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2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
Don’t go

He sat in the driver’s seat of his truck, getting ready to take his leave. “Don’t go,” I told him through the little space above his window as I stood in the rain. He didn’t think anyone had ever said that to him before. I said it again, then wrote it in the condensation on the window, wrote it backwards so he could read it clearly from the other side of the window. He marveled at that, tried writing backwards himself, but it didn’t come naturally to him, I guess.
Conversation with Grace
Tell me what you want, Grace.
You want me to make stuff? Okay, I can do that. There’s a poem I wrote a few years back and completely forgot, and it’s not half bad. I could work on that. I added to two of my three little paintings yesterday morning, just a little to the red and purple and now Prussian blue one, and a whole snowstorm, maybe even a blizzard, to the Sampler. The strange pinky-Caucasian fleshy and spring green one was still wet so I didn’t do anything to it, but I am thinking about yellow. Okay, Grace. I get it. I’m on it.

2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Shivering in Siem Reap
There may be a mosquito in the room, though I couldn’t find it last night when I went looking. I slept with the fan on to keep the possible mosquito at a distance, and it was chilly, so I wore my flannel pajamas. This is Cambodia, for goodness’ sake, why did I even think of bringing flannel pajamas here? Not that I’m complaining.

2010 Hampi, India
Highlights of yesterday, in no particular order: The wishing tree, where my little rocky wish dangles in good company, waiting to fall and come true. The Sarasvati Temple by the river. (I don’t think I have seen a Sarasvati Temple before. I am her devotee, our guide assured me, since all this requires is true love.) Two groups of linga side-by-side, one of 108 and the other of 1001. Marks showing where rocks had been broken on purpose, and a rock with two sets of man-made cracks, the three resulting pieces still standing together. Imagining my new friend living in the Lotus Mahal. My picture taken between the wheels of the stone chariot.
Not exactly a highlight, but I suppose it could have been worse: We were paddled across the river long after the ferry stopped running in a round basket-like boat called a coracle, by two boys I should have been nicer to but I was still reeling from an interaction with His Highness the Coracle Master, the first drunk Indian I've had the displeasure of needing something from. Drunken behavior, I regret to report, seems to be the same across cultures.

2009 Krakow, Poland
I’ve been working on my assignment to write a story based on a list of 220 words, known as the Dolch sight words. We are allowed three nouns in addition to these 220 words, as the list is lean in this department. Although it is not a requirement that we use all 220 words, that was at first my personal goal, though I have since chosen to include only 219, with the same attitude as those craftspeople who make a single intentional mistake. I am challenging myself further by using a lot of dialogue, but I am taking it easy in my choice of subject matter:

Once Upon a Homicide
(3 nouns: homicide, detectives, murderer)

“No, no, no!”
A laugh, a fall, then it is all over.

What have the detectives found? At first, they don’t know much. They look, draw, wash, pull, carry, clean. Then they drink.

“About your homicide?”
“Don’t think about that now.”
“This is from out of the blue. If only we…”
“One, two, three…”
“All right.”

“Stop, stop, stop!”
A pick, a hurt, then it is all over, again.

“Down there.”
“Under here?”
“How many of them? Want some light?”
“He ate its…he must have…I am going to be ill.”

“Tell us where you were.” The detectives are both old. In brown. Too round. Not fast.
“I just don’t know.” She is very pretty, small. In red and yellow.
“Would you like a drink?”
“I want to make a call.”
They can not hold her.

“Help, help, help!”
A saw, a cut, then it is all over, once again.

“Yes, but…”
“A fly…kind of black and…green.”
“Come on, let me.”
“No, thank you. I have to work.”

After, they sit together in their ride. Once it was clean and white hot. It made them jump. Now they want to buy a new one.

“As long as I am an old…”
“I wish I had read a little. I never did. I write funny.”
“I always gave more than I got.”
“Because you never got any.”
“What goes around…”
“Good, better, best, never let it…”
“Grow up.”
“Eat my…”
“You are full of it.”

“Go away! Go away! Go away!”
“Why do you ask?”
“What have you done?”
“Sleep well.”

“Out there.”
“Up that wall?”
“Just try. Use this.”
“I could do it by myself.”
“Open those.”
“I see. Four…five…six.”
“One of our own.”
“Is this murderer going to off every one of us?”

“The murderer went far away. When are you going to find him? He came to play, he said. I ran. He could not keep up with me.” It is all she can say.
The detectives start:
“Who is he?”
“Has he been around here long?”
“Is he on the run?”
“Are these his, too?”
“Show us which.”
She is cold. “Please, may I…?”

Before long, they bring him in. He is big, but he is going to sing. Today. They know.
“Seven or eight…ten in all.”

“Get him out of here.”
“Take him over there.”
“Put him into that.”
“Give him what for.”

Does the murderer think that he is going to live?

2008 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
Getting ready
Three more days and a whole new life begins in Poland, though lately it seems like a whole new life every day, wherever I am.

2007 Granada, Nicaragua
Move on
I kept telling him things like, “‘It’s difficult’ means ‘It’s possible,’” and “If we have problems, it means we have a future.” Now all the conversations I’m having with him are in my head, and they are filled with regret. He doesn’t have any regret, he pointed out, but then he was calling the shots. Worst case scenario, I kept telling myself way back when, nineteen more countries. Move on. Get a clue.

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