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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
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Humble Attention

Earlier in the tale of two cities, Sit Down in Trabzon called Lucky in Giresun.

There’s a meeting tomorrow of all the native speakers. Catch a bus today, this afternoon, tonight, there’s no hurry, the meeting is tomorrow. What time? 9:00 a.m. All the native speakers will meet here and go to the local police station. And then? You need to bring your passport and four passport photos. Ok, and then?

Lucky was through this process before – bureau crazies, clerks, bored administrator traitors, self-important regal dignitaries well fed, others less so, intent on pushing, writing, typing, folding, stapling, sorting, reading, mutilating, massing papers, filing, speaking cardiovascular wage slave vocabularies pretending to be busy intent on bent necked acquiescence of humble attention to DUTY as complacent dreams explored new fantasies filled with vague prospects of retiring before dying of tedious boredom.

And then? We will go to the bank and get you a tax number, oh and by the way, you don’t happen to have $2,500 or $3,000 in your pocket to open an account do you? No? I didn’t think so, well it’s not important, don’t worry about it, Ok I won’t, Ok then see you later, what time are you coming, Around 6-7 keep the key for me, Yes, I don’t know where it is, I’ll ask one of the other teachers to wait for you, don’t worry about it, Ok thanks see you later.

On the G to T bus a father and son sat squeezed like fresh orange juice and nervous son with his fish mouth open conditioned by his father to be afraid of TIME kept checking his gigantic round watch.

Black Sea extended its long blue story.

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After eating, Turkish businessmen splashed aromatic tonic on their hands, patted jowls and slicked back thinning hair. One man adjusted spectacles. Eating fish fast made him sweat. Sharing a joke about bones he smiled at an assassin writing a character sketch.

Ancient serious women in scarves accepted mountain village hard life. Young women divorced from confronting nature, soil and invisible roots appeared dazed and confused facing steep cobblestone Trabzon streets confronting miles of shops, window dummies and aggressive male textile hawkers yelling, “BUY FROM ME. SPECIAL MORNING PRICE. HAVE A LOOK-SEE. GET LUCKY.”

Shoppers’ visual examination loved text-based consumption paradigms.

Lucky hung out observing the flow as cats prowled for scraps, bodies with a voice cautioned parking spaces and lost souls attempting sad cellular telecommunication connections stumbled through temporary life inconveniences below Roman walls.

An abandoned Roman castle overlooking Giresun had a secret tunnel to a nearby is-land where Amazon women lived. They mated annually. Keep the race going. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, said an Amazon woman to her Black Sea lover. Take your time. After you make love to me I will kill you and eat your heart. I have something to look forward to he said, Yes, death is a new adventure. Nothing ever happens again.

Mosque mullahs calling the pious echoed exhortations swirling down cobblestone alleys past Giresun boys riding spoke less bikes between crumbling yellow Ottoman walls and mackerel sellers admiring haphazard silver fins lying dead eyed glossy on ice crystals melting into a refrain, The Sea! The Sea!

12 October 12

Turkish peasants love guns in a hunting culture.

Bang-bang, you shot me down. Bang-bang I hit the ground. Bang-bang that awful sound, Bang-bang my baby shot me down.

Are you the hunter or the prey?

Giresun munitions shop until you drop dead sold rifles, double-odd, pistols, bullets, calibers, double gaged gangrene, lock, stock and barrels of talking monkeys and circus clowns. Guns on weary authoritarian desperadoes waists itched bedraggled large breasted concubines as hip-hop head wrapped plastic hearted lovers cried.

Hearing suffering’s universal broken laughter a stranger composed a melody....”I Am So Tired.”

I didn’t get here by whining, said a sad neglected child bride victim of sixteen conceiving a child out of fear and loneliness facing future abandonment in an arranged marriage. Have a healthy progeny or get stoned to death for adultery, said her mother stirring tomatoes.

- Citizens play ‘walking chicken’ on narrow sidewalks.

- Drivers confront mechanical anxieties with bravado.

- Everyone's so excited as emotional paleontology squirmed dialogue with an EIQ of -7.

