Thursday, June 14, 2018

你為什麼要離開台灣?

Content Warning: discussion of mental health, emotional health, suicide and sexual abuse

1991:
I am in fourth grade. I still believe in prayer. I still believe in magic. I read a magazine that says girls should write a list of the things they wish for in a boyfriend. I make my list. I believe it is magic. I pray.

1992.05: 
I graduate fourth grade. I have been at the school for four years. It is the longest I have stayed in one place all my life. For the rest of my life, I will never stay anywhere longer than three years. Not until I move to Taiwan.

2002.08:
I get married. I'm too young. I get married because he wants to get married. If I say no, are we not allowed to be in love anymore? I know I'm not ready, but I love him. I want to give him what he wants. We've been together two years, and we've always said we would get married someday eventually. This is what people in love do, right?

2004.08: 
I get divorced. 

2009: 
A man I've never met moves to Korea. His name is Matt. He lands in a work culture that almost forces you to become an alcoholic. He becomes an alcoholic. He is still a good man, and smart. After nine months, he leaves. I know nothing about this at this time.

2011.05: 
I finally graduate university with a bachelor's degree. It's been a rocky life, never staying in one place, and I still haven't gotten over that marriage. It feels like I've finally won something. I stayed at that university for three years, and that's the longest I've stayed anywhere. Maybe I'm a grownup now.

2011.07-08:
I go to Taiwan, to a city in the south called Pingtung. I don't have any experience with East Asian cultures. My only knowledge of them is limited to the white boys in school who never fit in, and talked about Japan and China as the perfect place for them to go, be nerdy, and find girlfriends. I hate that kind of talk, so it made me uninterested in East Asia. But my friend told me about a scholarship program to study in Taiwan, and I applied. I got the scholarship. I have no reason not to go. I've traveled ten countries by now, but they've all been in Europe or North/Central America. Why not? I fall accidentally in love with the country. I want to stay. But I'm now in a long term relationship again. It's rocky but I believe it's worth fighting for. We've been together two years, and I believe we could go the distance if we work on it. I go back to the US, and move into his house in Tucson.

2013.05:
Only one of us is working on the relationship, and it isn't my partner. On mother's day, always a difficult day for me, I am heartbroken after another failed attempt to work on things. I am wandering the streets at dark, deciding which car to throw myself in front of. The fact that I have my dog with me stops me. I go home. Home? To his house with my things inside where I no longer feel safe. I put my poetry books and my dog in the car and drive two days from Tucson to my father's house in Arkansas without calling him in advance. I wouldn't want him to worry. I pull up in his driveway at midnight and ask, "Can I stay here for a while?" For two weeks I eat soup or nothing. I lose twenty pounds in those two weeks. I lose a lot, actually. My partner is still trying to get me to kill myself from afar. It's really hard not to give in.

2013.06: 
The man I haven't met, the man called Matt, moves to a town in southern Taiwan. The town is called Pingtung. He starts working. The drinking culture there isn't nearly as bad as Korea, but it's still there. He quickly becomes a darling of the scene. He is still able to hold down his job, and his students and their parents love him. I still know nothing about him.

2013.07:
I go back to Tucson. My partner is not in the house. He is currently on deployment somewhere beautiful, like Portugal or southern Italy. How he must be suffering, I feel, as I sort through the belongings he threw into a giant mess. I try to sell them but he's still harassing me. He wants me out faster than I can possibly manage to pack up my life. I have to abandon most of it. But in the packing, I go through my journals. They go back more than thirteen years. I find a pattern in my relationships. The two four-year relationships as well as other flings of different lengths. Any time I date a man, he is inattentive to my needs, he doesn't value me. I have to hide parts of myself. He thinks my interests are silly. Most notably, not a one of them can hold their liquor. I am grateful for this opportunity to see so clearly, so objectively, cycles in my life. I feel certain that vision this clear is rare. I promise myself not to forget. I swear on my own heart that this will not happen again.

