Sky

Vail pass one dusk in 2006 on the way west to raft the Colorado River, Westwater.

Pacific Beach, San Diego, 2006


Joshua Tree mothership, 2007


Ghosts of Turfan, 2009


Wisdom of the Rock, rafting the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2009


Sunbathing Spruce, Jenny Lake and Tetons, 2015


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©2006-2015, Amaya Engleking 

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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

Theravada Travels

Painting by Marisa Darasavath

January and February of 2011, we spent our days walking along Yunnan back roads; paths intersecting the tea fields of Xishuangbanna, literally a stone’s throw to Myanmar; the dirt roads and jungle paths (barefoot, oh the leeches!) of northern Laos where we paid Read More

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

Uncarving Lines

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Art by Giulia Bernardelli

Reading Crime and Punishment in the dark and wet rural Chinese winter and Joshua got sick with a fever on the border town.  Wanting to kill the nihilist prick, “Rodya,” I explored the streets alone and brought back a paper bowl of noodles.  The inherent problem with writing is that it delineates thought and action.  Can we write and free ourselves from further categorization, further erring by playing tricks that depend on the duality illusion? Read More

Canvas

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Forgetting Your Own Lessons, pen on travel-journal paper

After the quake in Shanghai she started spending most days at the art museum, in intimate positions with its subjects, and the patrons, their wide eyes blinking RAPE/RAPE and somewhere beyond the cornea, mind dilations: “The need to behold!”… True art.  But these easy lids didn’t feel the earth shake.  (Did it really happen?)  She learned not only to shout when the painting squeezed her heart tight Read More

Comrades

 

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Art by Amaya Engleking, pencil on paper

Mason Zhang and I in the alley last night with the laobaixing salt-of-the-earth, including the cook who proudly performed his version of ‘ABCDEFG’ for me last week.  His friend—a taxi driver in his fifties, though by appearance I’d have guessed at least seventy, by his sunken face with a bulge under the right side of his lip—didn’t smile when he said he was pleased, nor did he do so when he sang.  He took the old revolution songs seriously and lifted his left leg to motion a guitar while his foot tapped the beat. Read More

A Conversion

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Dark day in Hengyang, small city in the middle of China. Five million small. Mao Zedong from a nearby city. The dishwater sky blending right into the slate-gray outline of the industrial city. Dismal to view from the little metal balcony, and even more disgusting to go forth into the leaden din. Last time I was in the country I swore I’d never teach English and least of all to middle-schoolers. But that’s what I was doing in this city where I saw a homeless man masturbate in front of an elementary school. Right outside the gate through which passed hundreds of pigtails and oversized backpacks on tiny bodies. Read More