Friday, October 30

Vietnam & The United States of America: Resistance

Pulling up something I published years ago while in Vietnam 

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

So I have physically left Vietnam now, but the experiances and images will never leave me. I feel such a deep connection to the people and land there. I experianced much more than I wrote about and I feel a saddness for not conveying my emotions while they were raw. If I had to sum up my trip to Vietnam in one word I think it would be revelational. Everything about Vietnam was vastly different than what my white bread US of A American lifestyle has taught me. I was untaught many things in the process. The people of that land have influenced me in ways I am yet to fully comprehend. The land feels incredibly sacred to me, possibly becasue of the (over) 3 million Vietnamese people who have lost their lives on that soil while fighting for their independance from colonial/imperial rule. The legacy of war was something I was mainly intrested in learning more about when departing the States on May 15th, 2006. But now (one month later) that I have been there I can see that Vietnam is more than a country torn apart by centuries of war and foregin control/ownership. What I seen was a resiliant, brialliant and compassionate people who have not only learned how to defend their land but also how to live with their land. The Vietnamese are survivors and even though their government is about the enter the WTO, I think the people will continue to strive towards independance. I spoke with some elders and some youth and got the same impression: "we won't be colonized for much longer." I am inspiried by their strength and courage and can only hope that mentality continues to find its way into the rest of the world. Several times I was told "America #1" by locals (in the Saigon and Hue, not Hanoi) and I would respond "it's a lie..." But now I see what they mean. They are talking about the myth of America...the myth that America is free and that all "all men are created equal." They don't see the rampant racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, ect., and how could they when all the US exports is the idea of our moral superiority slapped between the well disguised bread of imperalism. I am not saying that these same things don't exist here as well (the womyn want to be as white and thin as possible and I was told that "it's okay to be gay just as long as their kids are straight...") but it's not so obvious...yet. There really is no seperation between the classes, all live together. There might be a super wealthy foreigner living right across the street from the boat people. I know that every nation has their problems, but like Howard Zinn says, when a country like the US declears itself a democracy and then runs off to kill thousands of innocent (and maybe even guilty) people for oil, or when 1 out of every 5 children in our "democracy" are born into poverty, or when there are more then 40 countries that have better records on infant mortality rates (including Cuba) or when we lead the world with the highst incarceration rate (more then 2 million), I don't belive that is a democracy. When I was told "America #1" these are the kinds of things I thought about when I responded "it's a lie..." and to me it is. We have a great constitution, but we don't follow it. Funny how Ho Chi Minh adapted our national anthem after the war was won... I think one of the biggest lesson's this trip has taught me is that there is no absoultes (which people have been telling me for ages). There really is no perfect nation, and yes, even in the US there are great things (like the fact that won't be hung for writing this...but who knows really, things are always changing!) But I do still think war is the ultimate failure of progress. War is brutal and I have now seen it from a first world's perspective (the people suffer) and a third world's perpective (the people suffer), the one thing we have in common: suffering. Washington, not the people of the US, spends our money on mendacity and murder and theft and rape and... Hanoi spends it's money on trying to become just like America...Let's hope that the people of Vietnam will stop it before it happens and take back their land from foreign compaines like Cannon, Nike and North Face. I can only hope for us in America to do the same. The real power does not lie in obsequiousness but rather in resistance to the power machine. 
Peace out my fellow global citizens...

Thursday, October 29

News from expensive phone booths


Those nights in Buffalo were a dream. After driving 10 hours to 49 Ashland Ave, she'd be on her way to work. Yet, always she found time, one more time, to make love with me before she left. That was then. The Northpark theater was old, creaky. I would be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about tipping the velvet behind that antiquated, thin screen. It was a re-run of Devotion by Tracy Chapman that kept me company when she left. The nights were buffalo winter cold and lonely. I was attached and young and scared and refused to say goodbye to my ideas of sage colored houses with lavender trim and wild flower gardens in the front. It was all there. All planned, at 19 I had it all figured out. She was mine and I was hers. That was, until he came in. That seemed like the destroyer on the ocean, lining myself with doubt and fear and disbelief. I ran away...all the way to the other side of Pacific. One day I woke up and found myself sitting at a stop light in Chiang Mai. It was under that new moon sky that I remember looking up at the stars while on pause on that crimson red, dilapidated motorbike. I was on my way to get, yet another calling card, to call yet again, you my dear...yes you my dear. Rejection kept me in that place where I'd call and call and call until she answered. But then there was that time that she did finally answer and I got the worst news in 7 years...We were done. And I could hear him breathing next to her.

Started my moon time today. Made me wonder when the last time was that we synchronized. Even then, it seemed like it'd been years.

Tuesday, October 27

Blessings from the Heavens

Woke up to three inches blanketing my world here in the high desert
The pre-dawn Juniper and Utah Pines casting a glowing bluish hue
Staring outside through the one way viewing bamboo blinds
from inside the zendo
in this hushed morning
surrounded by silence
I feel wholly alive

Northwest Rain

if enlightenment is a perpetual state
what then of impermanence?

hearing voices say
to challenge in the worst of ways
you'd sit for the best to arise

taking steps to come undone
she wonders
what next on this unpaved road

then
foots hit pavement
and she's wishing for clay
yet remaining open to what is

the brightness of this autumn day
shadows her internal rain

she starts again
afresh
anew
like moss in the Northwest
for Samhain

Tuesday, October 20

Black Electric Clocks on Taupe Wooden Bureaus

Watching the red numbers change
first from  the far right
as they slowly begin to move left

here I am again
and although it does not always create such momentarily languishing
the movement is still subtle

kinda like mine

we don't talk anymore
and I'm okay with that
its her I think about more anyway
he was a sweet, sweet lover
tasty even
but she
well she was my partner

yet somehow
even through her denial
she agreed. And somehow I deluded.

like now
difference presently
I'm finally realizing this fallacy of time inherent therein

Wednesday, October 7

Vengeful E-Room Memories

the silence is meant to disrupt
she's back from the past
with a vengeance not unlike before

i see her actions speaking clearly
and even though i thought i had surpassed that
i still think of her stints on the dance floor









Thursday, October 1

Life at 9,400 feet and higher


Hiked a granite & quartz mountain to its peak at 12,600 feet, got lost in the dark on the way down in a thick forest for many hours, thanked a compass, got to spend time with an extraordinary lady, thought a lot about my father and what it must have been like in Vietnam, lived off the grid, camped with an aspen forest, slept in a pyramid house with more windows than walls, mudded a hermitage and understood what the good life look like