Dawn; sunny; the air pollution index
only one hundred in a million;
the ocher track beckons, sparks interest.
I am still. I do not breathe too deeply.
I jog easy, listening. The world and
my body—in out, in out, thud, thud, thud.
It was on the third lap, I noticed them.
Two Chinese girls walking, happy frolic,
uniforms brisk and red and white glowing,
their long black hair gleams and streaming purple,
floats, shining everywhere till one, the taller,
signals to God, looks skyward, open hearted–
She says, “Thank-you Creator for this day.”
She bends and looks skyward with squinted eyes,
whips long locks trailing; arches her being,
her long arms and hands, and touches God’s face,
the universe, and the small world tingled
her touch lovely, consecrated, sacred.
On the quiet fifth lap I know she knows.
I breathe deeper now; they are sitting
on the inside lanes–back to back, within
each self in quiet peace, soothing escape,
soft whist closed eyes, rocking, resting, timeless,
loving each, giving each, woman presents.
I do not look’ I want to give more of
this singular peace to them; they whose
spirit cups are filled overflowing with air,
sky and sun cool in the broken morning
before the heated chaos, noise, fervor,
the wet wringing day of thinking people.
I envy them: their womanhood glowing,
their closeness—their touching backs—and closed eyes,
their slow rocking side to side—Oh—their hands!
As one lays her open palms, the other knows
and lays her open palms atop—touches—connect.
They stop time. They celebrate
life in solitude and share.
OK, so I haven’t had a chance to blog at all because I have been busy learning how to do lesson plans and teaching Grades 3-8 in this huge public school in Jiaxing, China. Internet access to western sites is erratic at best, so I don’t know how long I will be able to connect with my blog before being disconnected.
So far my China experience has been awesome. The people have treated me so well here. I have the support of all the teachers even though they know I have never taught before. I am learning like crazy and while the first day or so was absolutely a pressure-cooker, I think I have gotten a handle on this teaching thing.
The food here is amazing. It is far better than western food because it isn’t so processed. The pork you buy from the butcher (if you want to call a roadside thing set up a butcher), is better, the peanuts are absolutely amazing, and generally, while you don’t always know exactly what you are eating, it tastes good. The only bad food experience I had was in the school cafeteria. I choose something that looked good, and it was chicken! OK, I can eat that, until I saw the chicken foot poking out of the mass of food. The visual thing was too much. I couldn’t touch it. I think I have eaten rabbit.
The first week was a little adjustment to my intestinal system but I am ok now. The toilets are different but apparently that is the healthy way to go . . . if you know what I mean. I have kept up with my novel, which I hope to finally detail out when I get back to Canada. OH, and things are cheap, cheap, cheap, here! That’s always a good thing. The students work hard, as do the teachers.
You must be getting tired of all this poetry. I’ve been involved with a poetry group which requires me to write a poem now and then, so I’d publish them as a way of keeping them collected. The new thing is China. I have picked up a contract to teach English over there. I’ll be teaching middle school children and I hope the kids will be gentle with me. I’m approaching this with a positive attitude (really important), and with a view toward experience and creative prose in mind. Hemingway used to travel all over just to get ideas for a story or book. China, for me, will hopefully spark new ideas toward my current novel or something new. Of course, my main thing will be to teach the kids English. Mandarin is the same as English in terms of sentence structure, that is, it works “subject, verb, object”, just like English, but unlike English, the verb is much simpler. While English has many verb conjugations, Mandarin is much simpler. For example, English has a total of 12 possible verb tenses, while Mandarin has 3, at least, that’s the way I understand it so far. Anyway, I fly out Aug. 28 and will immediately be submerged culturally and linguistically. Have I been learning Mandarin? Well, no, or perhaps a little, but my focus is on my writing so that’s what I’ve been concentrating on. I figure I’ll learn Mandarin when I’m over there. Wish me luck . . .
from light to night,
juggling odd jobs,
day to day and
cent to dollar.
Earl’s aim strives for
a piece of land.
Hardship hewn he
shares a conscious
open palmed gift,
good people of
Now workforce numb,
that fateful eve
A peaceful ease
holds as Earl slips,
tools still in hand
passes from sweat,
to noble sleep.
a pearl sinking,
A red sunset
of prairie dust
friends tepid with
wisdom. Dreamy thoughts fade,
rawhide hands hold cold steel
to put bread on the list
of things to do beyond
the real call of duty, and so
it is not really surprising
that when one said, one bad glance he
asking for it, got a Boom!
Through salt spinning slit mist sharpened water,
I spied the rage ragged cliff of Lazo.
She spits spin-drift fury, dazzled temper
Slaps my face, thrusts her frothing breast aglow,
Heaving, pitching, tossing, hearing old-time
Shanties, stories beguiling fathers’ sons.
She creeps, and my fine cutter shakes the sign
Of those who went before, over done
By fate or chance or some mistaken part.
Bravely, she plunders over jaded chance,
Fearless, I hold her reins close to my heart,
Quiet, I feel the brooding time and glance,
Overboard, my heart jolts, she’s cracked like thunder,
Heart breaks, ashen faced, I sail her under.