2013.08:
Talk about kicking someone while they're down, or rubbing salt in a wound. While I'm nursing my emotional health, I go on a date with someone I shouldn't have trusted. He rapes me. When I tell my ex-partner, he simply says "I hope you went to the police." It's perfect.

2013.09.06: 
It is my thirty-first birthday. My father drives me to the airport. I have two full suitcases and two big carry-ons. The woman at the ticket counter jokes, "Wow, are you moving?" Yes ma'am, I reply, I'm moving to Taiwan for two years. I'm going back to Pingtung.

2013.11:
It is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I have learned that a man on an internet forum I frequent is also an American living in southern Taiwan, in my city of Pingtung. I invite him to Thanksgiving dinner. He declines. I later learn that he didn't want to meet a girl from the internet. She would probably turn out to be weird.

2014:
About a year later, I finally get this man to hang out with me. His name is Matt. He is funny. He is a truly caring friend. He remembers things I forget that I've even told him. He pays attention. I hang out with him more and more. He's positively dreamy, but it's so rare to have a friend here. It's easy to have acquaintances, but rare to find someone with whom you share a first language and cultural experience. Then once you find that, do you even get along? We get along. He's perfectly sweet. I hope he finds a good girlfriend. He deserves one.

2015.08:
I've always had community in the US. No, communities. Many different groups of friends, some overlapping, that I can interact with as often as I like. Most of my friends are cuddlers. We have slumber parties. I miss human contact. I convince Matt to become a cuddling friend. But it turns out, we've both always been interested in trying something more than just friendship with one another. Physical closeness leads to more physical closeness. Before I know it, we're being physically close pretty often. But my heart is still broken. I'm not looking for love. I know he is, and I don't want to get in the way of that for him. I don't want to change him, either, but he spontaneously stops smoking cigarettes. I tell him I love him, but I'm not in love with him. He tells me in all things, I'm the boss. He'll never push me. I believe him. I trust him.

2015.10:
I want to share my favorite magical place with this special friend of mine. I convince him to spend a weekend on a nearby mountain with me. It's an aboriginal area, and the woman who I call doesn't have any vacancies in her room. But she hears my accent on the phone and asks if I'm foreign. When I tell her I am, she offers her ancestral home for me and my "boyfriend" (her word not mine) to stay in. When we go there, it's amazing. Slate house, porch on the roof, all windows open and we sleep next to one on a slab, listening to running water and chirping frogs. The name of the mountain is WuTai, meaning fog platform. We sit on the roof porch and watch the sun set and the fog platform roll in beneath us. We sleep above the clouds. We make love on our slab next to the open window while the frogs and falling water sing to us. Damn, I think. I'm in love with this bastard. I'm done for. There's no going back.

2016.02.25:
Matt and a friend go out drinking. Matt, as he often does, has far too much. He gets blackout drunk. How did he end up on a naval base? Was their perimeter not secure and he just found a back way in? Did he actually go through the front gate and no one cared to stop him? We may never know. But he is arrested for drunk driving on the military base. He is taken to court, where he is counseled to plead guilty. The judge asks if he wants to remain in Taiwan, and he says yes, more than anything, he loves Taiwan. It's true, we both do at this point. We don't want to go back to the USA. The judge accepts his guilty plea and charges him a fine for drunk driving and espionage. The fee is equivalent to about $3,000USD. He pays.

2016:
He never pushes me. He never asks for more than I have to give at any time. He never does anything without my consent. He listens, pays attention, and remembers. I don't have to hide any parts of myself. He loves my ugliness, my brokenness, my scars. He accepts me and celebrates me as I am. I allow myself to be vulnerable with him, and I've never felt more safe.
When I am depressed, he instinctively knows exactly what to do. I've always had to hide my clinical depression from my past partners. They either didn't care or actively said they didn't like it. But this man knows what to do. He knows if I need to be left alone, he knows if I need cuddles, he knows if I need pillows and blankets and children's movies. One night, before we move in together, I send him a message. I feel silly. I've been too depressed to take a shower and I'm starting to smell bad. He comes over. He takes off his clothes but keeps his underwear on. He tells me he doesn't want this to feel sexual. He carries me to the bathroom and puts me on a stool in the shower. He washes my hair for me and scrubs my skin. Another night my anxiety is so bad I'm trapped on the couch. I cannot get to bed to go to sleep. It's getting late. Again I send him a message. Again he comes over and saves the day.
At some point, I have a talk with Matt about his drinking. I've never been so cared for, so respected in any relationship. Truly everything is perfect except this. I tell him about the journals and what I promised myself. He promises, too. He promises to cut back. He drinks only at home. No more driving anymore. He buys a certain amount, and doesn't drink more than that. But the amounts he brings home get bigger. But he keeps his word.