- Citizens remain traumatized since birth and younger than memory’s fascination.

- Sex is a DUTY said The Posture Police.


The creature behind the black curtain at the shooting gallery in a Giresun shopping center was s-l-o-w on the trigger to hide two graphic red and black bulls-eyes on a target screen after Lucky, exploring as usual parted the curtain asking what, oh what’s behind the blackness? Low and behold. Tear guts. Targets galore, said the creature. Lock n’ load. Fire when ready Freddy keep hands steady.

Happiness is a warm gun.

The Language Company



Get to school fool

Get to school fool: the Turkish TEOL Push Them Through Language Skool was, how do you say depressing oh my yes students on hard luck streets among Roman ruins showed him, illuminated him into their sadness and loss. Serious big time long lost time depressed.

Theydontknowwhatheydontknow or carets ate all.

According to history’s short story 10,000 Greek warriors escaping starvation and being pursued by Persian hoards ran down Trabzon mountains yelling, The Sea! The Sea!

They built Sumela Monastery in 386 A.D. on a remote mountain cliff at 3,900 feet facing the Altindere valley. Orthopedic Greek monks painted alfresco du jour stories with Apostles. Emperors came and went. Ignorant 20th century tourists defaced faces with pens, trowels, keys and bleeding fingers. Erase the past, yelled Turkish Authority taking a page out of Chinese and Khmer revisionist plans.  

Green and yellow forests, high rocky peaks and gorges inhaled fresh mountain air. Dirt paths escaping civilization’s eternal chaos forded deep rushing rivers climbing through autumn leaves hearing crescendos of water music singing, Pilgrimage. Up. 


Creativity is a verb.

He accepted Z’s advice on not trying to be perfect. Don’t try. DO. He remembered her counsel. You will abandon this beautiful mess.

In Trabzon, he discovered new Merrell hiking boots for 112 bones to replace three-year old Hanoi relics. Soft slow in-step and out-step. Stepping is freedom.

Walking makes the road.

Timeworn boots remembered Hanoi alleys, Sapa Mountains, 101st Screaming Eagles wandering Hue with ghosts, Saigon pagodas,

Angkor Wat temples, faded colonial yellow buildings near a corroding Kampot iron bridge,

Battenbang genocide survivor stories, serene Luang Prabang monks receiving alms before dawn on winter mornings, Nam Ou river songs in Laos,

Phongsali tribal dialects, Pakse cotton threads, sacred Banlung animist jungles, Siem Reap lovers,

Nepalese villages below Annapurna, Boudhanath circumambulations, Vientiane genius kids developing social intelligence and character with curious laughter and Trabzon hospitality.

At Sumela boots built for comfort not for speed explored terra firma. Then he strolled along the Black Sea to Giresun.

The Language Company


Along the road with Other

Lucky sang, “Farewell. Got my traveling shoes, traveling hat and walking stick. To travel is better than to arrive. I got the walking blues. Everything I do is an experiment. This was the perfect place to be a stranger in a strange land between two cultural land messes. Wandering among Anatolian tribes long ago, near and far away as Other Muse.”

“Who’s Other Muse?” said Zeynep.

“You are Other Muse with an absorbent mind. We are stream winners. Fifty-one days were enough of enough. It was beyond wild.”

Other spoke: Black Sea pink dawn light layered blue waves of beauty. Blue kills me. It’s nothin but the blues. Blue kills me with the solemn tenacity of melon colon only. Get to the verb, said Beauty. It’s a free form jazz poem. It has enough true fictionalized material and verifiable facts to be plausible. You are a crazy genius.

“Y were many Turkish, besides being hospitable and generous so aggressive, paranoid, psychotic, and sullen?” said Rita in a nutshell.

“It’s DNA genetic fear based insecurities + too much meat and not enough sex,” said Lucky. “In cultures like Cambodia where food is scarce, people have more open sex, but dream of food. In cultures where food is abundant like Turkey, sex is more taboo and people dream of sex.”

Get it in writing.

The act of writing isn’t life and it isn’t you.

It's ten talons clawing at twenty-six letters.

