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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
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moon metro

Moon Metro subterranean subway car sped through optical tunnels.

Outside, an old Turkish man wearing a crumpled white hat walked with his wife.

She is his noun. He is her verb, her action.

Just get to the verb, he whispered.

Their language is filled with autumn browns, yellows, greens, golds, sparrows, blue jays, and love’s doves.

Far away on Memories Street, a street of regrets spilling potential, Passion danced with Death.

Moon Metro picks up speed hurtling through space-time.

Silent, salient passengers wear sad eyed desire.

They crave sleep in a tyranny of sheep-less-mess. 



After my tongue

After they cut out my tongue I started writing script.

I found a compressed black Chinese ink stick with yellow dragons breathing fire. I added a little water to a grey stone surface and placed the ink in the center.

Then, using my right hand, as Master Liu in Chengdu showed me, I turned the stick in a clockwise motion. Black ink ebbed into liquid as a drop of water rippled a pond.

After collecting ink I picked up my long heavy brown brush. Pure white hair. After soaking it in water for three minutes to relax it’s inner tension I spread out thin delicate paper.

I placed my right foot at an angle, left foot straight, my left palm flat on the table with fingers spread. I dipped the brush in the recessed part of the stone to absorb ink then slowly dragged it along an edge removing excess.

I savored the weight and heft. My brush has it own personality and character.       

There are at least 5,000 characters in my written language. I have much to learn and a long way to travel with this unknowing truth.

I sat up straight, took three deep breaths and exhaled far out into emptiness.

I centered my unconscious on the paper filled with nothing.

My wisdom mind of intent became water. It was quiet, calm and still with concentration and focus.

I listened to brush, ink and paper. I am a conduit.

Be the brush, be the ink, be the water, be the paper.

Each essence is pure, free, clear and luminous.

A Century is Nothing



"I think there are always two sides, and one of them is the unsayable. The utterly singular. Who you are; who you can never tell anybody. And on the other hand, there is what you can express. How do we know about this thing we talk about? Because we talk about it. We're using words. And the words never say it, but the words are all we have to say it."

  - W. S. Merwin  Read more…



Through the center

I climbed through the center of Bali inside magical light past an extinct sacred volcano at Lake Batur carrying spare ammunition, a small portable typewriter, a map carved on narwhal bone, a roll of scented four-ply toilet paper, codices or painted books and texts on bark paper called Amate, and cactus fiber including palimpsest animal skins and dialogue of Mayan origin.

My hair caught fire. Gathering flames I lit a piece of bark for guidance.

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. 

Source: A Century is Nothing.


Hokkaido Fabric

Perfect for each other with no emotional attachment, they jumped in a taxi to Hirosake castle gardens, filled with wide paths, cultivated plants, flowers, 300-year old trees, lotus blossoms in ponds and miles of lilies. 

After crossing wide timber bridges, they passed through large wooden fortress doors into gardens. Ponds near bridges were filled with wild white swans gliding along green banks. A castle sat high above large walls of measured stone blocks with a tiered roof and metal ornamentation.

They walked down a long street to a wooden temple with fresh mythological symbols on archways and roofs. The temple interior contained ornate carvings with sand raked Zen universes. Brown robed monks sat in meditation.

Away from the temple, distant valley mountain peaks were covered in snow. High white gray clouds covered and protected peaks from sky. Fields of rainwater lay in small furrows of well- manicured attendance. Tight blue bundles of feed, grain and potatoes rested as a solemn oath to diligent pastoral life in the mud and meadows of reality.

“Come, I show you fabrics,” Akiko said, grabbing his hand.

The Yukara Ori Museum specialized in hand loom woolen fabrics of Hokkaido. Their brochure read, “When Hokkaido is mentioned, people think of long, severe winters and heavy snowfalls, but when the snow season ends, Hokkaido turns into a colorful world of greenery and flowers.

"An outstanding feature is that our weavings are based on such themes as ‘Ice Floes,’ ‘Lilacs,’ ‘Sweet Briar,’ ‘Lake Mashu’ and ‘Swan,’ drawn from the natural beauty and climate of Hokkaido.

"All of the work is done by hand - from the initial spinning and dyeing of the yarns into hundreds of colors - to the final weaving on the hand loom. It may take years to design and complete a new piece."

Colors ranged from white to black. Themes were ice, villages, cranes, meadows, rivers, mountains, land and sea, and combinations of extremes in clear intimate creations.

A woman at a large handloom gently worked threads creating a growing design. People watched in fascination, until, bored by the simplicity of her Zen, scattered.

She twisted threads into a balanced weight and line before pulling and pressing them into a pattern.

“I know her,” he said to Akiko. “Her name is Little Wing. She weaves old stories into life’s tapestry. I remember a dream she created. Would you like to hear it?”

Source: A Century is Nothing.