2017.02.12:
We go out with some friends. We ride together on his ride to get there, so he can't get too drunk to get us home. The first drink he orders is a bathtub of a margarita with two beers turned upside down in it. He says this way, he only needs to buy one drink for the night. Then he buys a second drink. I ask him to stop. He starts drinking water. But when we go to the next bar, I can see his eyes getting glassy. He orders a rum and coke. Then a second. He talks with the bartender about how much rum goes in, and it's fully three quarters of the glass. I can see the Matt I know has gone away from behind those glassy eyes. It is another man who picks up that drink and puts it to his lips. As I see him do it, I know that I am less important than a glass of rum and coke. I know he is already blackout drunk. I call a cab and take him home. On the drive he becomes less and less lucid. By the time we arrive I'm barely able to get him into our home. I get him undressed and in the shower with the water running. I bring him water. He starts to throw up. I'm dying from the heart out. I'm trying to tend to him without shattering into a million pieces. I go to the kitchen to get more water and when I come back, he's climbed out of the bathroom and into the hallway where he's thrown up a lake. I start hysterically sobbing and wailing. I lock myself in the bedroom. I sleep until it's time to go to work.

2017.02.13:
When I leave the bedroom to go to work, I find a puddle of vomit-infused water in the floor. I have to put plastic bags over my feet so I can walk through it to get to the door. I realize my relationship is over. I made a promise to myself that I intend to keep. We spend the week separated. We live in the same apartment but sleep in different rooms. I'm trying to fight for us to stay friends. He has quit drinking for good. He has started exercising. But he says it will hurt him too much to stay friends. The worst is happening and I can't stop it.

2017.02.18:
Matt brings home a cigar - one of our favorite pastimes is to sit on our 5th-floor balcony together with no electronics and share a cigar and conversation in the breeze. Over the course of this conversation, we realize we both want to continue fighting for this relationship, the best either of us have ever had. We've always been good at communication and working together. He asks me if I remember him giving up cigarettes shortly after we started dating. I do, he quit cold turkey. He tells me, the most difficult part of change for him is to commit to the decision. Once he's done that, he says, it's finished. I believe him, but I'm scared to trust him. We decide to work together to save it. He lets me set the pace. He never tries to rush things. We slowly move forward, then back into the same bedroom. We continue to have weekend adventures all over Taiwan. We spoil one another on each other's birthdays. He writes me poetry and loves everything I cook. When we talk about the future, our plans always include one another. There is no future without him. My home is where his heart is.

2017.04.27:
A Taiwanese author named Lin YiHan kills herself. She had recently published a story about a girl who is raped and abused by her teacher. People speculated that it was auto-biographical although she denied it.

2017.05.12:
A new law is passed in Taiwan requiring background checks for teachers. People hope it will keep children safe from predators, and so do Matt and I. When our bosses ask for our information to do background checks, we happily provide it. No one should have to fear abuse from their superiors, and no children should go through what the protagonist in Lin's novel did.

2018.05.12:
Matt and I board a plane together. We've taken many short trips but this will be our first long journey. We're going first to visit his family so I can meet everyone, then to mine so they can meet him. I will be able to stay longer in the USA than Matt can, and I look forward to spending time with my father.

