I met Concha at the Writing for Change conference and she just finished reading “Breast Stroke.” Her comments are more than positive which is satisfying, obviously, and she requested to know more about my experience of Christian Science, and why I took so long to go to the doctor when I saw the dimpling.
I have now brought my computer up to the Executive Lounge on the 31st floor to sit and look out at the view, while nourishing with a glass of fresh orange juice, and consider that. I am full from a lavish breakfast buffet, so all my needs are met.
I have lived feeling rather self-contained and with a strong sense of mind over matter. There have been times when that smugness almost killed me, as I was sure I could push on through. In
Anyway, for me, my breast cancer journey, was one of “becoming a community.” I learned how connected I was to all of you. That knowing brings tears. How wonderful to know and feel the spokes of our wheel.
So, to my front is a view of Hong Hong. Behind me the news on a plasma screen TV is of the falling American dollar. It sounds dire and is disconcerting to listen to the bad new of home from here.
The day is gray and it looks like we chose the right days for
So, to lighten my mood, I imbibe in a poem, a place, like a bench, to consider, contemplate, renew, and rest.
One thing I notice here is older people. They seem an intriguing part of this landscape I travel. I want to know their history, what they have lived through and seen.
Dorianne Laux has this to say about her poem, “Demographic.” She lives in
“These days, the bus is where I get many of my poems written, since it is one of the few stretches of time when I’m free from the phone, the computer, students, family. I will often make quick character sketches of the people around me that will later turn themselves into full poems. This particular piece focuses on those who are encumbered by life’s bodily disasters and have to make their way around the world the same as any able-bodied individual but with a complex set of obstacles and adjustments. I’m amazed again and again by the patience of these people as well as the other riders and the bus drivers. It’s sometimes a community effort to get just one person on the bus and settled for the short ride to the grocery store, the hospital, or the university. Maybe the bus is one of the last bastions of humanity and democracy. I’ve noticed that I have begun to feel a great sense of calm and comfort fall over me as soon as I reach the stop and sit down among my comrades on the metal bench. Every age, sex, race and class is represented there and I know what my role is, what is expected of me as a member of this movable and intimate society. We wave to one another, greeting each other by name, making room in the seat next to us or standing up for the elderly or infirm. For once, we all know who we are and where we’re going, and we have one another to help us get there.”
Here is her poem:
By Dorianne Laux
It’s time for me to walk to the bus stop
and sit down among them, the man
tied to his wheelchair, the woman
with the humped back, time for me
to kneel and hold his cup while he adjusts
his books and his pack, look up at her
flowered blouse, his scratched glasses.
There’s a sky full of rain that won’t
come down, pigeons asleep on the lawn,
and across the street pumpkins piled high
in front of the market, Xeroxed flyers
stapled to the telephone pole. To the east
a day moon above the bridge, cars
filing under like a school of fish,
and if I look down at my feet I won’t
knock over the plastic dish the blind man
has filled to the brim for his dog. It’s time
to go to work, to wait while they gather
their belongings, while the metal mesh
platform unhinges and bangs down,
time to nod to the driver as he pulls
back on the lever and a man lifts
into the air, to cup her elbow, a thin wing
sharpened by suffering, to enter
the threshold and stand among them,
listen to their murmurs, the news
of the day, to slip my hand through
the frayed canvas and hold on.
May this poem bring gentle patience to the meetings and greetings of our day!
It is now Saturday morning, and we are moving slowly after an indulgent day yesterday. It must be incredibly hot outside as even the hotel is warm and the air is even grayer and wetter as we look out at the well-hazed view. We spent yesterday on the south side of the island in
We walked quickly through
The Chinese like to be inside in air conditioning, but they are aware we Westerners like to sit outside with our “views,” which is true. They are working to accommodate us, and
We knelt in the Tin Hau temple, founded in 1767 and dedicated to the protector of seafarers. There is a beautiful pathway walk of perfect Feng Shui, leading directly to the sea.
We walked, enveloped in our own bath of steam, up the hill to the
We snuck, a bit embarrassed perhaps, into McDonalds for a much-needed Coke, air-conditioning, and a bathroom. It is right next to the teeny-tiniest of temples.
We walked out on the new pier that will unload passengers as they travel to and from nearby
The maritime museum shows how long the Chinese have been exploring by sea. It also admits how quickly a country can go up and down in power and prestige. They are proud of their introduction of the container ship.
We sat outside, under cover and whirring fans, enjoying an iced cappuccino. There is no hurry in any of the restaurants here. Service is great, but then, it is quite something to get the check. It is sub-tropical and there is laid-back efficiency. You can stay as long as you want with no sense that anyone wants you to move on. As a matter of fact, it seems they want you to stay. They are gracious hosts.
It is hot and humid though and I don’t think I have ever sat so dripping wet without having emerged from shower, ocean, lake, bay or pool. October will bring the sunny, cooler weather. We are still influenced by monsoon.
We walked down to another exquisite temple overlooking the sea. It isn’t even mentioned in the guidebooks and yet is my favorite of all. It is built right along the hillside and over the rocks. I love this one.
We climbed down on the rocks for the sunset which since we are on the opposite side of the island now sets to the right rather than the left when looking out to sea. Steve stretched out on one long rock with a ledge for his feet and took a nap. I sat and watched the tide come in and from this viewpoint could imagine myself back in the 1800’s. There was one man with us, a fisherman. It was perfectly romantic, and quiet, with just a soft slosh of incoming waves. Then, there was the eruption of a cell phone. Yep! The fisherman answered his call.
We met Yvonne and Tony for dinner in a lovely Thai restaurant overlooking the harbor and on to the sea. Yvonne loves
Dinner was a lovely indulgence, almost six hours of food, wine, and conversation, and that is why today begins slowly and I am not up at 4:30 and Steve is suggesting a slow, easy day. The heat and humidity are tough. I’ve been out in it more in my explorations, but Steve wilts, so we are looking at an indoor sort of day. There are wonderful hiking trails on
We have been here a week, arrived last Saturday, and we will leave next Saturday. I am starting to feel like a native, and to more fully understand what is here and how to move like silk through Asian waves.
There is a review in the International Herald Times of James L. Kugel’s book How to Read the Bible, A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now, that sounds intriguing. I’m going to see if I can find it here. We perused a book store yesterday in
So, that is the current news on a lazy, gray Saturday in
Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolence is the weapon of the strong.
It is easy to see where that places Bush.