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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
Timothy M. Leonard's books on Goodreads
A Century Is Nothing A Century Is Nothing
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.50)

The Language Company The Language Company
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)

Subject to Change Subject to Change
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)

Ice girl in Banlung Ice girl in Banlung
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)

Finch's Cage Finch's Cage
ratings: 2 (avg rating 3.50)

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Pain's Logic - TLC 33

In Bursa the logic of pain met pain’s tolerance, pain’s loss, pain’s memory, pain’s attachment and pain’s fascination.

Awareness of dancing consciousness morphed a heavy dull throbbing sensation through exposed jaw nerves. Pain danced and sang along invisible blood red threads. Pain visualized minute tentacles of laughter.

Roots of pain bellowed in cold-hearted tissue.

Earlier, Dr. Death massaged tissue preparing it for a heavy-duty stainless steel syringe cast in Turku, Finland with a perfect circle for an index finger.

One by one he inserted three needles filled with anesthetizing solution into soft pink pliable gums. The downward thrust of pressure was constant and bewildering.

Numb the daze. Dumb the naive.

It didn’t take a well trained discerning eye more that a nanosecond after the partial was removed to sense the tooth witnessing interior monologues, dialogues and soliloquies of red stormed flesh pain - a sickness leaving the body - as Winter Hawk winged one true sentence.

The old recalcitrant reclusive tooth was exonerated. It’d served its animalistic purpose with multiple labia and nurturing oral stories. A heartbeat’s death defying rhythm pulsated faster than shadows divorcing themselves in blind love’s labyrinth.

After five days of whiteout blizzards Lucky enjoyed a perfect moment with ice coffee at dusk near a water fountain pen having resolved a molecular reality.



Defrost your imagination - TLC 32

“Today is a good day to be empty. Practice 10,000 breaths until you disappear,” said a Lhasa monk petting a Sumatran tiger facing extinction by Malaysian villagers burning down forests to develop cosmetic palm oil exports.

“Yes, not too detached and not too sentimental,” said Zeynep sitting at a restaurant table creating surrealistic art in her notebook. She drew stick figures with wild forested hair eating purple paper mache houses beneath a startled orange sun as disoriented Bursa talking animals crammed in spinach, green salad, tomatoes, grilled meat, rice and beans.

Across town on the TLC teachers’ apartment balcony sentry ants alerted the tribe to food. They marched from a drainpipe in single file, climbed over the edge of a plastic pot discovering good dirt. Teams fanned out sensing discarded muesli particles.

A mottled wingless insect living in bamboo detected worker ants approaching. Insect couldn’t fly. It scurried up a thin stalk to a green leaf blending in. Its feelers cleaned dirt off head and shoulders sham poop.

A gravedigger eating a hazelnut and strawberry jam sandwich on whole grain bread with grade A black olives harvested from Mudanya orchards nestled tight against Marmara Sea soil spoke to the insect as ants preparing their final assault gathered below the leaf.

“I need to move you.”

“Thanks. If I’m discovered I’ll perish. What do you suggest?”

“We use a leaf. Climb on it. I will let it go, floating over the garden. It will cushion your fall from grace. You will have a soft landing and better than a 51% chance of survival. Ground zero with better cover, food and dew you understand?”

“Ok. Thanks. 51% is better than zero.”

“You sound like an investment banker. Don’t mention it.”

“I need a new adventure.”

“Don’t we all. Here you go.”

Digger did what he had to do. Found a broad brown leaf. The insect climbed on. He released the vein-lined parachute into thin air. It floated. It landed on a huge exploding yellow sunflower.

“Goodbye,” sang the insect, “you extended my little life. I’ve survived to walk another day.”

The gravedigger sang, “Happy you...until we meet again.”

The Language Company


Another day in Mandalay



I am an old dialect of Kalapuya tribes. I respect the spirit energies. I hear with my eyes and see with my ears. I understand your love for the spirit power guardian. I am an ancestor speaking 300 languages from our history. Now only 150 dialects remain.

