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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
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At that moment following another 90 minute whole body massage a block from the Mekong in Luang Prabang, a Disneyland of world heritage, filled with French and German and Italian babbling idiots on medical canes craning their arthritic necks toward cold Moscow winters while grasping folded maps of Earth filled with blood red dots depicting their guesthouses and casinos featuring obsessive oval tongued storytellers without maps, canes, awkward packs, widows, orphans, or land mine survivors piloting bomb boats down the Nam Ou river recycling ordinance, a foreigner put a pile of gold on a table in Laos, turned to the old man squinting through one good eye and said, “I will give you this pile of gold for your daughter.”

“I want more,” said the old man. “Her face and body and heart is Lao. She has Vietnamese blood. It is supply and demand. Business is business. It’s all about value. No plastic. Cash only. See this machete?” He waved it in the man’s face, cutting him off.

Nearby, two American males hadn’t decompressed. They tried to speak in complete sentences. It was impossible. One started, trying to release sounds, impressive words, phrases, sentences and, like a game of chess, war or conquest wearing stupidity and a clear lack of respect the OTHER one cut him off at the throat with sharp sophisticated annunciation. A verbal machete. Frustrated, he grimaced suffering severe brain damage. Short circuit. Transmission lines went down. Thud. Crash. Burn.

The two Yankees were fresh off the banana boat. They’d sailed out of NY, past the oxidized tall green lady, diverted through the Suez Canal, picked up some palm oil in Goa, and translated the lack of wind into thermal icecaps near Ceylon where they surveyed tea plantations harvesting vast green high grade qualities of pure logic in a scientifically approved coherent genesis. The ship’s captain texted his mistress in Kuala Lumpur. “I’ll be late for dinner.”

She was engaged to a dour celibate hypocritical monk disguised as a novice meditating in an isolated cave on the Tibet-India border. She missed his calm sense of (purpose) intention and clear motivation. She hoped he would someday complete his destiny to be One With Everything. He would leave the cave, travel south flying fearless inside the randomness of nature’s unfatigued winds to  meet her at an undisclosed location. This was her secret desire, wish, dream and consistent memory. 

She imagined him bargaining with his flesh covered skeleton. It was a brief sustained temporary life condition. He negotiated with scattered Sumarian script etched on clay tablets. He brushed shard dust off shard dust, revealing to his half closed whispered eye lines and sharp indentations, partially formed circles, zig-zag lightning bolts and fingerprints. 

The whorls reflected dim filtered afternoon light into his retinas. A middle aged male Laotian dwarf in a well cut gray suit coat, black baggy pants and sturdy green army issue tennis shoes walked past. Pink sky streaked sunset. He’d been walking all day. His stride was steady. Other than a bowl of noodles near the Mekong he’d been raising dust. Now he was headed home, passing golden wats, shimmering pots of food cooking on clay burners fired by kindling, blaring TVs, noisy greasy engine repair shops, bamboo pavilions and an idle tuk-tuk. 

He walked across a red iron bridge above dark water and down a dusty road to his bamboo home complete with a single wat bulb surrounded by dancing omnivorous insects.

He removed his shoes and put them near the door. He slapped his jacket against a wall releasing day’s dust. He hung it up. He splashed water on his face and smiled at his incomplete reflection. He poured a cup of tea, ate a handful of sticky rice and prepared his table. 

He spread out a large sheet of rough handmade beige paper, camel hair brushes,  and black ink. Life gave him art and he used art to beautify life.