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Monday
May212018

Riverside, Laos

Tourists passed through Riverside in north Laos.

They stayed 2-3 days exploring villages up river, crawling through deep dark unconscious caves where Lao lived for nine years when Americans bombed them back to the Stone Age; trekking through mud with leeches sucking hemoglobin, climbing vertical granite mountains overcoming unknown fears and relaxing.

Lao became refugees in Thailand. 200,000 plus immigrated to Minnesota. Colder than the Plain of Jars in Jan you wary.

This is the life, said an Italian girl morphing into a blue, yellow and white monarch butterfly with wings of light. She flew away on a soft breeze.

Tourists find. Travelers discover.

Traveling isn't fun, said a French father to his whining son, it's an adventure. Yeah, yeah, said son, smashing his fragile heart on a sheer granite stone face rising over a roaring brown river feeling loss and confusion leading to wisdom and delight.

Play.

What am I doing in this primitive natural place dancing with orange, blue, black, brown, white fluttering butterflies? I could be home playing with electronics. My dad drags me around Earth. Life's a bitch. Fat chance said dad. We are here to get out of our comfort zone. Shake rattle and roll.

How did I grow said a fluttering black and blue butterfly. White orange sunsets gathered clouds for a conference. Sky mind, cloud thoughts.

Three neurotic American women sat in the restaurant one morning. Dalao the cook said, the buffet is here, gesturing to the sideboard. Oh, said one woman, we were waiting for someone to bring us something. So it goes in their prejudicial world of expectations, sense of entitlement, profound paradoxes and innate lazy stupidity.

Ha, ha, said laughter laughing, life's fateful joke is on you. Do it yourself.

The stranger said eating well is important for a balanced diet. They found this funny. Momentarily. Time stopped.

Lapsing into personal quicksand they loaded up china with apples, bananas, dragon fruit, bacon, potatoes, eggs, yogurt, and bread. Expectations slathered their small short Laos experience with anxiety. They resumed looking at gadgets. No speak.

Lost human connection.

Isolation, alienation, boredom and fear's patience noted their neurosis.

I feel alone, said Isolation staring at a mirror seeking Beauty who had no tongue. She was the mother of death.

I don't fit in, said Alienation. Smiling talking visitors appear to know someone. Nobody talks to me or likes me.

Boredom said, don't be fooled by appearances, they are all strangers to themselves. Schizophrenics seek solace in the company of other strangers. I'm bored. Pure and simple and I need an AI electronic fix.

What's AI, said Fear's Patience.

Authentic individuality, said Boredom looking for time. I know it's around here somewhere I know I packed it. I should travel lighter being light.

Space-time folded.

 

The Yankee Doodle Dandies plugged personal electronic gadget DNA into a wi-fi signal. They ignored each other. Now we feel human.

One morning a Spanish man said, my boys love playing in the mud here. We don't have mud in Barcelona only cement. I've never seen them so happy for hours.

A relaxed European man seeing life's river flowing smiled, This is my Shangria-la. There have been a couple of places where I feel this. I don't need to go anywhere. I sit contemplating the river, mountains. I explore. I meet the people. I experience the essence of real life here. I slow. Down.

A French father of two kids said, this is a positive experience for my children. They've seen people making things with their hands; baskets, clothing, boats, bamboo walls for homes, slingshots for hunting birds. My kids' artificial world is pre-packaged junk in supermarkets and department stores with labels, "Made in China." They've seen the real world here. How people live.

One morning the English facilitator watched the man and his wife, son and daughter eating. The boy, 15, got up walked around the table and gave his father a hug. The father's right arm embraced his son. They held each other for eternity. The stranger cried seeing this love.

We are decompressing from cities, said a French mother of three, 4, 10, 12. Sharp mountains wearing forests welcomed floating clouds. Rising water above, flowing water below.

How wonderful, she said, three weeks with no electronics.