2018.05.27:
Matt flies home. His journey is just awful. One flight is fourteen hours and the woman behind him is digging her feet into his chair, hitting an area where he has a surgical wound we've been tending for ages. Upon his exhausted arrival, he learns from his boss that his work permit has been revoked. His background check turned up the DUI. It doesn't matter that he paid his fine. It doesn't matter that he's been sober for a year and a half. The permit has been revoked. I am in denial. He believes he will have to leave Taiwan, but I beg him to fight it. He never hurt any children. His students and their parents love him. His bosses make every call possible.

2018.06.04:
I am on a road-trip around my part of the USA. It is about 9PM and I still have about 5 hours drive left before I get to my destination. I get a message from Matt that he is being deported. There is never a moment where I consider staying in Taiwan. My home is where his heart is. They aren't deporting one man, they're deporting us both, because I cannot stay without him. I pull into a roadside strip motel because I don't trust myself to keep driving. When I explain my situation at the front desk, they give me rum. I drink it and go to my room to shower and cry.

2018.06.06:
Matt checks the mail and finds a letter from the government. The letter says he must leave Taiwan. The deportation date is June 5th. Yes, you read that right. The official letter arrived on the 6th and said he had to leave the country on the 5th. He calls the office. He tells them his girlfriend will return to Taiwan on the 18th. Could he please stay until the 20th? Could he please see her for one day before he has to leave? They make him promise that he will leave the country on the 20th. When he hangs up, he sees on the bottom where he can call to appeal the decision. But everyone has been called, and at this point, we're through. We're exhausted. They win. We'll leave.

The Future:
I will go back to work in Taiwan. I will probably work until late August, early September. Early September is when I first moved to Taiwan in 2013. That means I've lived there for five years, after my original plan was for just two years. I fell in love with the land, the mountains, the beaches, the plains. I fell in love with the people, the families, the friends, the shopkeepers. I fell in love with the food, the god parades, the night markets. It's the longest I've ever stayed in one place my entire life. I wanted to keep staying.

I don't know where we go next. But we will go there together. This is the man I wrote about in my notebook in fourth grade, the last time I ever stayed somewhere more than three years. He is my spell, he is my prayer, he is where my heart is. I will follow him to any country. I will follow him to the moon.

Friday, April 6, 2018

1/30 for nic and all the others

if I sharpen my best blade
and carve their holy names,
these comrade poison carriers,
into my own tired skin,
if I watch the hot life run out
of each letter, a rain of rubies --
could it flow back to them?
angela. keith. josh. tommy. nikki. nic.
nic.
could it flow in to them?
rubies pouring in through the wounds
fly hot life back in
wake their sleeping bodies?
my comrades all come back to me
hold me while I fade, and say their sacred names
each syllable a smile to cure what kills us,
come back, come back, come back!

http://www.thecabin.net/news/20180405/coroner-body-found-on-tucker-creek-walking-trail-thursday-afternoon-sent-to-crime-lab

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Red Beans and Rice in Taiwan

As a Southerner living in Taiwan, I got to do what I can to get by. Here goes Red Beans and Rice made in Taiwan with ingredients that can be found in Taiwan.

First of all, rice here is too short. I brought some Arkansas Long Grain Rice back with me last time I visited. Finding good beans is hard, but we've got a big Carrefour as well as a restaurant supply store in town so that works. Cans of stewed tomatoes can be found at either of those places too, and I'm a fan of these "fire roasted" ones for their flavor. Sausage is a real challenge here though, most are all far too sweet. These garlic ones are about as close to tolerable as we're gonna get. 


Yeah, they're disappointing. But if we can't even get polish sausage, forget about boudin or andouille.


I cut them crosswise once, then lengthwise in half or quarter. Or both.


Once they're like this, it's time to fry up.


Without a little oil in the pan, this sausage will never caramelize. If you have access to good sausage, you might not need any.


Here's how we start....


...and nice and caramelized is how we finish. Could be nice to throw in a rough-chop mess of garlic and a big-chunk cut onion in with it. I've often thought about throwing in the rice too to turn it into a more flavorful sort of pilaf, but I usually throw this together after work quick-like, and there's no time for waiting for the washed rice to dry before frying it up and I'll be damned if I'm either 1) frying wet rice or 2) not washing rice. I'm a Southerner, not a monster.


