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Wednesday
Jan252017

bored masseuse

staggering through blissfull
awareness,

laconic cell phone selfie love
thai video addictions

hungry for rice, money, families, love

daily nutritional intake
well removed from stone temples
historical perspectives

raising too many children
in male absent scenarios 
this glimmering

cube of ice

Monday
Jan162017

Two Hearts on a grand precious adventure

Once upon a time in the Land of Love and the Kingdom of Compassion lived the Princess of Chocolate and the Prince of Yogurt.

Besides their eternal commitment to each other they shared life with wise children, nature and a diversity of animals.

Human potential radiated from the center of their becoming. They followed their hearts. Hearts pulsated, calling them to explore beyond, beyond the wild beyond. Becoming existed, somewhere, somehow.

“How did we grow,” asked the Prince.


“I feel it,” said the Princess.

“What do you feel,” asked Prince, ready to comfort her if she needed a long hug. He knew people needed five hugs a day for emotional wellbeing.

She was strong and happy in her heart.

Waiting for her voice he made cheese sandwiches with tomatoes on thick slices of whole wheat bread.

“I feel where the ocean begins,” said Princess.

“Shall we go there?” said Prince, slicing fresh apples from their fertile garden stretching further than he could see.

The Princess and Prince felt season’s spark. They witnessed a new spring.

A monarch butterfly wearing black, orange, green rust chiffon vermilion draped robes like rose petals soared from the garden into an emerald blue sky filled with white cumulus clouds.

Their vegetable and herb garden was illustrated with roses and rainbow kites. It nurtured rabbits, bears, sheep, wolves, eagles, camels, snow leopards, tigers, elephants, fire-breathing Komodo dragons and Hopi Kachina dolls.


Spinning meditation prayer wheels from Tibet clicked circles. A lotus flower growing from mud floated with violin and cello fugues. Books singing tribal languages explored imagination’s unlimited potential.

“Yes,” answered Princess dancing with joy. “Let’s have an adventure! Let’s find the beginning of the ocean.”

They packed up lunches and supplies: extra crunchy peanut butter, strawberry jam, Poulsbo bread, juices, bananas, apples, mangoes, milk, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, pasta, rice, toothbrushes, Oral-B Mint waxed mental floss, fragrant soaps, candles, jeans, sweaters - embroidered with Celtic designs - hats, watercolors and paintbrushes (just in case) a teddy bear named Kuma and their favorite book of haiku poetry by Mountain Wizard.

They saddled up Wind & Lightning. Following their guide, a golden eagle with a wingspan that covered the sun and moon they traveled in four known and unknown directions at once.

They traveled on Wind & Lightning day after day and night after night and never became tired.

They dreamed with their eyes open.

“Am I this or am I dreaming,” said a butterfly.


Dazzled by beauty their hearts flowed and floated until they reached the edge of the center.

One day on their adventure, while swimming in the ocean of their love they dove below the surface of appearances. Everything was simple and pure. They traveled deep into gentle turquoise waters.

They discovered a secret spirit cave pulsating with the heartbeat of inspiration and beauty.  They explored underworld ocean treasures. Everything was perfect, eerily silent and mysterious.

They came to a moss-covered door.

“Where is the key?” wondered Princess.

“A ha, excellent question. Perhaps someone or something will help us.”

Just then a silver backed sliver of a dolphin emerged from wave shadows, circled them and released an old rusty key.

The door opened easier than breathing. They floated into a light-filled cavern discovering walls and ceilings of world art arranged in a formless form, a magic time circle.

The Princess and Prince floated into prehistoric 26,000-year old cave paintings of archers, bison, deer, seal traps, fish and time-marking combs. They studied whorl fingerprint pigments of ancient storytellers in a Spanish cave near Ronda.

They traced Greek and Roman beauty and realism. They floated among architectures and columns extending into the sky. They admired fabulous paintings of people, places and things. They explored Asian Silk Routes wearing delicate strong ornate silk fabrics.

They laughed and played and zoomed around discovering living art. They met Giotto, Brunel, Bosch, Rodin, Matisse, Vermeer, Homer, Monet, Goya, Durer, Leonardo, Degas, Go Again, Dali, Picasso and new friends.

