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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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Weaving A Life (Volume 2)

The second volume of his collected works, Weaving A Life (Volume 2) is alive and dancing on Amazon.


Creative nonfiction blends memoir, travel, journalism, anthropology, history and diverse cultures.

Existential experimental ephemeral experiences.

He is a compass without a needle. We are here to go.

Weaving A Life (Volume 2)

Sewing in Mandalay, Burma.



Dream Sacrifice

Humans dreamed their language acquisition cycle. They desire clarity and kindness with meaning.

Ironic beauty shared languages.

Hot and cold tongues rolled, spitting, parsing, and ejecting sounds from vocal chords forming English.

My 5,000-year-old Mandarin language of emperors and dynasties was filled with peacock thrones, concubines, courtiers, Forbidden City intrigue, conquest and opium warlords’ gesturing life or death with fingered deftness.

Gestures use us.

Mercenary survival skills allowed me to breath, absorbing death free from fear. Free from the small fear.

I am one with the sky.

I trimmed my claws, flaying skin from bones, grinding bones for a potion. I drank from deep unconscious wells. Hearing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons my animistic archeologist recovered fossils with a brush.

I dreamed the Sun Dance of the Plains people. Nations gathered in late spring celebrating a four-day cycle of rituals and creation dances. Dancers choosing self-torture have their chests pierced by skewers. They hang under the weight of buffalo skulls for twenty-four dances.

Their sacrifice is successful if they have a vision during their trial.

The sun went home to earth.

One vision is all you need.

I spin, dive and dance through inner and outer landscapes. My transparency is automatic. A rock n’ roll manifesto shuttles my kairos through bark, indigo, camphor, jasmine and juniper fire inside nebulous gases of dancing electron particles and energy waves.

Meditating, my head is held by a string. I transfer delicate weight from cloud to cloud, disengaging from the stimulus. Incense rises from flames.

My muse spirit guide joined The Department of Wandering Ghosts. We design mysterious projects. We sharpen rose thorns. I felt sorrow and joy seeing two drops of blood on a finger after brushing a rose thorn. A thorn embedded in my finger flesh dissolved at dawn.

A bird pressed her breast to a thorn to sing.

A beautiful rose creates a sharp thorn.

My thorn is a claw, a sharp definitive talon for tearing meat from white bones. Satisfying my hunger.

I track rabbit’s form blending into underbrush. Floating on evergreen peak winds, I wheel. My eyes see a path you are destined to follow across helter-skelter earth. In, out, in, out, breath flashes fur. I circle above your feeling fleeting form. One eye sees where you’ve been the other knows where you are going past volcanic boulders, through valleys and dry riverbeds where you never sleep. Latent fears harbor your grieving desire. Your shelter search takes on immediacy as your energy adrenaline wanes. Wings fold with forgiveness. I dive. You take evasive action among wild berries. Their sweetness is a faint taste. My sharpness tears you from soil into air.

I rest with death. Claw thorns at your throat.

A drop of blood splatters. Pure red life floats to the surface. A finger smears one drop from skin. Small swift red rivers trickle. Veins release blood volcanoes. Red-hot meteors explode through space.

After Nam I became a regular blood donor.

“Are you allergic to pain?” asked a nurse in a mobile blood unit parked at Sunnyside Beach south of Tacoma.

“Only to pleasure.” A needle slid into a vein drawing A-.

“Writing is easy,” said Hemingway, “just open a vein. The secret is that it is poetry written into prose and it is the hardest thing to do.”

An earnest man discovered right words. Put them in the right order.

Squeezing the plastic handgrip pressure pump at the blood bank I bantered with a mother of five. Blood escaped arms down into plastic tubes out of sight out of mind into clear plastic liter bags with an identification number. Hugs from thank you clown.

I donated blood into sky.

On the shore four young men and a woman stood silent on wet rocks. One man held an earthen urn vase. He handed it to the woman. It was large and awkward. Dust and death are awkward.

Cradling it, she tipped toward water. A river of brown ash flowed over the edge. A fine dust mist dressed liquid. Her dancing arms scattered a dust trail of someone’s life. She handed the urn to a companion. He poured ash into miniature tides.

A bouquet of red, yellow and white roses with freshly cut long green stems flew from the woman’s hand into Puget Sound. The urn was offered to another man. No thanks, shaking his head.

A Vietnam veteran in shadows wearing a faded boonie hat played his weeping guitar. Seven lingering faltering notes ran through sand past an elderly couple staring at seas beyond life’s horizon. A playful father and son threw seaweed at each other. A crow’s shadow landed on a dead tree branch.

My blood flow created a cataclysmic flood. Cold mountain poems melted snow, painted forest trails, seeping to sleeping roots. Meadow petals opened to moisture. Earth lava blood carved canyons. Tributaries branched out from the Tree of Knowledge and Tree of Life.

Blood gouged out rock, cleaning earth, transforming stone to sand, to dust, erasing river bottoms, collapsing banks, overpowering everything in its path, forming new microscopic celestial arrangements.