Hi, sweet Arkansas long grain. I've got one cup here and I'll add two cups of liquid. If you can only score Asian rice, use a cup and a half of each to have the same amount of final cooked rice.


Here's nasty clouded water on the first wash. We don't like this.


Here's clear water on the third wash. Yeah.


Some people don't rinse their beans before they cook them. Some people are disgusting slobs.


See what we've got coming together now? Isn't this fun?


So, rice plus liquid equals cooked rice, right? Well these tomatoes have a shitton of liquid. Each brand/type will be different, and since I've measured these before I know what's up. But maybe you have a different kind.  So drain the liquid offa one can and then just remember that one for if you use it again.


This can gives me just shy of one cup. Since I need two, I'll make up the difference with some water.


You're good to put it in the rice cooker at this point and press go. Um, if you're boring.


I'm not boring. I've got black pepper, chicken bouillon, oregano, paprika, bay leaves, MUFUKKIN ZATARANS, thyme, hickory smoked salt, dried minced onion, and epazote. I forgot to add garlic this time and it's like I don't even know who I am.


This is what goes into the rice cooker...


And here's the finished product.


Give it a stir,


...and dish it up.


Good man good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why I Can't Jam to CeeLo Anymore OR: Your Game of Thrones fanship is wrecking my PTSD.

Facebook asked me to comment on the return of Game of Thrones.  Shortly after posting this status update, I received the following question in my inbox.



  • The short answer is: Yes.

    Now I'll define support.

    Do I mean these people themselves go to the bar with rohypnol in their pockets? Probably the majority do not.

    Do I mean these people themselves, when they hear of an MRA rally, get out their posterboard and their markers and go join with misogynistic signs held high? Probably the majority do not.

    But let's look at the study conducted at the University of North Dakota, by two PhDs and one MA, published in 2014 in the journal Violence and Gender and first reported by Newsweek. ONE IN THREE of the men surveyed said they would "use force to obtain intercourse" from a woman if there were no consequences. Now, when the actual word "rape" was used in the question, those numbers dropped to much lower. But is that not the definition of rape?

    And that's where things get tricky. My rapist fucked me without my consent. I woke up, and he was inside me, and I did not want him to be. But he does not believe that what he did was rape. So few rapists do. In fact, marital rape in the USA only began to be outlawed in the 1970s, and was only finally illegal in all 50 states by as recently as 1993/  The definition is still tricky in at least 13 states. Marital rape is still legal in around fifty countries. My rapist, like so many others, believed he had a right to take what he wanted, and saw nothing wrong with that.

    I bring all this up to say, it's highly likely that a good percentage of viewers either do not regard the three horrible scenes that are most often discussed as rape at all - and if they do, it's easy enough for them to brush them away. Drogo's rape of Danerys? Well they were married, it was their wedding night, what did she expect? Ramsey's rape of Sansa? Again, she was his wife. Jamie's rape of Cersei? Well, while not legally married, they'd been in a decades-long committed relationship, right? Even the actor who plays Jamie has defended that scene vocally. I'll never watch another project he's in.

    But Drogo never gets Dany's consent.  He flips her over, goes to town, and the camera zooms in on her teary eyes.
    The actual dialogue between Cersei and Jamie in the “controversial scene” is as follows:
    Jaime: "You're a hateful woman. Why have the gods made me love a hateful woman?"
    Cersei "Jaime, not here, please. Please."
    Cersei: "Stop it. Stop it. Stop. No. Stop it. Stop. Stop. Stop. It's not right. It's not right. It's not right."
    Jaime: "I don't care."
    Cersei: "Don't. Jaime, don't.”
    Jaime: "I don't care. I don't care." 
    Cersei tells Jamie not here, please, don't, stop, no, it's not right, and he says "I don't care" and helps himself to her. I stopped watching when I heard about that episode, so I can't comment on the later scene of Ramsey and Sansa, but I hear it focused entirely on THEON'S REACTION TO THE RAPE and not the rape at all. And in none of these cases do we deal with the aftermath of rape. It happens as a plot device and the story moves on, leaving these victims and their healing unaddressed.