A hunting gathering people, speaking Pentian, we numbered 3,000 in 1780. We believed in nature spirits, vision quests and guardian spirits. Our shamans, called amp a lak ya taught us how seeking, finding and following one’s spirit or dream power and singing our song was essential in community.

I speak in tongues, in ancient dialects about love. They are dialects of ancestors who lived here for 8,000 years before where you are now. In the forest near the river all animal spirits welcome you with their love. They are manifestations of your being.

I am blessed to welcome you here. You have walked along many paths of love to reach me.

My dirt path is narrow and smooth in places, rocky in others. I am the soil under your feet. I feel your weight, your balance - your weakness and your strength. I hear your heart beating as my ancestors pounded their ceremonial drums. I feel the tremendous surging force of your breath extend into my forest. Wind accepts your breath.

I am everything you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear. I am the oak, the fir and pine trees spreading like dreams upon your outer landscape. I am your inner landscape. I see you stand silent in the forest hearing trees nudge each other. “Look,” they say, “someone has returned.”

I love the way you absorb the song of brown body thrush collecting moss for a nest. I am the small brown bird saying hello. I am the sweet-throated song you hear without listening. At night two owls sing their distant song and their music fills your ears with mystery and love.

I am warm spring sun on your face filtered through leaves of time. I am the spider’s web dancing with diamond points of light. I am the rough fragile texture of bark you gently remove before connecting the edge of an axe with wood.

You carry me through my forest. Your flame creates heat of love. I am the taste of pitch on your lips, the odor of forest in your nostrils filling your lungs. It is sweet.

I am the cold rain and wet snow and hot sun, and four seasons. I am yellow, purple, and red, blue, and orange flowers from brown earth.

Language cannot be separated from who you are and where you live.

I say this so you will remember everything in this forest. I took care of this place and now your love has the responsibility with respect and dignity and mindfulness.


wheel of time

Tibetan monks created a Kalachakra universe at the Denver Art Museum.

They meditated on the impermanence of life.

After completion they destroyed The Wheel of Time mandala.

 In a procession blowing horns and clanging symbols they carried it to the Platte River. They released it into the river to eliminate violence in the world.

Seven billion humans celebrated.

“Not all the clowns are in the circus,” whispered a dying girl trapped in streaming media selling FEAR.

In her wishes, lies, dreams, memories and reflections she is a Wovoka, a Paiute weather doctor with power over rain and earthquakes. Her Ghost Dance returns souls of ancestors.

“You got that right!” yelled a boy spilling secrets from Pandora’s box.

“Yeah,” said a girl. “Reality is the funniest thing happening. It’s impossible to take any of this seriously.”

“True. When I grow up to be big and strong I will be an archeologist. I will play and dig in dirt. I will brush things off revealing stories. I will destroy things to learn things.”

“I want to swallow the world but I am too full of sorrow,” said one poignantly.

“I’m going to start a club for procrastinators,” another suggested, “anybody want to sign up for unlimited access?”

“Are your needs being met?”

“Excellent question. I have a need for freedom and a freedom from need. Perhaps I’ll end up taking care of people like us,” said a girl named Hope. “I’m the last myth that dies.”

“Yeah, you can work in a day care center for adults.”

“That’s a-dolts.”

“Hah! Everyone is heading back in the direction they came from,” acknowledged Martha Ann, fixing her broken glasses with duct tape. She died of leukemia at thirteen holding courage.

“Remember what Joyce said? Wipe your glasses with what you know,” said a kid watching her experiment with optical illusions.

“Are you plagiarizing again?”

“Not exactly. It’s taken out of context.”

“Textile, tactile, texture, context, content, abstract, where’s it all going?”

“Let’s not have this conversation in the abstract,” screamed an emotionally abused child after being whipped with a fishing pole by his neurotic scared angry mother condemned to a wheelchair.

“Are we wondering or wandering?”

“Where’s eternity end?” the astronomer kid asked.

“I’m going to study the bottom line,” said a boy raising a digit in air testing incisive imprecise global market index indicators based on economic assumptions. “If we control the debt, we control the country.”