The facilitator and French family with three kids sailed up the Nam Ou. They stopped near a village in a jungle. They walked through sand and up a steep path. The four-year old studied trails of black ants.

Bamboo homes, orange satellite dishes, packed earth, forests, community. Local girls gravitated to new friends, holding hands, laughing, plaiting French hair, and sharing flowers. Language lived outside boundaries. Childhood. Instinct.

Village girls walked new friends to the shore to wave goodbye. Our future is now. They returned to the jungle past footprints collecting memories.

Kids sailed through narrow passages of streaked rocks, past rising karst formations, thick jungles and tenuous black gnarled roots submerged in rapid brown water to Supjam, a weaving village.

Shy women displayed their cotton and silk scarves, rainbows of color waved on bamboo poles outside homes. Soft sell smile.

Sky watered Earth. Shelter from the storm.

Rain lashed everything. Looms clacked as girls compressed threads. Black and white ducklings waddled through puddles enamoring kids. Mother bought a white diamond silk scarf. The facilitator discovered a blue piece. Children mesmerized by looms, hands and feet playing gentle treadle rhythms. Music.

Water melodies danced off PSP roofs.

Puddles muddy paths. Life.

The world is a village.

Cry me a river, I'd like to see you cry me a river.

I'm tired of crying a river over you.

Now you say you love me.

The current carried them down river through rapids. Father snapped images of jungles, trees, mountains, river, moments in time. We'll look at these memories when we get home. Freeze a memory.

They evolved in a Zen painting.

Be the water.

Be the brush.

Be the ink.

Be the paper.

River said, where are you going?

Children sang, row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Mountains, clouds, forests, spiders, butterflies joined the chorus.

A Little BS

Saturday
May192018

Collecting Dust

I climbed through the center of Bali inside magical light past an extinct sacred volcano at Lake Batur carrying a portable word machine, a map carved on narwhal bone, codices or painted books and texts on bark paper and cactus fiber called Amate including animal skins and dialogue of Mayan origin.

Gathering flames I lit a piece of bark for guidance. My hair caught fire. I mixed volcanic ash with water, creating a thick paste of red ocher, a cosmetic balm rich with antioxidants. I applied this to my skin to gain entry and passage through the spirit world of ancestors.

To become clay I created clay. I needed dust.

I collected dust and minute grains of mica. Teams of gravediggers, weavers, butchers and writers explored rain forests, jagged mountains and impenetrable jungles collecting dust.

Hunters dived into, under and through massive Columbia waterfalls near tributaries where the confluence of Northwest rivers gnashed their teeth, snaking past abandoned Hanford nuclear plants where fifty-five million gallons of radioactive waste in decaying drums left over from W.W. II slowly seeped 130 feet down into the ground toward water tables.

The waste approached 250 feet as multinational laboratories, corporations and Department of Energy think tanks vying for projects and energy contract extensions discussed glassification options and emergency evacuation procedures according to regulations and Robert’s Rules Of Order inside the chaos of their well ordered scientific communities.

Tribal survivors ate roots and plants garnished with entropy.

 

Survivors passed through civilizations seeking antiquities. They reported back with evidence sewn into their clothing to avoid detection at porous India-Tibetan borders. They severed small threads along hemlines, Chinese silk gowns and Japanese cotton kimonos. Their discoveries poured light rays into waterfalls rushing over Anasazi cliff dwellings into sage and pinion forests.

Survivors arrived at a mythopoeic part of their journey.

I reflected on the unconscious residue of social, cultural, ethical and spiritual values.

I needed masks. I needed to understand the underlying mysteries inside death masks. I confronted the realm of spirit. I created masks on my pilgrimage. My journey was the destination. Masks signifying the dignity of my intention thwarted demons and ghosts. I became spirits dancing in light.

Everything was light in my shamanistic interior landscape. I released the ego - Ease-God-Out - detached from outcomes, eliminated the need for control or approval, trusted spirit energies, and remained light about it.

