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Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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Entries in street (6)




A man waits with a weight scale. A bag of potatoes. Cool shade. Dawn the down against red bricks.
He shines his black dress shoes with a newspaper. 
A woman in a turquoise shawl decorates stone with her whisk broom. 
A woman unfolds green stalk onions on a white plastic bag. 
Boys slap Tantric wooden masks removing yesterday. 
A light rain falls.
Sparrow wings flutter in your face. Directly. 
Their air currents support six prop jets as curious enthralled tourists press their faces against plastic glimpsing Himalayan mystery and beauty.



Street 2


Summer's here and the time is write for dancing in the street. Hanoi style. You can't photograph a memory. The Ministry of Obfuscation welcomes you with open arms. I am an accident that can think. Celebrate your imagination.




Sunday Scribbles


You are an object of endless fascination and speculation. This stranger in their midst. This creature alive and well singing a song about the disorientation, the unfolding process, dynamics. You are a ghost and people here have seen plenty of them. Before, now and later. 

It's theoretically possible to say the local people have an EI or Emotional Intelligence of -7. This simple truth is revealed through behavior, attitudes and verbal communication. It has nothing to do with family, values, education or social skills. I witnessed the same reality while teaching and living in China. Or should living and learning come before teaching? Everyone is a student, especially on the street.

There are book smarts and street smarts. "Theatre of the Street," is opening on Broadway and coming to a theatre near you.

In Asia, it's always a theatre on the street. Hustler heaven on earth. Of course it's all a fake. I am a fake. I am pretending to be exactly who I am. My story is filled with contradictions and paradoxes.

Here's what a small sign said about Buddhist statues in Asia.                                

Gentility - China

Perfection - Japan

Refinement - Thailand

Meditation - Cambodia

Affection - Vietnam



If you sit still long enough someone will pass by ringing a bell.



Labor to eat

Cash For Trash


Saigon, wandering and sitting in markets, pagodas, mosques, enjoying Indian and mutton curries, Italian lasagna, clean green salads after simple street food up north.

Images and serenity inside places of repose and spirit. 

At night across the street is live music and carnivals as Saigon hosts the Asian Games. I made images of Iraqi and Chinese kick boxers practicing at night, in the dark, shielded by the moon. Gaping residents pause and watch men and women punch and kick their training partners. Images will follow after editing.

Saigon (young, vibrant) is a complete delight after the hush of conservative Ha Noi (old, dull). Up north I lived in a normal neighborhood away from backpackers and neon for five months. I had a table, palm tree and balcony.

I'd sat in the Old Quarter for two weeks after Indonesia, more like Amnesia, then moved into a room in a house in a family compound. Dogs, yelling crying babies, construction workers, a "service" girl working the construction laborers under the cover of night, taking care of their desire, relieving them of cash. 

Here it's a different reality. Or, as the popular t-shirt says, "Same-same. But different."

I am in the heart of darkness. After sunset all the predators are out. Many are wearing stiletto high heels.

Are you the hunter or the prey?

On the street of dreams. Cheap digs, variety of food joints ranging from street eats to places with tablecloths. Plenty of foreign tourists moving through on a quick three day visit before taking the boat or bus to Cambodia. They move in tribes carrying worn guide books, wearing out thin soled flip flops. They are having an adventure.

They are gathering memories of weight and language and humid heat. Some of them look distraught, lost, angry, hungry and confused, just like people they know and love. Some older ones are long time residents. Their faces and posture are one step from the morgue. They struggle forward searching for who knows what.

Only The Shadow Knows!

Two visions in Ha Noi along the road to the airport. A confidant looking man walking near a lake tripped on cracked broken tile, didn't break his stride, eyes straight ahead - don't lose face - stoic, passive, marching.

A young girl, maybe 10, sat slumped against a blue stone crevice. She held a small box with something to sell. Her eyes held all the secrets of the world. Where is her family? Will a neighbor woman or a kind person extend their hand, open their heart? Is this suffering her destiny?

One child among millions in the world. 





My dear friend Sir Thomas, knighted by William Butler Yeats in Sligo, asked about floods here. Am I drowning?

I sang, row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, life is but a dream. When I say I am floating I don't mean in a boat, at least not yet. We've had some rain, often heavy. Cleans the air.

This is the rainy season and you know how the media likes to present disasters, epic dramas of humans battling the natural elements, battling themselves and so on.

I am floating in the clear sense of sitting, writing, reconfiguring this web site, aligning stars and exploding galaxies, nebulas and infinite diversity. I've been heretwo weeks tomorrow. A delightful respite from civilization and the abyss.

After working in the morning I wander through narrow twisted alleys to a side street clogged with motorcycles, women hawking fruit, veggies, meat, tofu, used clothing and babbling in their incomprehensible tongues. I covered a lot of Ha Noi ground the first two weeks so it feels good to sit down and organic stuff.

For example, I cleaned all the useless shit off my hard drive to free up space. Here's to free space, outer space and inner space!

I sit down off the curbing street on a red kinder garden chair at one of my usual eateries. The woman serves delicious freshly grilled spring rolls filled with veggies, cold white noodles and a plastic container of greens along with the bowl of chilies and sauce. Using your clean chopsticks you dip the noodles and spring rolls in the sauce. You smell, chew and swallow. It's cheap and filling. Great taste. It runs less than a buck. Some people stare at you. Others have seen you here before so they accept you. To them you are just a little stranger than yesterday.

She is busy - only doing lunch. She's gone before dusk when a woman selling fruit uses the stone space.

I wander up the choked street dodging speeding motorcycles, women lugging baskets balanced on bamboo staves past merchants selling merchandise out of their ground floor flats. Mechanics hammer metal fixing bikes and broken appliances, salon girls cut, wash and dry, old women sit and gossip about how the younger generation is wild and crazy, young boys haul bricks on a deranged pulley system up to a flat undergoing renewal, older men in their pajamas play GO slapping scarred wooden pieces on the board while drinking beer or tea with their friends, children scamper through the maze.

No one bothers you because they know you live nearby and no foreigners are crazy enough or lost enough to find this narrow area filled with families and life daily.

I sit down with a delicious thick iced coffee in a cafe where the owner smiles and watches family dramas about love, hope, deception and scheming hollow scripts on the box. Everyone has a box here. It's the BIG diversion, all entertainment. Loud and louder.

I return to my little cave and go up on the balcony with a chair, blue plastic table and two plants - one a flowering bougainvillea. I enjoy green tea, watch the clouds fly past, savor quick rain storms sharing whistle songs with birds, some free, others on distant balconies in sad cages.

Riding the rails south to Hue soon. Playing my blues harp.