Journeys
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Street 21
Street 21
Yangon, Myanmar
By Timothy M. Leonar...
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Entries in street photography (2)

Friday
Jul122019

Understory

“Learning is easy. Remembering is difficult. We have storage ability and retrieval capability. Speak memory,” whispered Zeynep doodling with magic pens on transparent paper in her elegant universe.

He'd had heard ALL of this before.

“Ha, ha,” he laughed seeing through their world of transparent stupidity temerity fear and never ending sense of confusion and so forth.

He’s seen it in the land of five red star golden Xiamen dragons

spilling black calligraphy ink on parchment

and now witnessed it in Asia Minority where bored

tired people ate grilled meat

played backgammon and twiddled retired thumbs

as metro cars carried morose living dead humans

dressed in black mirroring their soul

out to industrial wastelands on the far edge of Ankara

before returning at night filled with heavy hand carved

simple wooden caskets spilling wasted youth from the PKK war

front near Serious on the Iraq border.

 

Gravediggers and headstone carvers had steady work everyday everywhere.

Emergency crews pried a suicidal man from below Bursa subway engines after being struck by lightning.

He walked through an old expansive cemetery. It was spring. Wild flowers, white headstones, names, dates, and memories rested below tall pines and thick evergreens.

A woman sat on a grave pulling weeds. Tending soil. Nearby, her friend, sister, mother, aunt and grandmother from Asian Steppes speaking Tamashek whispered to a child, "She is cleaning the spirit entry. She is drumming remembering."

The child sang to the woman on the grave, "Auntie! Auntie," but the woman didn't say anything. She played soil like a drum. She was sad remembering her son, father, husband, uncle and grandfather. Their love and kindness.

Her tears watered red, yellow and white roses. A thorn pushed a white haired woman in a wheelchair along a path inside a humid rain forest covering 6% of the planet.

Smoke from burning bamboo and coconut leaves circled it's veins through a heart's four clamoring chambers. Smoke and love echoed from the Forest Floor to the Understory, rose to the Canopy and emerged through the Emergent.

Bird of Paradise, Eagles and Macaws lived here.

He passed chiseled stones wearing Arabic script.

There was a quick explosion of metal on stone. A man with a sledgehammer pounded a collection of memories around a grave. He paused, removed fragments and slammed his sledgehammer again.

The sun went into hiding. It rained. A woman played musical notes on Earth.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Tuesday
Jul022019

Buy From Me

“Buy from me!” sang the swarming young Black H’mong girls in Sapa, Vietnam.

They swirled around him like dancers at the faire, like gnats around a flame.

He was on fire and they wanted to save him.

The Black H’mong wear a deep dark blue almost black indigo cloth. After it’s been repeatedly washed and dried in the sun it takes on a glistening silver metallic sheen.

They crowded around him. He was a stranger in town. A stranger goes on a journey. Two kinds of stories.

Girls carried orange and green and blue and yellow woven bags around their necks. Inside the bags they had postcards of the Red Dzao people, narrow embroidered colorful wrist bands and thin hand made wallets. The wallets had a zippered pocket inside for secret money.

“My story is to sell in the street,” said Mo, all of 10. She wore a dirty green t-shirt. Her face was smudged with dirt. Her off white broken plastic Vietnamese sandals had seen their better day.

They cost 15,0000 Dong in the market. He gave her a blue 20. “Go buy some new sandals.”

She said, “Really?”

He said, “Yes, really.”

He waited in the food market surrounded by new languages, clattering dishes, the smell of frying food and a mishmash of costumed humans.

The Black, White and Flower H’mong. Red Dzao. Tay.

Mo came back with her new white plastic sandals in a pink plastic bag. She squeezed between two slurping H’mong women and sat down.

“Are you hungry?” he said.

“Yes,” she said.

“Ok, let’s get some chicken noodle soup.”

“Ok,” she said. Delicious.

 

Mo & My