    Importantly to me though, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THESE RAPES OCCURS IN THE ORIGINAL TEXT. In fact, the scene between Drogo and Dany becomes a celebration of gaining her trust and her consent. Cersei literally begs Jamie to fuck her, and Sansa isn't even in Winterfell, she's far away to the East.

    Perhaps most importantly, this is being intentionally done and therefore condoned by the writers, directors, actors, and countless others involved in this show, in the face of public outcry against it. After the first violation in the Dany/Drogo story, there was outcry. They heard it. They answered it with more non-canon rape in the Jamie/Cersei story. The outcry was even louder. They heard it. They answered it with more non-canon rape in the altogether invented Ramsey/Sansa story. This time the outcry has been to the extent that some publications, including The Mary Sue, have said they will no longer cover Game of Thrones with any stories on their website. There was further outcry from Salon, Wired, Vanity Fair, Vulture, Hypable, Bustle, Vox, the NY Daily News, and a US Senator.  This is being intentionally and repeatedly done. These people are choosing to continue to depict this abhorrent act.

    So when I say I believe these people are supporting rape, what I mean to say is that they weekly celebrate a show which needlessly and grotesquely depicts the sexual abuse of women by men, disrespecting and retraumatizing me personally along with an untold and uncountable number of other victims of rape. I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill here.  My PTSD symptoms have been through the roof simply because I see people celebrating the show's return.  I've forgotten my phone at home, shown up late for work, and yelled at students who didn't deserve it.  I find myself absent-mindedly planning self-harm, and have to fight myself not to commit it.

    I believe that these depictions lead us to become desensitized to sexual violence and that it is this sort of attitude toward rape and depiction of it that leads to instances of, for example, this woman livestreaming her 17-year-old friend's rape but doing nothing to stop it. I'll be the first to argue that music and video games do not a school shooter make, but frankly I feel we're dealing with apples and oranges when it comes to that.

    I do not deny that the books depict rape, but I feel personally that the books do a better job of dealing with the aftermath - repeatedly discussing how rapers are sent to the wall, Eddard Stark's declaration of Clegane as an outlaw and demanding he be brought to justice (mentioned only in passing in the show), and plenty of other instances.  While the books include rape, they do not graphically depict the details that the show visually places in front of us.

    People who watch this show are supporting the show. This show is indefensible with regards to how it repeatedly and unnecessarily depicts rape. Even before I myself became a rape victim (I do not yet identify with the label "survivor," though I hope I can one day) I would boycott problematic art and artists. I do not get to watch Woody Allen or Roman Polanski films. I don't listen to Cee Lo, or any artist who collaborates with Chris Brown. Cosby, Lennon, Sean Penn... the list goes on.

    Explain it away and enjoy the show if you want to. You have that right. I am incapable of doing so.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Day 5/30: What is here

Here is a queen-
sized mattress floating in a still ocean,
dozens of pillows,
just enough breeze.

Here is the way a ray
of sunlight falls across
a purple orchid growing outdoors
beside the creek
in southern Taiwan.

Here is the sound
of piano coasting down
from some window the next
building over in the late
afternoon.

Here is how I feel:
with my head on his shoulder,
with my lips on his cheek,
with his arms around me,
when I ride, arms flung wide,
drinking in joy on the back
of his motorbike.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Day 4/30: There are some things we know about the devil:

Not that he is evil, red, or even for that matter
a "he."  Not anger, not torture, no flames.
The Devil is patient, and kind, speaks slowly
and always looks both ways at the crossing.
The Devil rewinds.  Crosses all Ts and dots
every I.  Takes a pie to the new neighbors
and always has a spare cup of sugar to lend.
The Devil will tell you when there's food
in your teeth, will help you put up signs
for your lost pet, is really interested
in your latest art project.  Brings you a plate
after Thanksgiving, keeps your secrets,
always has jumper cables in the truck,
is a wicked fast change of a flat. The Devil
doesn't even need to lie.  One sly smile
and you'll deceive your own self, lie down darlin,
rest your weary head
neath my arm.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day 3/30: Eulogy for the Disinherited