Inside light with slow fingers and long thin ivory nails I turned clay into pots. Spinning spirals danced on the wheel of time.

I finished throwing them used them for tribal ceremonies and smashed delicate clay pots to earth.

They exploded into the air creating volcanic ash coating everything in a fine dust.

I dug into the soil of my soul.

I scattered raw turquoise stones along a trail of sacrificial tears on a long walk through geography.

 

Sunday
May132018

Lucky in Ankara

Richard, The Language Company director in Istanbul called Lucky in Fujian, China for an interview. “Why Turkey?”

“I’ve never been there.”

He laughed. “Good enough for me. How’s Ankara sound? We have a big center there. See you when you get here.”

“Ankara’s fine. Thanks for the opportunity. It’s my lucky day.”

He gifted Chinese teachers plants, bamboo mats, the I Ching and The Diamond Sutra, the worlds oldest printed book circa 868.

Non-attachment illusions of freedom were gift-wrapped.

Winging away as Winter Hawk he exhaled on western winds.

*

On a 5th floor balcony in Ankara he fed wild birds, nurtured roses and played in good dirt.

He collected poetic and photographic evidence.

The rise and decline of Byzantine civilizations heard historians standing on street corners, lost highways or walking arduous mountain paths amid sweet smelling manure with tattered hats in hands, pleading, “Give me your wasted hours. Give me your wasted hours.”

Besides helping students discover the courage to speak another tongue with an active voice he got a part-time job driving a taxi-bus.

At 9:11 p.m. he drove a 15-seater minivan to a Soviet-style apartment in a middle class neighborhood. A swarthy man named Pida Pie apple of his mother’s eye opened a sliding door.

A symphony of high heels announced a parade of skintight blond Russians. They purred into the taxi-bus. He smelled cosmetics, lip-gloss and sex. The night was young.

Sly Pide Pie got in.

“Go man go.”

Lucky delivered the ladies to The Kitty Cat Night Club and returned to the apartment for another load. By 10:10 p.m. he’d transported thirty.

 “Pick them up at 5:15,” said Pide.

Lucky went home for a catnap with his estranged wife from an arranged marriage. She’d traded her sex for security and knew how to rub a ruble together.

After collecting women smelling of dancing, drinks and cold-blooded sex with diplomats and Turkish tycoons he took them home. High heels and acrylic language laughter faded. Dawn broke bread.

He stopped at a cafe for muddy coffee and aired out the taxi-bus.

Beginning at 7:00 a.m. he picked up kids for their daily dose of force fed feedlot education. They stumbled out of apartments piled in and fell asleep. Weeping mothers on balconies waving soiled red/yellow hammer and sickle cleaning rags sang good-bye to despondent sons and daughters.

A Chinese waif dreaming of autonomy had her eyes wide open. “Patience is my teacher,” she said.

“I remember you from the Fujian university. How did you get here?”

“I graduated with an M.A. in Languages, Humor and Courage. I stowed away on a ship leaving Shanghai. It sailed through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal and into Izmir. I hitched here and got lucky. I discovered a nanny position with a family. I tutor their kids and teach Chinese calligraphy at the school.”

“Great wild future. What happened to your dream about being a waif?”

“No fear. It’s in The Dream Sweeper Machine. The day after tomorrow belongs to me. I am Curious.”

“Nice to meet you. I'm Lucky.”

“Sure you are. May I drive?”

“Why not,” giving her the tantric wheel of life.

“Wow,” she said, shifting gears, “this is fun. Let’s see how slow we can go.”

At 8:15 a.m. he returned home for a shower, good eats and dreams.

At 2 p.m. he walked to The Language Company. Students were doctors, lawyers, health care workers, engineers and university students. He was a guide from the side through etymology, phonology and morphology. The majority had passive verbs down.

“How are you,” he asked.

“So-so,” sang the chorus. “Tired. We need Xanax.”

