more human near Jakarta.

Engage-study-activate. Everyone had fun.

Students learned that whining was boring and useless. Smart ones knew without understanding. They knew what they didn’t know.

Kids shared Socratic discussions. They explored and expanded creative imagination journal writing, cross-disciplinary art, chess and teamwork development projects. They built and flew kites.

They practiced good manners and treated everyone with respect.

They focused on developing character: zest, courage, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, curiosity, fairness, generosity and integrity.

They shared soft eyes, relaxation techniques and meditation mind maps. They accepted personal responsibility for learning and exploring the process of becoming.

He assisted them to develop critical thinking skills outside imaginary social and educational conditioning traps. “I am here to help you make mistakes.”

One day a young teacher kid said, “We need challenges, Teacher Lucky.”

“What kind of challenges?”

“We need hardship and deprivation.”

“Yes,” said another teacher, “we need to take more risks.”

“How do you develop courage?”

“Through failure. We love to fail better."

“Correcto mundi. Welcome to The Think for Yourself Academy. Everything we do is an experiment.”

They planned, designed and constructed an elaborate high-risk rope and creeper vine obstacle course in jungles challenging body, mind and spirit. Teamwork skills blossomed like orchids.  

*

Residents near his garden sanctuary passed a tall green spiky cactus stretching arms into bluebird songs. A nanny carrying an infant memorized the echo of white cat paws trailing flip-flops. Faustus, seeing through innocent eyes rode behind his pedaling Chinese father.

A laughing skipping girl negotiated freedom.

A beggar wearing broken shoelaces studied pavement. A man spinning in his labyrinthine puzzle struggled with an activated cell phone in worn green baggy shorts hoping the call would save him from loneliness, boredom, alienation and metaphors like death.

Children in pink pajamas collected brown leaves and fragrant yellow-white hibiscus flowers.

In Bahasa sun a middle-aged daughter spoon-fed her mother in a wheelchair. Swallowing love her smiling mother remembered when she did all the feeding.

The Language Company

 

 Gili Air Island

Friday
Oct052018

Moroccan Girl Dances

The Moroccan girl with wild brown hair tied back is not on the train leaving a white station. 

She sits on her haunches. Her bare feet dig soil gripping small earth pebbles as exposed root structures dance with toes. 

Her toes are extended connections where her shadow lies forgotten. It spreads upon vegetables. They prowl toward late winter light.


She is not on the red and brown train zooming past green fields where her sheep in long woolen coats eat their way through pastures after a two-year drought. She is inside green with her wild brown hair pulled tight. 

She is not on the train hearing music, eating dates, reading a book, talking with friends or strangers, sleeping along her passage, or dreaming of a lover. She does not scan faces of tired, trapped people in orange seats impatiently waiting for time to deliver them to a desert Red City. 

Her history’s desert reveals potentates sharpening swords, inventing icon free art, alphabets, algebra, practicing equality, creating five pillars of Islam, navigation star map tools, breaking wild stallions, building tiled adobe fortresses, selling spices, writing language.


She is not on the train drinking fresh mint tea or consulting a pocket sized edition of the Qur'an. She does not kneel on her Berber carpet five times a day facing Mecca.

She does not wear stereo earphones listening to music imported from another world, a world where people treasure their watches. Where controlling time is their passion for being prompt and responsible citizens giving their lives meaning.

She is not on the train and not in this language the girl with her wild brown hair tied back with straw or leather or stems of wild flowers surrounding her with fragrances.

She is surrounded by orange blossom perfume beyond rolling hills cut by wet canyons and yellow and green fields where her black eyes penetrate white clouds in blue sky. 

Her open heart hears her breath explore her long shadow, causing it to ripple with her shift. 

Her toes caress soil. She is lighter than air, lighter than eagle feathers in High Atlas Mountains. She smells the Berber tribal fire heating tea for a festival where someone wears a goatskin cape and skull below stars. 

It is cold. Flames leap from branches like shooting stars into her eyes.

Someone plays music. It is the music of her ancestors, her nomadic people. She sways inside the hypnotic rhythm of her ancestral memory. 

She is not on the train. 

She is inside a goat skull moving her hoofs through soil. She dances through fields where she danced as a child seeing red and yellow fire calling all the stars to her dance and she is not on the train.

Weaving A Life (V4)

Burma