There’s book learning and there’s street learning, said Cosmic Education. Memory is desire satisfied. Memory is a lie layered with truth. Memory creates fiction and fiction creates memory. Preserve memory in a story. Memory bank.

“Today your life and destiny are the same. Only madmen and pilgrims travel alone,” said Zeynep.

Veni, Vidi, Vinci.

I came. I saw. I helped. I walked, said Lucky.

That’s life. The end is the beginning, said Zeynep. The beginning is the Middle Way. Not too detached. Not too sentimental.

Discernment. The day after tomorrow belongs to me, said Other Muse.

Start in the present, flashback and write to the end, said Z. I can’t tell where the real ends and artificial begs for precision.

Lucky bought rope from a grizzled Giresun man selling tools in a wooden shack near a teahouse where idle men stirring sugar cubes discussed local hazelnut production sales figure estimates while watching Ankara political parrots on an idiot box extoll their insensitivity to dissent while demanding extreme Deep State censorship to cope with poverty’s tyranny as the smell of fresh silver fish held a Blade Runner. Honed well. Lucky faced rope choices:

Hang up.

Hang laundry.

Hang yourself.

Hang your head with a dangling modifier.

Hang around, the art of creative travel writing.

Be various, said Curious. Punctuation is a nail. Here’s a box of punctuational.

Accept loss forever, said Zeynep. Death is beautiful because it doesn’t exist. That's not the real reason you’re leaving is it?


What is your R-7 variant motivation?

Dying here by the Black Sea is my fear. I want to die dancing in my mute Cambodian lover’s arms. I am dying from an inexorable beautiful sadness. My heart-mind is shattered. One dies twice. When they are born and when they face death, according to a Nam survivor. One should die once in their life to begin new.

I was born dead and slowly came to life like you, said Z. We helped each other cope with the collective insanity.

The Language Company



Ebru had apartment keys. A broom and mop.

Certified by Deep State Central Cleaning Company.

Dust my room. 

Alerted to transcendental shifts by Ebru, the bald strapping German TEOL teacher paid 170 Lira to take a Dolmus bus seating twelve through Giresun careening up and down hills as the driver played a tactile aggressive horn past sad-angry husbands, sad-angry wives, morose backpacked kids, ebullient silver fish sellers, grizzled tea men huddled in shady alleys, hawk nose women chattering laundry, boy clerks soaping glassy watch out time windows with fateful despondency seeking clarity, negotiating twists, turns and exists to reach a harrowing slick 65 degree upward slope leading to a white apartment bordering The Department of The Forest at the end of the yellow brick road.

He unlocked the door. Five empty freezing rooms.

The kitchen counter displayed empty soda bottles, a black plastic bag of cheap harsh stale tobacco, a box of lavender herbal tea flowers, 1/2 jar of Nescafé, one white coffee cup, one spoon, a sharp knife from chapter one, a fork in the road and one bright yellow plate.

On a white laminated shelf was a first edition of Metamorphosis by Kafka, signed by the author.

“Read this,” said Silence the loudest noise in the world.

Next to it was a black key for a teachers’ cabinet at TEOL.

“Call Trabzon,” the German man informed Ebru. “We have an MIA.”

She rang Sit Down in Trabzon playing his weeping guitar while the world slept.

“Lucky Foot took a hike,” she said.

“Call out the SWAT team and dogs. Hunt him down. Kill him with extreme prejudicial kindness.”

She called SWAT. The line was busy.

The German returned to TEOL and gave Ebru the key. She approached the cabinet. A rancid smell smashed her nose. “What’s that god awful stench?”

Gagging, she threw up all over a teachers’ desk littered with empty tea glasses, cell phones and half eaten Simit pretzels. Regaining her composure she approached The Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari (1920).

She heard a ticking sound. Maybe it’s a bomb. I should call the bomb squad.

They arrived. A man in a bombproof origami suit applied a stethoscope to the front panel. Yes something is ticking. He drilled a hole and pushed an all-seeing microscopic eye into darkness. A mirror inside the cabinet reflected a thin piece of pulsating metronomic metal. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

“We’ll have to open this with thrilling caution. Get the Die Rector.”