Finished at 9:00 p.m. he started the Russian roulette acquisition cycle. “Put one in my chamber,” whispered a leggy blond. “My safety is off and I am well lubricated.”

Every morning, working with Omar, a blind Touareg amanuensis from the Sahara, whom Lucky befriended by fate in Morocco two days before 9/11 while on a six-month hiatus from the united states of consumption, they finished polishing a gonzo memoir. A Century Is Nothing. Omar sent it out.

Fifty unemployed suicidal literary agents huddled around a fire in a Benaojan cave south of Ronda, Spain read Omar’s epic.

26,000 year-old Paleolithic paintings and dancing shadows displayed bison, deer, archers, and crude time-comb slashes. Red and black fish were trapped in black cages. Fingerprints whorled hunting stories.

Agents concurred. It isn’t mainstream and too experimental. We can’t realize 15% from this. Thanks but no thanks. Let’s burn it to keep warm.

Omar published it independently in October 2007. He loved the do-it-yourself process: text, blurb, design, basic marketing and cover image of a Chinese girl.

The girl’s image expressed emotional honesty with natural innocence.

She was trapped behind a hard steel grate-full educational reality in Maija.

Her eyes held world secrets and unlimited potential. She’d stared at Lucky, a professional stranger and an aberration in her universe. Her sisters and schoolmates pushed against her. She was trapped against a locked gate. He was on the other side.

He raised a small black machine to his eye. She heard a subtle click. A shutter opened and closed freezing time, capturing her soul on a memory-fiction card. He smiled, thanked her and disappeared. She didn’t know her child eyes would grace a book cover for everyone to see, breathing her immortality in alchemical manifestations.

 

He’d visited her primary school speaking strange unintelligible words, singing and dancing. His laughter and smiles were a relief from the autocratic, punishing manner of bored illiterate women teachers. They didn’t want to be prisoners any more than the kids.

No one had a choice here.

You did what you were told to do in a harmonious society filled with social stability, fear, paranoia and shame ordered from Beijing well removed from a world where farmers struggled behind oxen in rice paddies. Green rice stalks revealed their essence below a blue sky in mud and meadows of reality.

Leo, a Chinese friend said, “Censorship not only chokes artistic talent but also weakens the Chinese populace who are forced to be less imaginative and less inventive. The crisis in education has been a hot topic for years. Why are so many students good at taking tests but poor at analytical thinking? Besides the commercialization of education, the absence of a free, tolerant environment has stunted the growth of students and teachers.”

Self-censorship, shame, insecurity and humiliation devoured steaming white rice and subversive dreams.

“Yes,” Omar said, “it’s almost as true as if you can believe it.”

Lucky shared it with friends and strangers. His best friend buried a copy in an Arizona time capsule.

Omar sent copies to nomadic Blue Men in the Sahara.

Through Constantinople publishing contacts it was available at D&R Books in Ankara, Bursa, Timbuktu and a big river in South America.

In Ankara with Omar’s blessing, Lucky signed copies. It was a strange sensation spilling green racing ink from a Mont Blanc 149 piston driven fountain pen on parchment fibers.

The first copy was for Attila the Hungry, a large bald man with a spectacle business. He sold Omar BanSunRa-Ray glasses on spec-u-lay-shun.

“The future looks brighter than a total eclipse,” said Omar.

In 2012 Lucky and Omar in Cambodia cut the original to shreds, polished it and published the 2nd edition with Create Space on Amazon.

The Language Company

Tuesday
May082018

Listen 

I am a person who listens for a living.

I listen to wisdom and beauty.

 

fast wing

subtle light

shadow
little wing

magic 

light dance song bird
kitchen girl is pregnant with hope
save me baby

spill ink
take a line for a walk

Saturday
May052018

Chiyo-Ni Haiku

My hunter of dragonflies

How far would he have strayed today?

Fukuda Chiyo-Ni