Day 60 (or so) in China

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.


Off to China

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 . . .


A Full Life for Earl

Lusty living
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
grins heavenly,

scanning skyward
shares a conscious

godly given
open palmed gift,

upward towards
good people of

Now workforce numb,

citizen Earl
seizing, grasping,

that fateful eve
working fearless,

dent decrepit,
lone undaunted.

A peaceful ease
holds as Earl slips,

tools still in hand
standing, upright,

passes from sweat,
to noble sleep.

Eye-light lifeless,
body lilting,

a pearl sinking,
easing into

final resting.
A red sunset

of prairie dust
lightly settles

gently holding
citizen Earl.



Sawn in
Half they
Camp sep-

arated from
family wise
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!


Hard Pressed on a Lee Shore

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.


A Man of Substance

Tight black starch ties.
Wooden chairs.

Cheap felt grey

A pressed mat cross

Loggers in suits,

Hands on knees,
heads down.

His lower lip

by some tooth,
some fight.

His live scent
five star

whiskey, key-

snuff, tobacco
ham and

cheese sandwich
and the wild

blue yonder

serene green

steep, large

His chainsaw

old window slow

license plates

players. And some
old guy

looking at me

sayin, “He knew

player in the



Perfection bores the people who attain,
a sleeker surface so they should refrain,

sanding shining objects beyond compare,
and leave an unkempt edge, a blunted score.

And like the athlete trained in sneakers new,
who lost the race to one who trained in used,

left wondering what went wrongly so askew,
and question soundness of the racing ruse.

First place examination of Eve’s place,
distress we find a God who sorely errs,

her choice of individual unique.
A serpent hung aloft sublimely pique,

a lofty contrast welcome changing he,
dangling down hissed curious facing Eve,

awaking her to something discordant,
from the boring perfection of verdant.

And Eve stared at curious face of Snake,
who cocked his body winsome for her sake.

Eve is the first to seek experience,
redeeming cycle to an innocence,

which churns today within us everyone,
upwell emerging like the rising sun.

Assuring imperfection melancholy,
necessary changing cacophony.

Allowing all the fallen to redeem,
in turn creates the mote in God’s great gleam.