Some things must first be cut away.  From behind my knee,
an old Victrola, playing your song.  An antique key pulled
from under my tongue, and like that: I've forgotten
your name.  There are birds that must be shook loose
from my ears before I knock out the sound of the beach
the night we built that fire.  Once the smoke clears,
the entire city of Tucson.  The name of the street
on which we lived, and then the real challenge:
my Hydra heart.  Each time I cut out the parts that loved you
two more hearts grow in their place.  Until I am left,
blossoming vines blooming from my chest, growing over
all the rubble, one thousand new organs that have never
sung your tune.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Day2/30: Three Attempts

Attempt the First: Screw around with proverbs.

When the going gets tough, the tough unravel. Undress.  I'll cut off
my own skin just to show I'll
do it first.  My knife is mightier than my pen.  I stay in a stone house
throwing glasses out windows
just for the sound.  Diamonds are for never. Better never than early.
I invite my birds of a feather to dinner, but go to bed
with my enemies, holding them close and closer.  Make them omelets
for breakfast without breaking any eggs, all my eggs
in one basket, counting chicks, then scrub up:
cleanliness is my key to damnation.  I'll fix anything not broke.
There's no time like the past to do it right, by myself.

Attempt the second: Take the final word from each line in the previous poem, make them the first word of each line in a new poem.

Off with my dread instead.
I'll find you, I'll creep from house to
House, say I won't, peeping in
Windows, mail slots, chimneys, keyholes,
Early in the morning, early enough you're still in
Bed.  Without me, of course.  Cold enough for
Omelets in the morning, scramble the
Eggs like your thoughts, wishing for a proper punch-
Up, get too drunk at the evening, fall off the barstool,
Broke as a whole stand-up act.
Myself, I'll just lean back and laugh.

Attempt the third: Take the final letter from each line in the previous poem, make them the first letters of each line in a new poem.

Don't.
Only
In
Sin can I
Never
Remember
Every
Hateful
Lie.
Truth
Halts.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Trip Home 04

There is a pallet in my father's van.  There is a lake in southwest Arkansas.  What more does anyone need to know?

I've been sharing with some friends: coins I brought and munchie treats, but the real trick comes at my reunion.  I've brought back a bottle of gaoliang to share with my classmates.  If you know what gaoliang is, that's all you need to know.  If not... c'mere, let me show you!  It's so delicious!  Really, you won't cry at all, I promise!  Um, how much enamel do you need for the rest of your life?

I've been eating like a queen.  Today we baked potatoes and took the leftover porterhouse and sliced up inside with blue cheese on top.  Even our leftovers are magical.

I forgot to bring a swimsuit.  What?  Like I haven't been looking forward to Lake Ouachita since I left? Dad's loaning me some swimming shorts and I guess I'll wear a tank or something.  Can't be bothered to spend the money I just brought over from Taiwan and deposited in my account for student loans. Felt really good to deposit that.

I've been sleeping a lot too.  Lost a whole day when I got here.  I wonder how much of it is due to what.  Mental illness? Jet lag which I've never had a problem with before?  The simple fact that I've returned to my childhood home, a place that has always represented healing and nurturing for me?

My perfect sweet baby doggie!  Man his coat had not been touched since I left. First I tried to trim it down but it came out really patchy because it was so thick and even a little matted in some places in the under coat.  As we trimmed him down we could see all the dandruff.  Dad was helping me and I think he saw how much the coat really does need attention every few months.  Brought Loki in and took him in to the bath where I scrubbed away with some gentle Aloe skin shampoo that we still had and he's a completely different dog today.  His haircut is less than beautiful, but I'll touch him up before I go.

Well, it's time to pack and get in the van; I've got a haircut scheduled pretty soon I need to get to with my old hairdresser who understands curly frizzy Western hair!