“International financiers run the show, babies. Politicians are their slaves.”

“Welcome to the American Suffering Society, ASS,” said another.

“I thought this was the Academy of Healing?”

“You’re in the right place at the right time. Let the clinical studies begin. I feel free!” sang the chorus.

“Who’s got the placebo?”

“I’m going to cut cage locks, release birds, lone wolves and screaming eagles into the wild beyond where they belong,” sang a girl, “and then I’m going to cut through the net of ignorance.”

“They will never escape the sky,” said a child doodling on polished glass with a diamond mind.

“I’m going to take up the flute, lute, harp and violin,” chimed a musician. “Small ensembles are the coolest, Baroque style. The suites are the small sections.”

“Can you play The Four Seasons?”

“Depends on the time of the year, dear. I’m working on it. Violin solos are tricky. They’re intense without being tense. Be patient.”

“We’re all intensive patients it should be easy. Now there’s a lesson, to be sure. Patience is our great teacher. We should be grateful to people who make our lives difficult. They are teachers.”

“You’re a poet and don’t even know it,” said a kid with bedside manners.

“But your toes show it because they are Longfellows,” replied a youthful sage.

“They smell like the Dickens,” said a disembodied voice.

“I was born a poet like a bird’s born to be a musician. It’s all instinct, play, imagination.”

“Well, I’ll be smudged,” a kid yelled, lighting sage for a kiva ceremony.

“The future is in garbage, I’m telling you. Be a trash collector and find all kinds of cool, interesting stuff people throw away,” said one. “They buy it, use it, forget about it, get bored with it and trash it. I’ll start a recycling center. We can exchange old stuff for new stuff. Like blood.”

“That smells nice,” a garbage collector said to a sage burner.

“Let’s create a book,” said one to all, “and we’ll be in it.”

“Hey, cool idea, then we can use episodes for stories or vignettes or salad dressing.”

“We need stories, air, water, sex, shelter, food and...”

“Will it be a man-u-script or a woman-u-script?”

“Both. If it ain’t on the page it ain’t on the stage.”

“We are authors looking for characters,” said an Italian kid named Pirandello.

“I am a plot looking for a character. I am a plot dragging characters around with cinematic jump cuts.”

“It will have characters and conflict,” said a young scripter. “It will be full of irony, symbolism, weather and sex. Vietnam is a woman having her field plowed.”

“Absoultely,” said a writer. “More than that it will have want, obstacles, rising and falling action and resolution with emotion as characters change and grow and realize their authenticity. You will experience what characters feel, taste, touch, hear and see revealing themselves through action. Socrates subordinated character to action. Just get to the verb.”

“Sleeping alone is boring,” said Sunflower, a blind masseuse at Seeing Hands in Kampot, Cambodia. Her hands were all.

 “Wow! Let’s make it immediate and dramatic like focusing a lens. I’ll play director.”

“Exactly. A series of conscious and unconscious levels, you know, kind of like a maze or something, a puzzle palace. I need your help with internal and external dialogue as characters reveal their insecurity and fears in the dark night of the soul, how they trade their soul to the devil down at the crossroads at midnight, how they are comfortable with their insecurities and their desire for self-preservation by scheming because they want to be important. They don’t have principles or morals. They want recognition not fame. They have to survive.”

“Let’s act out their fears, hopes and worries.”

“Do your characters discuss moral ambiguities?”

“Yes. They speak with nouns and verbs and use specific adjectives for description. The slay adverbial dragons with an ultra fine red pen.”

“Is a place like this hospital, a character?”

“Sure, a place has character doesn’t it? Writers have used geographical settings: Vietnam, Morocco, Bhutan, Ireland, Cambodia, Tibet...Room 101.”

“That sounds like a nature versus man struggle or man versus man. You become the thing you fight the most.”

“Do they playfully deconstruct the truth with literal actuality moving the narrative forward to get to the root of their experience?”

