25 January 2013

nothing seems grand enough

wasting     thoughts     on       paper


      attempts in composing



                                                                                      SONETS   or    simple haikus

        declarations of emotions

       at that


                         each jumbled scene changes instanteously with ink s  p   a    t    t   e    r   s

my eyes





                 at what these hands did

                                                        what can not be erased

permanence is such a relative term, so many seem to hide from it, others stick to routines.

few       find       a          happy        medium

                                                                    ALL               trying    to             fulfill this grand life

thrive    in fifteen minutes of fame

23 January 2013

Fluid Ripples

calmly sifting
through ideas, plans
minnows drift across my skin
settle on a crease
for a short moment
I begin to sink
immersed in smooth notions
slight kicks disturb the peace
bring air to my lungs
crack the lid
additional comparisons form

Khmer time slips unnoticed
as only a leaf floating down
causing slight ripples
no drastic changes on the surface
tradition goes as before
the depths conceal secret pasts
no need to plunge any further
simply continue living
with a few advances

Western time is meticulously kept
quickly passing one deadline
simultaneously creating another
as if trying to skip a rock
while scanning the beach again
already having pocketed two more
yet this new one might be better
the first is simply tossed in
crashing through layers of algae
confusing the entire ecosystem
but holding the belief
it will all settle better in the end

bright rays disturb
my rest
instinctively shock
my limbs
as if an alarm clock sounded
toppling me off
the curved log
into any tiny creatures below
rushing off
to the next appointment
twenty minutes past
the agreed upon time
keeping with the Khmer system

22 January 2013

A Global Commute

Another long commute filled with odd events that only reminds me of Prague. However these moments of similarity between the lovely historical city of Prague, Czech Republic and the often mundane trips I make on Portland's trimet, are why this west coast city is growing on me. Now that I am finally able to move for a better job and more welcoming community, Portland smiles have been fully revealed.

Walking down the crowded streets under construction my thoughts jump back to Seattle but then I turn a corner and the brick of Old Town carries me into Boston. Before my eyes conjure up images of young Harvard kids or I begin hearing Cake blaring over the commons, my feet quickly step onto the banks of a Czech river...Surreal sculptures manifest across the dirty water. A row of yellow penguins lines the island shores then slowly sink beneath the murk that is turning red. Rich soil deposits are carried up the Tonlé Sap during this monsoon season in Cambodia. As the rain comes down strong upon my shoulders, I skip over a puddle towards Ban Lung's center market full of children, dogs and folks visiting from nearby villages. The man with one leg supporting his drunken lean is adjusting the knot dangling off what used to be his other full leg. He asks me for a beer as I squeeze past the pork slabs and duck carcasses with just a little more finesse than yesterday. Since I don't even have enough for my own lunch he should be grateful for the last of my peanuts quickly handed over, but he insists that I have more. No amount of smiles with my shaky Khmer can convince him we are nearly in the same predicament.

I continue moving as he reaches down into the trash bins near Pioneer Square. He's mumbling about a free meal that won't come for hours as I hop onto my MAX and think of what food might be in my cupboards. Since I only have this 40 min train followed by an hour bus ride to start preparing my own food. If only the other places I have been would set up programs like Portland has. So many sullen, tired eyes stare back at me as I return to my current reality of working class people on the MAX. 

18 January 2013

Circular Detours

Continued from 'Detours in NE Portland.'...

Another showing with the Monastery Artist Collective was in full swing. She was ‘dressed to the nines’ in a favorite short blue dress that puffed out from her waist. It was perfect for twirling around the dance floor on. Once it bounced to electronica in Connecticut as she kicked her feet around the annual Dance ‘til Dawn event. However, this night was more of a usual occurrence in Manchester, New Hampshire. 

I never truly embraced the beauty of this urban neighborhood until the final walk back to Killingsworth.  Not only leaving behind this decrepit duplex, stressful employment situation and a campus reminiscent of the Truman Show; but also, many nights of reckless abandon in various states of mind. This would be my last walk down in which I would really be alone. In just a few short weeks my belly would deflate and a new life would become continually present. 

The memories that raced into vision that day were overwhelming. It was the end of an era as I had never truly experienced. Yes, I changed upon moving out of my parent’s house in high school, and again when first stepping foot on the train that took me across the country. Teaching in SE Asia was a truly unique experience that forever changed my perspective of suffering. Especially after transferring from New Hampshire back to the West Coast where I met more privileged youth than I had ever known before.  Yet, now I was really transitioning into a new phase of life that would affect every moment from this point forward.  

I wrote this two years ago, 9 months pregnant and on the first day of maternity leave. It was discovered in a forgotten folder while revising my resume for another venture. Every year of my life has been so incredibly different for over a decade and I am still wrapping my head around everything. I often find humor in mentioning a story from past to co-workers who only know my present self. They are shocked to discover that I used to have dread-locks, dumpster dive, and stay up for days in a row just making art with friends. It’s quite hilarious to me. They only see the responsible mother who I am now, but so much has brought me to this point.

17 January 2013

Detours in NE Portland

Her memories flowed through gnarled evergreens and overripe huckleberry bushes; back to the dirt roads of adolescence. To the night she scared herself while sneaking out under the full moon. After calling a friend to meet further down the road but quickly forgetting the transaction while using her cell as a flashlight, until their voice came through louder. For nearly a minute she spun in circles checking the shadows while trying not to breathe in hopes whatever animal had growled would disappear. Then her name was yelled out the speaker and she jumped to reality. An animal had not stalked her in the bramble. She was simply being ridiculous falling prey to the night shadows. Soon enough the truck pulled up and she squished into the middle, pulling her legs up so the stick shift could be maneuvered. 

“Do you have a cigarette?” she asked impatiently. 

“Sure. Do you have the fifth?” the driver asked.

“Only mine! Ha! Thanks for the smoke though.” 

He was quite upset by this and threatened to turn back, leave her in the ditch. Let her walk back and sneak in through the kitchen window early. It took a while for her to retract this statement and explain the vodka was for everyone to share. She knew he wouldn’t turn around anyway. Not after turning onto the familiar gravel road that curved up logging hills near Lake Roseiger. The truck sped around sharp corners, veered close to the edge. 

They bumped over ‘tank traps’ set by loggers to keep out sneaky kids. Someone had already started passing around beers. Everyone was trying not to spill as they awaited the light of a friendly bonfire. The usual crowd would soon come into view and moods would improve. Rather than anxiously debating who had booze, all would soon be shared as people debated who to cuddle with under the night air. 

 The rest of the night fades out of focus as quaint Northeast Portland houses dominate the horizon. Each walk down Ainsworth has taken my mind on past journeys worlds away from the current cement roads.  A crunched beer can in the ditch inspired numerous high school nights. On my next step leaves made their final dance in the wind. My hair joined in the waltz as laughter surrounded me in a crowded New Hampshire artist studio.