The Die Rector, an economist knew what to do. “Let’s assume there’s no fucking problem. Give me the key.”

Ebru handed it over. Everyone backed up hard drives. The Die Rector, 56, who was scheduled for a heart-valve transplant in January, unlocked the door.

Inside was The Language Company by Zeynep, class rosters, green, yellow, orange highlighters, a silver magnifying glass, telescope, world globe, hourglass, rotten mangoes, a bag of hazelnuts, radioactive isotopes, a red rose with thorns, a dissolving image of a smiling ghost playing with Lone Wolf and Winter Hawk in a mountain meadow, a mirror, a dozing Black Mamba, a high voltage Dream Sweeper Machine from Hanoi, a Honer blues harp in the key of C, a magic carpet, one sugar cube, a glass, spoon, dry brown tea leaves, an empty bottle of Xanax, a ticking metronome, a bamboo forest, dusty footprints and rusty loudspeakers squawking:

We are Authority, Power and Control.


Two things happened. He saw his reflection and suffered a minor heart attack. The aggressive Black Mamba struck him in the neck, injected 100ml of venom slid to the floor and escaped to survive another day.

The victim collapsed writhing on the floor. He died in two minutes no more no less.

Ebru screamed, Oh no.

The bomb squad man stopped the metronome. “Time has ceased. Call an ambulance.”

The German called the Trabazon orifice. “We have a D.O.A. Die Rector in rigor mortise.”

“That's a you problem, not our problem. You deal with it,” said Trabazon. “Don’t bother us with petty details. No evidence no case. Die Rectors are a dime a dozen.”

The Language Company



Turkish coffee - hotter than hell, black as death, sweeter than love

“Where are you? I needed the documents on Saturday, you promised.”

“Yes. I wasn’t here. I was leaving.”


“Yes, leaving.”

 “Leaving what?”

“Leaving a comedy of errors.”

Lucky was a now. He delayed Sit Down. He learned to say maybe later in Turkey. It was lingua franca in inefficient micromanaged bureaucratic countries. Yeah, yeah.

Layers and years of later. He invented a tale. “I'll get them to you by Monday.” Ha, ha, ha. Monday turned into Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday. Lucky was a moss free rolling stone.

Please return to your seats. Fasten your seatbelt. Put your tray in an upright position and open your window blinds. Only the blind can see, said Omar adjusting his acuity.

Tuesday, October 30. Smell the scent and scene the screensaver scream team. His disappearance was discovered if you can discover a disappearance in a 4,000-year old historical zone.

Someone tried his line. A cold metallic message sang, “The number is no longer in service.”

It's a numbers game, said Profit Before People. They tried again. Ha, ha. No luck.

On the 30th, after the holiday, when Lucky was late for class, Ebru, the TEOL secretary in Giresun overlooking a Black Sea low cost coast harbor and Roman candle candy castles called him. No answer.

The previous week on the 23rd, she’d screamed in his cellular ear, “Where are you? You have a speaking class now.”

“I’ll be there in no time.”

At that decisive moment he was retuning his traveling shoes and salivating grilled meat. Coffee grounds coated his throat.

Turkish coffee should be hotter than hell, black as death and sweeter than love.

He showed up that afternoon and pushed TEOL students through a magic lantern language acquisition mirror.

A week later he was history.

Kill SIM

A German woman coughing on Flight 007 between Istanbul and Bratwurst via Bang Cock showed a refugee from Kiev how to fill out an arrival card for immigration.

A nervous confused Crimean woman wearing large silver hoop earrings fiddled with her passport and immigration documents misunderstanding quality of life values en route to sweet and sour Southeast Asian menu escapades with two daughters.

Ebru couldn’t find Lucky. His phone was dead. He’d turned it off and discarded the red Vodaphone SIM card into a green Re-cycle Through Re-Education Reform Labor Camp container at Gate 214 in the Istanbul pre-boarding zone while meditating on his death.

Passing through with élan.

He relaxed in 39B on an Airbus 330 with Winter Hawk gaining altitude.

Free to fly.

Bamboo exhaled.

The Language Company