“The roots are below the surface,” said a young nun washing teacups on a Taoist mountain in Sichuan, China.

Get is the joker word in English. A lick my clit agent at a Willamette Writer’s Conference said this is a beautiful word farrago photograph, a jazz beat stylistic work in process. She suggested throwing the narrative out and focus on one geography or one specific time.”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Ice Girl in Banlung, Ratanakiri, Cambodia. It was a wild west town of 25,000 filled with red dusty roads near the River of Darkness and animist cemeteries.

“Beware of naysayers, soothsayers and book doctors,” said a kid. “We are in this together. Through thick and thin. Through health and illness. Writing is a disease. We lie for a living. No editor will drink champagne from our skull. We’re trapped in our bodies, trapped in this hospital, trapped in a never-ending labyrinth. You’d think there’d be a moonlighting word doctor around here disguised as a heart specialist. Shine on bright star.”

“Ok,” said kid writer, “how’s this sound? Write everything in the first five hundred pages, uh, I mean five pages. Grab the reader with a hook beginning every sentence, at the end of paragraphs and the end of chapters. Start and end sentences with a strong word.”

“Good idea,” said a kid, “keep them turning pages. What happens next? If there’s no plot, nothing happens.”

“People are born. People live. People die. People wait. People fart around. Nobody comes. Nothing happens. Is this a fill-in-the-blank trick life test?”

“Life gives you the test first and lessons later,” screamed a overworked, underpaid and undersexed Hanoi teacher losing face in front of 80 robots. She pounded a podium with her pedagogical Marxist elephant control stick.

“It’s ok to be horrible. Some writers quit because they want it to be perfect. Many never start. Many never finish. It ain’t about starting, it’s about finishing. Write your dash. You need to be passionate about your work without being obsessive-compulsive. Do it because you love it. Make a beautiful fucking mess. Clean it up and make another beautiful mess.”

“Editing is a form of censorship,” said a kid waving a pile of rejection letters. “You don’t want to make the average reader work too hard do you?”

“No, they’re lazy to begin with you know. Obese, addicted to fast food, screen visuals, social web sites, FaceLost, and sextexting with short attention spans. No attention span? No problem.”

“Rewriting is writing. Cold hard detached. Revision is the party. Being a writer is like having homework every single fucking day.”

“What’s a word doctor?”

“Someone who fixes man-u-scripts,” said a blind kid waving a Mont Blanc 148 piston fountain pen splattering A- blood on everyone in their radius. “They rearrange words and sentences. Writing is like digging a well with a needle.”

“Punctuation is a nail. Period.”

“Just tell the truth,” said a Cambodian orphan. 1 of 12,000.

“The truth is, speaking of a fix, does anyone have any spare drugs?” said an addict in a gazebo group, “I need to get out of here and take a trip.”

“We, you, he, she, us, them, they, little old me and I ain’t going anywhere,” they chorused.

“Where’s the scissors? We need a sharp edge here.”

“Cut it out! Who’s got the cosmic glue holding everything together?”

“I have two scissors and one brother.”

“Your English is fluent.”

“Paste it where the sun don’t shine!”

“In your wild creative dreams!” yelled a kid.

“Super cosmic glue keeps everything from happening at the same time.”

“Living well is the best revenge. Best served cold.”

“Revenge and ambition are why humans have wars. 4,000 years of killing each other and no knows who the king is.”

Rose knew they were doing hard time. Have mercy. A child chimed in, “I’m going to be a historian. I’m going to stand on a street corner begging people to give me their wasted hours.”

“Where have I heard that before?” asked a Chinese refugee child from an orphanage flooding the Yangtze with dead children.

“What will you do with the time you collect?” asked her friend.

“Visit sick children in hospitals where they do evolutionary experiments to stem the cells.”

“Or is it sell the stems?”

“Speaking of stems, I’m going to be a gardener, can’t imagine anything more beautiful than making nature astonishing to the eye. Leave something for future generations.”

“If you plant roses and need someone with experience to take care of thorns give me a shout,” said Tran, a brave one-legged Vietnamese warrior child wearing his heart on his sleeve.