Fingers painted blood on lips and threads. Luminous light illuminated weavers, diggers and fleischers. Shuttles click clack.

Blood dyed threads loomed stories.

Diggers rattled their blood. Brushes exploded seeds into rain. Laughing bones excavated histories.

A laughing axe split clouds into letters.

Alpha, Beta, Omega.

A thorn allows a ghost to realize a life principle.

Eudaimonia ‘human flourishing’ from the Greek means a good life.

A Century is Nothing




I am empty

Tell me about her.
Don't repress a thing.

Humid air hung like a white shirt.
She went to the market.

He observed cloud animals flying in a blue sky.
Sweat rained his face.

Her return was elegant.
She parked her motorbike.

Angelic face, tight black pants, grey top, high heels.
Dressed to kill.
Gold bracelets, diamond rings reflected sun.
A smile creased her perfect skin.

Gesturing sign language manifestations,
She locked the door, peeled cloth
Purple orbs glistened.

Protected by orange umbrella
Two silent monks whispered a blessing
After a boy dropped monetary paper
Into empty containers.

I am an empty container she signed.

Fill me up.


Invent a God

Broken glittering glass edges reflecting an elegant universe magnified the tears of an Iraqi girl burying her parents in a white shroud of cloth, an old flag of final surrender.

Tree leaves blasted green to deep yellow and brown. They flew into a river. They gathered on boulders clogging the Rio Guadalete and dolomite waterfalls. One leaf did a lot of damage. The river needed cleaning.

"See," said the Grand Inquisitor ringing his broken Spanish bell, "it’s all possible. Nothing is true. Everything is permitted if there is no God."

Everything you know is a lie.

"Let’s invent a God," said a pregnant nun supporting her nose habit. "We need reason and faith to believe in a higher power."

"Reason and faith are incompatible," said a logic board filled with circular flux reactors.

"Look," said Little Nino, "I found a compass and it works. The needle is pointing to magnetic north. This may help us. I am a compass without a needle.”

Ahmed read the instructions. "Great Scott! It says one sharp line of description is better than any number of mundane observations."

"You don’t need a compass in the land of dreams," said a mother. "We need all the direction we can handle."

"Maybe one direction is enough," said a cartographer.

"If you need a helping hand," said another, "look at the end of your wrist."

"O wise one, tell us another," cried a disembodied voice.

"Ok, how about this," someone said. "Our days of instant gratification are a thing of the past."

"Looks like everything is a thing of the past," observed a child sifting dust particles at Ground Zero on 9/11.

"You’re wiser than your years."

"That’s an old saw with a rusty blade cutting through desire, anger, greed, ignorance and suffering."

"Yes," said a child, "there are two kinds of suffering."

"What are they?" asked another orphan.

"There’s suffering you run away from and suffering you face,” said a child arranging leaves on blank pages inside her black book.

A Century is Nothing


Finch's Cage, Sapa, Vietnam

In Sapa, Vietnam I discovered a side street and thick cold java at a run-down Internet cafe. I sat outside.

Finch had a yellow chest, red beak and brown feathers. It was outside a plate glass door. It’d escaped from its small yet safe bamboo cage in the main room. Someone, perhaps the young mother worried about her wailing infant or her brother worried about dying of boredom or her old mother worried about dying alone had left the cage open.

Finch sang, “Where’s my home? What is this beautiful world?”

Finch hugged the ground. It looked at green trees waving across the street. It saw a deep blue sky. It inhaled clear, clean mountain air. It heard birds singing in trees but didn’t understand them.

They sang about nesting, exploring, flying, clouds, trees, sky, rain, warm sun, rivers, bark, worms, snails, and melodies of freedom.

I wondered if Finch would fly away. I hoped so however I knew it was afraid to go. Perhaps it lacked real flying experience, the kind where you lift off fast beating your wings to get up and get going to escape the weight of gravity or memories filled with attitudes, beliefs, values and fear pulling you down.

Free, you turn and glide, relax and soar.

Finc, being conditioned to the caged world of bamboo with a perch, food and water looked and listened to the world.

Finch retreated from the possibility of free flight and pecked at loose seeds in a narrow crevice below the door. It smelled the dark stale room where the cage hung on a wire. It pecked under the frame. It wanted someone to rescue it.

It sang, “Help! Let me in. I want to come home. I’ve been outside and I’ve seen enough. It’s a big scary place. I promise I’ll never try to escape again. I was curious, that’s all. I’ve seen enough. Let me in.” 

Finch was amazing in it’s beauty. Yellow, red, brown and bright eyed in its aloneness. 

An old woman opened the door. She trapped Finch in a purple cloth and returned Finch to its cage. She closed the bamboo door and snapped the latch shut.

“Did you learn your lesson little bird?” she said.

Finch sat on its perch, enjoyed a long cool drink of water and sang, “Thank you. Now I am truly happy.” 

The old woman didn’t understand this language.

Muttering under her breath about inconvenience she shuffled down a long dark hallway to a kitchen where she killed a chicken for lunch.