Fluorescence

“Redlight” by Katrin Fridriks

In the Tibetan mountains I retired to my little cot every night, happy to soon commune with my Lord. But these sallow eyes and wan complexion in this hive of ten-thousand street lamps, only want to escape, sacrificing prayer for distant and pale dreams. And the screen projects blasphemies, spitting them Read More

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Getting High

Summit of West Wahatoya (Spanish Peaks) with best friend, Michelle. 2004 (Photo by Craig Bannister)

I know I’ve used this picture on the blog before but it’s one of my favorites. Emei Shan, Golden Temple, and the Sea of Clouds. Sichuan, China. 2004

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What the Young Man Said in the Stairwell

Chongqing, China

The thought of having to be around people is cause for anxiety and Joshua says that’s probably a motherly instinct. People are usually either trying to get you to glorify the past or expound on a future one can’t possibly know. It may even be blaspheming to try. Mothers of newborns must be present and attentive constantly, with very little room for error. No, I don’t know where I’m going to call home in three months, and it’s not my concern. God knows. But they who worship the god of security don’t even know how to hear this, let alone accept my decision to trust.

Yesterday I realized it was the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. On that day I was working in the tallest building in Chongqing, a metropolis 300 miles from the epicenter. As I was teaching a class on the 15th floor, I felt the whole classroom start to sway. Read More

OakY-DokY

Oakland by West Grand

Oakland by West Grand

In the bite-sized park across from the bus station a crowd gathered around some guys giving out food. The crowd started misbehaving so the guys distributing charity yelled at them to get in line and chastised with straight up “No’s!” Drug addicts and old Asians comprised the ‘far side of charity,’ and of course the pigeons. One guy called me over and insisted I take food, and when I grabbed a banana he commanded me to take two.

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Source/El Origen

Manikhorlo – Tibetan water-spun prayer wheels

Here’s a freestyle poem I wrote in China seven years ago after spending a couple months living with a family in a Tibetan village. Then, while spending another couple months in Colombia a year later, I translated the poem into Spanish. I’m going to repost it today for Paul’s prompt at the Pub asking us about our libations of choice. Come join in! My choice of drink is that which comes directly from the skies.

Source

Word to the people of the world
It’s in the water, as a loving Father
Or a bodhisattva comes to us
From the skies, formed of his designs,
By gravity of grace, here to remind
Unblind, and hydrate all that has dried
Into a reality we face: Read More

Lay Low

Photography by Peter Lindbergh

“Lay low awhile.”
Din of grungy mahjong slot machines, smoke thick as port-town smog, slurps of Chongqing hot noodle soup
Watery lager, grease stains, and spit riddled the cement floor,
For the right price she could decipher them too —
“Too many eyes on you and this,”
Boss held up her Read More

Gestation

Jhinu dusk. Photography by Amaya Engleking

Pregnant in Jhinu, a hot springs village in the Annapurna region of Nepal, the clear waters ran down and I saw the richest valley in the world: those who live so close to the source of the earth’s last glaciers. Listen, little baby, to the word of God, holy water flowing down the mighty Himal, feeding the Indus, Brahmaputra, and Ganga and all who receive sustenance from these rivers of living gospel. The ones who can hear say, “We the children of the Most High, are led to the highest peaks so we may pray here. By our being here in constant communion with God, the snows come and feed the world living waters.”

Jhinu hot springs, Annapurna. Photography by Joshua Engleking

But in the Langtang temple on the festival day I felt alone Read More

Himalayan Happiness

“Karpu” Photography by Amaya Engleking

Remember how after Tsewang and I wrote the bilingual love ballad with the first line being so intentionally cheesy because I only wanted to hear Karpu’s passionate ten year-old heart sing it, but his sister stated as a matter of fact, “No. He’s badly tuned.” And remember how after tea and before our long, bumpy cab ride to Swayambhu from the Nagarkot tower where Tsering Medo and Nima along with a couple dozen college kids hopped the barbed wire to stand on the gravity station to get the ghosts to come out, Joshua suggested to our party that we find a toilet. And Tsering asked with a naughty smile, “Little little or big and long?” Remember how on the sunny laundry day in Kathmandu, Read More

Secret Ingredient 

El Maestro

Backyard baby back ribs, and Carlos even let me in on the secret ingredient to his addicting barbecue sauce (and it’s not la coca!)

What does the world need? –To listen. And I looked up from my inner question and saw music, the answer. Music, the best tool for teaching us how to use our ears. Then comes prophecy: to hear the truth only when ears can discern harmony from discord, truth from deceit. Read More