I lay there, sat there, I'm not sure, what the hell, maybe I am, maybe I'm not . . . rocking, talking; with walls, with lights, with God, dripping into my room like a lava lamp on steroids . . . laying in my own vomit . . . in a dream within a dream, walking with Timothy Leary through mirrors, into hallways leading to the where of nowhere; a cartoon without Mickey who's in the other room with Minnie and Daisy, Donald's at work, his nephews down the street, spray painting graffiti on the principal's car, who works overtime with the school secretary . . . a cool wind, the voice of God, checkered walls, purple haze, Jimi playing, All Along the Watchtower; call me Ahab, man versus whale . . . reflection versus reflection, a mindscape caught between here and there, friends besides me saying, "Come back, come back, before it's too late, and the rabbit hole dissolves into a million Jiminy Crickets!" No songs, no light, lost in a space, the eternity between mirrors . . . free-falling forever with Wonder Wart Hog, Allan, and Ron Crumb, into the zen of painting without numbers, and no Litchenstein to immortalize me . . . my friends, my guilt, my conscience . . . once upon a time in a church beside the altar, cops and MPs, herding us like cattle onto the altar, half naked, half there, a choir of confusion, singing psalms to Buddha . . . our brother, a marine deserter, waving to us while fading into the looking glass with Alice's mother, who's none too happy.
haibun, spring clouds spewing
see the naked little
beside the highway on
a wheelless tricycle?
This morning and this evening we drove past a city of shanties several miles long . . . shanties are conglomerations of tin, cardboard, paper, and whatever else the poor living there can piece together to form a small abode . . . many are stacked atop of each other. This morning I was haunted by the sight of a naked 2 year old boy trying to sit upright on a tricycle without back wheels. He kept falling in the mud and trying to get his tricycle to work. Such shantie towns are an epidemic here in the Philippines. 5% percent of the people possess all of the wealth, while the remainder struggle to get by. The average wage here is $80 to $100 dollars a month. The latter earning $1200 a year. I hurt for these people and their bleakness of every day. The time will come when that naked little boy will give up his quest . . . Tonight as we drove past the same shanty town, approximately 20 fire trucks were trying to quell a huge fire that was destroying what was left of hope and liveliness for the halo halo* people. And just a week before Christmas, as if any of these families could afford a Christmas of any kind.
*halo halo is a mix mix dessert consisting of beans, fruit, and other odds and end.
Dawn's early light . . .
On the way home from the Vietnam war, I closed my eyes, and kept them closed for the next 4 decades, traveling in and out of mirrors, sleeping in an old car with a half brained dog with a thing for muddy water, talking to walls that danced, every woman an e-ticket ride in uncle Walt's Enchanted Kingdom, my shadow stuffing his face with marijuana and cheap cans of sardines. . . California dreaming, star spangled and no banner, cruising with dragons up and down the coast into a black hole I swear was Joe E. Brown's mouth; staring at zebras, sea otters, walking snails, my brain on overload, thinking a thousand thoughts, blinking on and off, a neon sign in a diner with black and white checkered floor tiles, drinking cheap coffee; fondling runaway big breasted girls with pigtails in overall shorts with little room to breathe . . . at the dawn's early light: policemen, detectives, crowding us into the sanctuary of an ancient Unitarian Church in Nixon's hometown, minus the Quakers, dragging butt naked AWOL soldiers into waiting cars, to be hung later, upside down, from the ceiling of the Red Queen's brig . . . vomit, bad trips, dancing bears the March Hare hired to impersonate life size cats blowing smoke rings into an empty tea cup . . . Jim Morrison singing, The End, in Paris, France.
the shrill scream
of incoming waves . . .
not a seasonal worker,
For a thousand years, Vietnam was at war. The Vietnam War was one of many wars. For centuries, outsiders have trampled on her soil, raping her of her natural resources. Originally, Vietnam was a single nation. Later, it was partitioned by the French into two nations. At the end of the Vietnam War, the two nations became one again.
Exploited and poor economically, the Vietnamese people didn’t have the wherewithal to fight conventionally, nor did they have the resources their conquerors had. The one thing they did have, however, was patience, and vision. They knew they couldn’t rid themselves of their conqueror’s yokes overnight. It would take time and sacrifice. Decades turned into centuries. Thousands of lives were lost. Throughout the years, Vietnamese guerilla army units dug an elaborate system of tunnels under the earth, many of them interconnected. They used the tunnels to house hospitals, armories, soldiers, supplies, and other necessities. Some of the tunnels were multilayered, burrowing deep into the ground. The Chinese, Japanese, French, and American armed forces knew of their existence but had no idea how many there were nor the vastness of its reach.
During the Vietnam War, we were unable to pluck the enemy from its lair, no matter how many bombs were dropped and villages raided. After every attack, the Viet Cong would reemerge, seemingly invincible. The enemy refused to be conquered. Because they were born there, the Viet Cong knew the land better than their attackers. They dug, they hibernated, and they waited. Their patience paid off. The little dragon defeated its enemies in 1975.
Unfortunately, the little dragon today has become the domesticated pet of a political system heavily influenced by a former conqueror, The People’s Republic of China. I remember the old South Vietnamese farmer who told me that he didn’t want the U.S. in Vietnam, nor the Chinese influenced Communists. He wanted to be left alone to farm and govern his own destiny. The cycle continues.