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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
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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Tomas Transtromer 1931-2015

After A Death
Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.

It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.
Tomas Transtromer

Blue eyed ghost

Yes my dear friend it is true, or at least as true as can be for he has returned to the beginning - and this is where his small tale begins.

Rickshaw bells and heavy groaning green and purple pedicabs propelled by thick-legged men prowl through humid traffic air. No one sees him. Everyone stares at the ghost. They are oblivious to his existence.

He walks along a broken cracked sidewalk past hammering men. They build a six-story high extension at the high school. Cement mixers, bamboo scaffolding, emaciated men haul crumbling red bricks. Dancing their future immigrants sing in the rain.. The developer drives a shiny black Benz.

Streets are congested with yellow bulldozers, lorries loaded with dirt and salvaged steel pig iron, City Boat blaring bus horns, small red cabs, and tired students trudging to lessons inside cold cramped cement caverns where teachers arrive late, and leave early after smashing wooden sticks on desks to get their attention; men pedal carts of large blue plastic barrels full of leftover restaurant slop for village pigs and children splash water. It is all play on the streets of dreams.

He passes weathered women in dirty white aprons chopping vegetables with sharp cleavers on scarred wood. Girls mop cement passageways from dawn to dusk.

Dutiful daughters sweep floors or laconically stare at deaf dumb blind televisions stacked on bags of rice, boxes of detergent, hairline fractured straw mattress bedding.

This is the entertainment capital of the world.                   

He passes tables of retired pensioners slapping white marble mahjong pieces into tight manicured rows of strategies as orange vested street cleaning women whisking ornate hard handled bamboo brushes paint the city’s rising dust as a ghost they never imagined dances by, an apparition in their wide eyed wonder.

He speaks the language of silence and this comforts them. His inability to articulate passion and suffering is because, like you, he is a witness, a mirror reflecting reality in humanity’s garden in another incarnation where he trusted you to understand.

Meaning of meaning was obscured by cloudy anger, fear, desire, ignorance and attachment as you waved him away.

You cast him into deep water where he replenished his spirit. His meditation on motivation and intention was clear as he passed through. 


Blend In - TLC 4

“You have a criteria for beauty,” said an austere Chinese university teacher-mother in an apartment elevator going to ground zero. “You should just blend in.”

She was petrified like 1.7 billion of being singled out, purged, tried and executed or sent to the countryside and re-educational brainwashing for expressing bourgeoisie ideology in a harmonious Marxist society.

Her paranoia meant no one dared talk about June 4, 1989. No one whispered about freedom, human rights or democracy. Their collective hardwired brains were wiped clean by Big Brother.

“I’ve learned,” she said, “to keep my mouth shut unless I’m eating fast before starving thieves steal my food or laughing to myself at the stupid laconic narrow-minded ways of our leaders. They are old despotic men. They sit behind blood stained teak desks imported from Burmese dictators. They chop seals and devour dolphins and whales with malice. They swallow tiger bone extract for sexual potency and wash it down with bear bile. Silence is our golden mean. My husband works in a distant province. He has a mistress named Orgasm. No money, no honey.”

She cried silent tears, raised her son and wrote life lesson plans. “By the book,” she screamed in silence facing eighty comatose students scrambling for a pass. It fell incomplete.

“Sixty is heaven and fifty-nine is hell,” said a thin girl in a freshman speaking class. “My parents will kill me if I fail.”

“What is your dream?” said Lucky.

“I want to be a waif when I grow up.”

Her naive honesty surprised him. “What is a waif?”

“You know, a homeless person existing on the street. Living on their wits with silence and cunning, like a mercenary, assassin or literary outlaw. Authentic experience. A free person has courage. They take risks. Not taking a risk is a risk. They don’t live off state handouts in a broken down system filled with graft, corruption and nepotism. They overcome suffering and hardship and deprivation. I mean a real person with dignity, self-respect and courage.”

Seventy-nine others failed to grasp her awareness and honesty.

“You are wiser than your years.”  

The Language Company


Martha's Zen Card

I am a short story.

You are a novel.

It never occurred to Matt to buy indigenous cultural music while traveling.

Martha his girl friend considered it essential.

Music made her edgy and alive.

When she heard music she danced.

She returned to her primitive self.

She danced naked.

Ballet. Flamingo. Tango. Cha-cha. Lambada. Waltz.

He wrote naked verbs. They loved naked. Naked cherished syllable skin music.

They wrote, danced and lived like they were dead.

One day they would be. It's now or never.

They were free. It's the way to be.

Culture is what you are. Culture means you can forget.

Nature is what you can be.

People are nature's tools.

Passing through Body Sat Quiet in Asia on a three week, “Look, don't think” holiday from frozen Europe they happened into an 8th century tourist town music repository.

They smelled music before they saw it. Seeing music is an art form. Synesthesia.

In music like life, the end of the composition is not the point.

A music boy handed Matt an orange book. Write your melodic request here. Matt opened the book. A vignette floated free.

A Cambodian orphan girl popped out of blank pages: I am sorry. Goodbye and good luck to you and your family. These are our famous words. Big vocabulary. Tongues speak. Small life. Big chance. Yeah. Yeah.

