Local Bazaar, near Gaochang ruins, Xinjiang, China

Asia, International Travel, Poetry

Been going through some older photos lately. May 2014 found my wife and I in Western China, exploring the ruins of Gaochang, an ancient oasis city on the northern rim of the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert in present-day Xinjiang. After exploring the ruins, we stopped by a local bazaar, where these photos we taken.

Xinjiang, China (May 2014)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Object

Poetry

Here’s another one from the archives, this time from my second poetry collection, Pagan Blues (2007):
 

Sacrifice

I have placed it on the alter
for the devout to devour.

I have buried it in sand
forsaking it to the sun.

I have left it near the edge
letting gravity run its course.

I have split it in two
exposing it for the gods.

I have set it on the pyre
transforming it to ash.

I have ground it to dust
scattering it at sea.

I have hung it from a cross
skewering its side.

I have named it
and left it unnamed.

 
Posted in response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/writing-challenge-object/

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

Poetry

Was reminded of this poem, which was written as part of a series of poems that ended up in my first poetry collection, In a Strange Land (2003). It didn’t make the cut and has remained unpublished, though still seems timely given recent events.

 

Evolution

A favorite teacher once lost me here,
holding steadfast to his belief in the Creation,
casting off opposing views with a zealot’s indignation.
I tried to introduce a third option for those of us
between primates and miracles, but was silenced.

Then you with your grey eyes closed as I read to you,
hours of exchanges between us, a lifetime of discovery
that could have been, but again this issue.
“How can it even be considered a science?”
you once asked. I was struck silent.

 

Posed in response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/the-sound-of-silence/

Daily Prompt: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Poetry

Prompt: Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.

This poem comes from my second poetry collection, Pagan Blues, and mimics (and makes allusions to several works by) one of my favorite poets. It was also published in Spring: The Journal of the E.E. Cumming Society. This poem was composed long before I began traveling.
 

NOVEMBER SUNSET
after E. E. Cummings

when we first met i
tried to entice you with
“jake hates
                               all the girls(the”
but you didn’t share
my love for the cold
ones.

a luncheon won, i
wore green as would
my love riding on
a great horse of gold,
the hounds of my
stomach crouched
low and smiling;
Afterwards i tried
“suppose,” hoping
you liked flowers.

near the end i sang
“who are you,little i”
to you without you,
knowing the beautiful
way this would end,
as every golden day
must end.
 

Posted in response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/daily-prompt-copies/

Alaska Haiku

International Travel, Poetry

My father was not a traveler. For one, he feared flying, meaning that the few vacations we took in my youth were long crawls across many states in whatever second-hand car he owned at the time.  We’d stay in whatever motel was cheapest and pack in as many miles as possible the next day. He didn’t have a passport until my mom persuaded him to take an Alaskan cruise when they were both in their fifties.

My mother was an avid traveler. Her travels included the UK, Mexico, Canada, and sailing on the RMS Queen Mary in her youth. She often traveler with my grandmother, her mother, but after her unexpected passing, was left to either stay at home or talk my father into travel. She thought she could do it with an Alaskan cruise, and thought it would be easier if I came along.

I’d never been on a cruise before and it wasn’t high on my list, but I hoped it might spark something long absent in my father and that they would begin to travel together afterward. So I tagged along, heading off on my own excursions that included rappelling down a glacier, driving a 4×4 in the Yukon territory, and feeding salmon to soaring eagles on an abandoned island (my parents were content taking city tours or walking around the port town). I’d recently returned from a trip to China where I’d written a haiku every day and decided to keep up the tradition during this trip. Below are five from this time:

 

No day no night just
Hours passing through hours
Days turning to years

Into mist and haze
Snow clinging to ancient rock
Trees toppling over

Ice and rain and snow
Form the heartbeat of nature
Too much to absorb

North territory
Filled with dead horses and gold
Miles still to go

Ground soft beneath me
Jagged shore less pliable
Eagles soar with food

 

Posted in response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/challenge-haiku/