Around the world. Just to consider it. How 100 years ago this trip would have taken a week. 200 years ago, a month. The dangers involved, the lack of surety – no bookings, no websites, no tips, no reviews. Just travel. Those days are gone. It’s only getting easier. Every square inch of earth is reviewable. Soon every person will be reviewed, lible laws be damned.


categories Travel


Why do I choose to begin my first trip to Southeast Asia with a rumination on exurban life? What the hell does it matter to me how people choose to live? I’m here to watch them and to help them if I can. I’m not here to judge them. Let the judgments be passed by those who have yet to see the light.

Nonetheless –

In the thirteen thousand six hundred block

In their rows
Smiths and Jones
Repeating the same rhymes
Summing sunups prettily –

Only without reason
Or rhythms,
whitespace or joy,
any sense or why’s –

But the rhymes.
Which ere the order
of some day at some point in time,
by some nobody in particular

A nobody who they hail, and praise
No body
Whose rhymes repeated
are their most decipherable address.


Christmas being 4 days after the solstice used to annoy me. All I saw was a failure of calenderic conversion, something misplaced in Julian to Gregorian or through rounding off 365.259635. I understand Christianity stole their holy days from Pagan traditions, replacing original natural meanings with their monotheistic fictions, but it seemed silly that they couldn’t even get the date right.

But I read more about it this year, and now it makes sense : For a day or two after the winter solstice, the change in the sun’s position is imperceptible, except with precision measuring devices, such as a laser, or a Stonehenge. Three or four days after the solstice is the first opportunity to observe with the naked eye that the sun is, in fact, coming back.

And thus Christmas on the 25th – the celebration of the original miracle – visual confirmation that our sun shall return again!

With that in mind, and a little egg nog, even a fakie neo-pagan like me can get into the Holiday Spirit.


how I’ve subtracted me

Little girl’s all curls,
her scarlet velvet dress –
she grabs for their cart
and averts those blue pools
as I cut her off from mom
who’s considering nubs of epoisses
to pair with her pinot noir.

the next day, rain
up near Euclid and El Cajon
(the barrio I suppose)
hunting down tacos.
I see this girl, same age
but black
and dancing
on a melting cardboard box
daring me with dark browns.

what i recall vividly
of being their age
is pompousness
this encasing surety
my binary core that now
reeks of obsolete naiveté.

and the funny thing is?
every day brings fresh subtraction.

and yet my old nervousness
as a boy becomes a man sure
only of our impossibilities –


Mike Por turned me on to Pho in high school. This one’s for Kirk, whose blog has taken me beyond that simple beef soup and towards the depths of an amazing cuisine.

bánh mì gà

i surprise the woman
by ordering ‘bon-my-gah’
because that’s what I want
a chicken sandwich.

the alien lah-dah-lahs
of her man on his cell
yelling about a smogging –
‘la la la Test Only
do doe way Test Only,’
he’d say –
‘Test Only.’ ‘nah-no Test Only!’
‘gue go way you-win’ –

(my blabber transcription)

‘ – la lo mben Test Only.’
‘la mben do doe-lay’.
we think of languages discrete,
they’re melanges aren’t they?

French sandwiches and tenseless Khmer
like a grid shaking hands with a sphere.

in the rear their gorgeous
stick-figure daughter
wriggles on her chair
agog by my big bites into
Chicken, Gà, same
Viet-name and my