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Anyone’s Paradise

23 Aug

I recently travelled back home to my native California to spend some much needed time with friends and family and to soak up some sunshine. It was awesome.

As a writer (and a fan of Steinbeck who was always writing about the search for identity), I was looking – and always have been – for the ultimate question: who am I?

As I travel and experience more and more of the planet and spend more time away from my first home, the answer becomes more complex. As I turn back to the Bible and to Jesus who had no home at all, the answer becomes simple… But that doesn’t mean it is an easy one to accept.

Anyone’s Paradise

So the way it goes.

I have dusted my feet with the salted mud of Jordan’s shores
And the golden sands of California
And looked on the dying sun from Ha Long Bay
Between the limestone mirages.

My voice deceives me. I fit neither here nor there
For as fast as sound travels, the air is filled with ideas
About me. How untrue to me they are, there they are:
Floating around me in a cloud of foreign dust.

I don’t blend into anyone’s paradise.

My hair was scissored by a British hand
My white teeth aligned by an American
My skirt hand sewn in Vietnam
My neck adorned by Bedouin artisans
My shoulders wrapped in a Mexican blanket and
My belly full of chapattis dipped in the most fragrant lentils.

Where do I belong? My patchwork self
Embroidered and inlaid with the world’s kindness and smiles.
And so I go.

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Good Morning Vietnam

28 Feb

How many sunrises have you groggily left the warmth and comfort of your bed to watch?

I almost missed the most gorgeous sunrise I have ever, ever seen in when we were in Northern Vietnam this Christmas season. We were hiking in Sapa overlooking the Fansipan Mountain (largest mountain in Vietnam) and it was cold – really cold. I was dragged – against my will – to see how glorious the simple ceremonies of the day can be. I hope you watch one soon.

I’ve included a picture but you know it never really captures the magnitude of the sun. I hope my poem fills in at least some small fraction of the thousands of word this picture offers.

Good Morning Vietnam

Good morning Vietnam will never be the same again. Today –

The sun’s gaze beacons light across the valley onto the pale blanket

Of cotton clouds below that under its parental stare awake

Slowly. Like I did but a moment ago, they lazily reach one limb

And another languidly up the valley floor climbing from their bed

Of simply, untouched stillness into the welcome dawn of hello.

 

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