“I’m going to study Donatello,” said another.

“Who’s he?”

“He was one of the greatest Renaissance artists. He was born in 1386 in a place called Florence, Italy.”


“Well, he was very honest, had integrity and was super original for his time. Technically he worked with anything. You name it, wax, bronze, marble, clay, rocks, wood and glass. He raised the status from someone who created beauty to a craft, a real artist. He was always discovering new tricks of the craft.”

A child painting with smoke on mirrors blasted light, “Hey! That’s what the Greeks believed. Everything was beauty and order.”

“Order, structure, design, form, function, oratory, mathematics, seven musical notes. Beauty originated with them didn’t it?”

“You got it,” said the painter. “Hey, you know what? I think I’ll take the day off and be creative.”

“The present moment is eternal reality,” whispered a child, “We live in the eternity of the instant.”

“It’s about process not product.”

“Whew, that’s deep!”

“Yeah, we’re all in the shit, it’s only the depth that changes.”

“Yeah, if it’s not one thing it’s something else.”

“Fools speak the truth.”

“Fools are everywhere. We are fools whether we dance or not so we may as well dance. If fate doesn’t make you laugh you don’t get the joke. The value of truth value meaning is in the mystery.”

“Tunkashila is grandfather’s spirit. It’s wisdom and calmness,” said children inside a sacred circle. “It is the way of the warrior. We are all warriors.”

Rose listened with her heart-mind. She knew others were not ready to receive their insight and blessings. Terminal black tires left skid marks through lives. People they hadn’t met, contacted, or connected with would feel the heat and smell fire where their wheelchair rubber met the road. They were true spiritual road warriors with distinct calibrations, shifts, vibrations and energy frequencies. The future would be a scary time for older generations unaccustomed to their authenticity.

Rose knew it would be a real beautiful mess figuring out where to put the disability act in their short sweet Ghost Dance. Perhaps in rising action leading to the epiphany, or in the falling action leading to a beautiful heart breaking emotional catastrophic epiphany. Cut. The end. Cue applause.

“How can I know what I think until I see what I say?” a child said out loud with reported speech. Their wheel of life pealed skin down, playing tag inside crazy wisdom.

Who’s dragging around this bag of bones?

“To sleep, perchance to dream.”

“A dream is an unfulfilled wish,” said a kid with a PH.D in psychoanalysis from the Jung Institute.

“What else did he say?”

“He said, ‘There is no royal road to wisdom. To arrive in the future I must journey to the past. To attain the sanity of oneness with the One, I must risk the whirling madness of the possessed. One must confront their shadow or be crushed by it.”

“I like it,” said a seer named Rumi. “What else?”

“Well, here’s another cool thing he said. “I liken the formation of a character to weaving fabric. You know what happens when you make a mistake? The whole pattern is spoiled. You have a choice. You can finish the garment, however it will always be botched and ugly, or you can unravel the weaving back to the first mistake and start again. That’s basically what analysis is about. It’s a tedious job. The patient is scared and hostile. The analyst lends patience, honesty and courage.’”

“Excellent,” yelled kids, “here’s to our being patient patients with authenticity and courage.”

“Speaking of courage, I’m looking for someone who knows reading and writing,” Rose said to the children.

“Oh, I don’t know anything about reading and writing,” a child told Rose. “I thought you said eating and fighting. I know about that.”

“Perfect, let’s go together,” said Rose.

Subject to Change 


fish likes hamburgers

A Siem Reap street juggler balanced a flaming stick on his nose.

Tourists owed and awed.

A traveler spread thirty watercolor pens on a table.


“Can I use them?” said Lukas.

“Yes you may. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Color your dreams.”

Lukas drew two blue dragons and some red slashes.

“The top one is the dragon elephant. This one on the bottom can fly. Between them is a dead fish. They are fighting over it.”

“Why are they fighting?”

“They are hungry dragons.”

Lukas drew another fish outside the battle.

“This fish likes hamburgers.”