 They experienced beauty, light, form, texture, line, color, and perspective. They absorbed honor, clarity, charity, passion, loneliness, and hopefulness with precision.

They celebrated whimsy, humor, anger, fear, kindness, intelligence, trust, forgiveness, love, authentic joy, gratitude and courage.

 “This is all so beautiful,” said Prince. “The more we see the less we know.”

“I am so happy,” said Princess. “True knowledge is knowing how much we will never know. May we stay here forever? We need to see and feel everything.”

“Yes we will, my Princess,” said the Prince.

The Princess and Prince were so overjoyed they cried tears of happiness. Their tears created the beginning of the ocean.

Monday
Jan092017

Mandalay 

Hi. My name is Timothy Mouse. I am a wanderer. I wander and wonder. Like Alice, I try to think of six impossible things before breakfast.

I was in Mandalay four years ago at a private school playing in the Montessori program.

The kids taught me to say I am a miracle.

Street photography was sublime.


The management wasn’t professional so I left after ten weeks. Probation is a two-way street. A friend who stayed for two years said they bled teachers after my departure.  

Dr. Scary and Mrs. Marbles were a strange dysfunctional couple. 

I really enjoyed Burma. The people are gentle, kind and smiling.

I had the chance to return with a language company in Yangon. It was fantastic combination of helping others develop vocabulary, critical thinking, facilitate teaching skills, laughter and do street photography experiments.

Everything I do is an experiment.

The CEO was mean and selfish. He lost the lease on one building where we had classrooms so I was downsized with three other teachers after five months.

I was grateful for the opportunity.

I returned to Seems Ripe, Cambodia doing a volunteer English project in a dusty rural reality for two months with low-income families.

I independently published a new book of black and white images called Street 21, about Yangon. O joy.

I published two short literary works – My Name is Tam, erotica from Vietnam and A Little BS from living and facilitating heart-mind in Laos. All the works are on the side bar.

Hungry, I scoured potential sources in Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Comabodia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Laos.

It’s a wonderful life part 42.

In June, 2015 I accepted an offer to return to Mandalay and here I is. Third times the charm said Lucky Mouse. The food is spicy. The rainy season is here, said clouds. They know me by now.

I speak perfect broken English.

As a Turkish lawyer said in The Language Company, I know my English is not grammatically perfect but I know it’s fluent. Yeah baby.

It’s an English language company. Teachers. Someone with a pulse.

Similar to TLC with more engagement diversity.

My classes begin with 9th graders at an expensive private school 6-7 and 7-8 a.m. Courage to speak and vocabulary while having fun in a non-threatening environment. Draw your dream.

Next are anxious college prep seniors. I came from Cambodia on an elephant. Really, said one sharp girl. Yes, really. His name is Packy and he’s in the secret garden having lunch.

They wait in a fancy air-con room on the fifth floor near the broken elevator for university entrance results so they can apply to a school and become a doctor or engineer or real human. They are the future. We focus on speaking fluency. Take a risk, kids.

Afternoons are with Primary 1 & 2 at a rural private school forty-four minutes out of town from 1-3.


Reminds me of the primal experience outside Shuangliu, China in 2005 – trees, farmland, rivers, birds, wildlife and subsistence living.

Kids there easily said, “Let me try!”

It’s the first time any have had a native speaker. Open your head, heart and mouth. Draw your dream. Write what you don’t know. 

Say please and thank you. Practice good manners. Share. Be kind.

Say I need help. Three little important English words.

The assistant primary teachers and admin are supportive and understand my small character development.  

Young learners teach me songs. We hold hands, share hugs, dance, sing and play games using the alphabet, animals, and colors. Storytelling imagination. We practice cursive writing. The hand is directly connected to the heart.

We meditate on our breath. Posture.

I act my age.

It’s the same Asian educational story - young ones have no fear. O joy.

Older ones have been tyrannized into passivity. It’s a cultural/educational reality. Big ears no mouth authoritarian social conditioning. A few have the courage to ask questions. Group work allows people to speak freely.

The culture taught them to respect other people’s integrity. Silence is the norm. Silence is the loudest noise in the universe. 

As Einstein said, "Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information."


I respect their situation. Students are emerging from imaginary shells and discarding social context masks with a new sense of love, responsibility, leadership ability, polite manners, teamwork and courage.

