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

Brocade

Photography by Armelle Touzeau


Broken brocade;

Where do I put this sequin when the sequence

Falls like notes from the cellar door?

On my knees searching on the dirty waxed floor

Hands graze gypsy mambo scuff-marks

And dirty martini olive-swords.

Candles glow in distant red bulbs,

My search waxes dim.

How does poetry save the world like God? Read More

A Day in San Bernardo

Carlos

Don Carlos, the professional classical guitarist from whom I rented a room in Medellín, asked if I would feed the five tortugas in the atrium paradise under the lime tree and bougainvillea, and then accompany him in singing Renaissance music. We spent the afternoon learning lullabies and laments, and after much digging through ancient sheet music, he found the treasured García Lorca song arrangements.  Read More

Cobbling

Photo by Beorn DuPont

Breakfast beating at the hunger hour. The cobbler ate clams and drank Meritage, and Charlie from California called us all ‘homies’ while the phones kept buzzing. Bzzz, and Tim with his mandolin and Levon with his grooving views on duty and Dao while the ball of sun-dried tomato/basil whipped butter sat there wuwei… They were billy goats gruff and I coveted their lack of sensibilities. Merv, that ancient free spirit of a shoemaker, wandered town as a troll at SnowDown and asked around about “them hill-billies.”  Read More

One Year

Painting by Julia Watkins

Here we go ‘round the prickly pear, full circle needing prayer

Ashes to molasses, dust to suckling star dust

Sing your celebration, don’t compensate for your salvation

Only to look upon Creation and see what you must: Read More

Comrades

 

Pots2

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

Alamogordo

mc-apex_med_hr

Art: Michael Copeland

Hey you over there it’s my birthday come have a beer don’t mind the Doberman, name’s Prince, and I’m RD and that’s Paula, Tom, and Chris, was best man in my wedding. –It’s my birthday tomorrow,– that’s when Geronimo died. He’s my people. –So you’re his seed still running around.– You’re sexy, I like your hair. Don’t see that except on TV. Yeah, RD, tell her how that song goes. Anaawakoto matabalula laRead More