Hunger Angel watched 24/7 in the big leagues.

Sanitation workers in green environmental vests with broom music swept streets for the New Year. Make it new. Make it new.

We should be so lucky to have crystal clean sheets.

Every day is anew year.

One day is like a minute.

One minute is like a day.

That's relativity. All my relatives are dead.

Never trust an atom. They make up everything.

When you know what you don't know you realize moral character with social intelligence, integrity, and courage.

Courage is an unknown word in our head and heart. Running away is our way. Everyday I have the blues. No one loves me but my mother and she could've been lying too.

You absolve in the rhythm when you have adequate life experience.

Silence and hunger are identical naked twins.

Fear and Ignorance produced Expectation & Greed.

I am good at two things:

Eating and sleeping.

Fighting and fucking.

Laughing and crying.

Reading and writing? That's for idiots.

The less I do the fewer mistakes I make, said Insecurity.

The fewer mistakes I make the less I am criticized, said Fear.

We know the essence of survival. Keep your fucking mouth shut.

One day, Bliss's part-time lover said, buy me a TV.


You have a job, a TV, a mother, a 12-year old daughter, two brothers, no father and no husband. I gave you money to buy a bike for your daughter and she lost it, money for clothes, money for medicine, money for food, money for temporary naked lust and currency sobriety. You play me for a sentimental fool. You're fucking crazy.

Her arrival was sporadic at best. She visited randomly at 8:37 for a shower, fucking and another shower.

He explored her lips, thin neck, small ears, crest of skin throat, narrow brown shoulders, pinpoint breasts with tongue talk, flat belles letters, long legs and played his way into her valley of potential.

He loved giving her oral pleasure.

Edging rose lips, long and deep. Slow and sweet.

Little man in a boat sang, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

She reciprocated playing his bone flute.

Riding the pony, priming her G spot grinding hard and fast she exploded with precision and extra ambition whispering, Give me a baby. Give me a baby.

He deferred chromosomes. Fat fucking chance, there's no way under the tropical son I'll give you anything but short time, small money, temporary love and the high hard one in your strike zone with runners in scoring position.

Here's the pitch.

She stayed until 9:45 and left for work at an upscale spa wearing aromatic Grecian urns. He gave her 10 bones. Feed me.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Get out of my life, said Telepathy. You are subservient and I am stupid to put up with this shit. He creased her indifference into a cumulus cloud. It rained goodbye and good luck.

She sat on the bed with her back to him. Sniffle, sniffle.

Her fake tears formed rivers named Regret and Hopelessness and Indifference.

Fish behind twelve Laotian dams financed with Chinese capital to provide electricity to Thailand fed 60 million Asians downstream in deltas.

His NO created black-eyed daggers. They stabbed him with hatred, loss, self-pity, violence and starvation. Revenge is best served cold with DNA.

They put on death masks.

Your mask eats your face.

They walked out into tropical heat. Separate directions.

Waves of loneliness shuffled down a broken street. Children dying of malnutrition at a health clinic on the coroner of Hope cried as desperate mothers received free blue placebos.

The day after tomorrow belonged to orphans and lucky losers with Wabi-Sabi.

Wabi - the beauty of the most ordinary circumstances and objects.

Sabi - to feel one's own sharp existence.

Martha and Tolerance danced through life. 

Everything you know is a lie.


Ice Girl in Banlung - 8

In China everyone is safe and happy, Leo said to Ice Girl one torrid day in Banlung, Cambodia.

They sat on an operating table next to a sewing machine and an umbrella.

I cut, you talk, she said. A drop of sweat from her nose landed on a block of ice.

It’s called THE SYSTEM, he said. Brainwashed. You see this in all Asian educational systems. Laconic students shuffle in, remove their brains, soak them in a cleaning solution, which is not the solution for fifty tedious minutes and replace said gray matter at the end of class. It’s endemic.

Big Brother is always watching you.

Save face.

The fear of public humiliation is greater than the fear of death.

Intention is karma.

Tell me about your life in China, said Ice Girl.

After completing five years of a night soil shit job in the Re-Education Through Labor experience for having the courage to question Authority I visited my family graves in Sichuan. I offered prayers and burned incense. I prayed for strength and humility. Then I walked east. Fortune smiled on me.

I worked as a facilitator at a private business university in Fujian. I faced eighty stone-faced freshmen in a long cement tomb. Desks were bolted to the floor in groups of four. It was a required speaking class. They had year zero English skills. I gave two a test. How are you, I asked a boy. I am 18. How old are you, I asked a girl. I’m fine, and you?

I paired eighty off, boy girl, boy girl. They didn’t like this. They got used to it.

Will someone please share a story.

A girl raised her hand.

The less I do, the less likely I am to make mistakes, and the fewer mistakes I make the less I am criticized, then I feel no shame.

It’s easier to do nothing, said one clever robot.

Correct, I said, you’ve both expressed the essence of your cultural and intellectual education.

That’s a long sentence filled with verbs and significant philosophy, Ice Girl sang, waving a Blue Zircon reflecting 10,000 things in an elegant universe. Don’t let school interfere with your education. Say more.