They experiment in creative notebooks. I bring objects to sterile classrooms – a yellow leaf, an apple, a feather, rocks, plants, and bouquets of yellow and white daisies.

Smell this.

Draw this and write your feelings.

Your creative notebook will be with you long after textbooks gather dust. It’s your best friend.

Share with your pod people.

It’s a joy to be a small part of their process. Let’s have an adventure.

The 9th graders live in a hostel, sixteen to a room. Sexes don’t mingle, when I shift them to team tables with each other they freeze initially. Patience is my teacher. Say hello. Ask questions about name, family, food. Spark it.

Next week I expose them to Emotional Nourishment. Share hugs. Hold hands. Dance like nobody’s looking.

THE WORKERS

Let’s go.

One day the 12th graders walked down five flights of stairs to sit out of the broiling sun in small groups drawing, sketching, coloring and writing about the workers.

Seventeen young male and female laborers inside the front gate shoveled sand, mixed it with water, carried piles of rocks on their heads to a cement mixer, welded metal and created a new cement floor. Earth needs more floors.

Local teachers couldn’t get their heart around this essential activity. A young student from elementary said teachers nicknamed me Free Man.


Amazing Victory (his English name) a local teacher said he appreciates the students having this opportunity. He said it’s a welcome sight in their system focusing on texts, marks, exams and rote learning.

We returned to the classroom and wrote about the experience. Share details with your partner. How did you feel? What did you smell, hear, visual awareness? Where’s the real education value?

One girl drew the back of a woman in a floral designed Longyi balancing a basket of rocks on her head. Clear description. Her essence. Too shy to share with the class I did it for her.

Look at this amazing art.

Homework – go for a walk with your notebook and colors. No gadgets.

Basics. Ten teachers stay in a hotel. It’s an old funky comfortable place with a blue shimmering swimming pool and well-established interior meditative garden with palm trees, wild flowers, ponds, lotus, ferns, and green life. Birds and cats. Like China 1,000 years ago.

The smiling laundry woman wears red and orange and green tie-dyed blouses. Ebullient. She’s been here thirty-one years. Her ironing skills are immaculate as we converse. I will invite her to come to my classes and teach the kids how to apply gentle pressure to cloth. The young ones will get it.


I wear a Longyi, a form of sarong, the male national dress, every day. Delightful. Soft fabric, thread, colors. Students and teachers appreciate this. Ventilation.

Conservative morose foreign teachers strangle dreams with a tie. Tuck in your shirt. I imagine their classes border on boredom. So it goes. 

AIS prison school where I did the Montessori program for ten weeks is east of town.

I hitch into town for supplies and street photography. This location is central, easy for walking, exploring and connecting with the local community. A bike would be sufficient however it’s too fast for street work and engaging people.

The road is made by walking.

You know how much I love dust.

I enter a pharmacy near Paradise Hospital for powder anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals to add to water.

Where are you from, said the smiling man of Burmese-Indian heritage. Tibet. He got it. Tibet? I see. Yes, I walked here. Come visit again. We can talk. You can be my friend. Ok. See you later.

The camera entered a narrow lane. It passes wooden and bamboo homes with families sitting outside or indoors watching a soapy opera, men reading papers, kids playing, women bathing at a community zone. Draw water.

A plane flew overhead. Three kids sitting on a bamboo platform waved at the plane. Good-bye, ha, ha.

Thanks for your patience, a great teacher.

Truth, love and compassion.

Thursday
Jan052017

poetry is in the street

poetry is in the street
it goes arm and arm with laughter
living on the margin
of life and humanity
masks adapt to social context

hear a butterfly graze your ear

the old knife sharpening man
with his bucket, low wooden stool
and water leans into the effort
blading an edge
his lower back is sore,
standing spine
shuffles away seeking blades
dulled by all the chopping

Tuesday
Jan032017

sitting

In a quiet zone at high noon

Nourishment in the zen eqilibrium

Overhead fan churns invisible air

Grandmother peels purple grapes

Mother waits for noodle soup people

Son plays games on phone, chattering with friends

No blaring TV,

Obscure voices from slurping nurses, doctors,

Poor people wait for a miracle of modern medicine.