nnn .

4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
He wondered if reading might have the same salubrious effect on the mind as meditation, with which I gently disagreed. Reading doesn’t teach us how to control our minds. Reading can become an obsession, while I have never heard of that happening with meditation. I have never heard of that happening with creative work, either. Meditation or creative work, in fact, strike me as candidates for The Opposite of Obsession.
Magical thinking
He picked up my rain stick and turned it over as he was leaving. I told him he was in trouble for sure, better put his windshield wipers on the deluge setting. I also promised him I would put in for some good weather to counteract his inadvertent conjuring of torrential rain.
“That’s magical thinking,” he said.
“Maybe so,” I concurred, “but maybe magical thinking came about because there is some evidence it’s effective.”
It can’t be counted on, of course, but what can?
Conversation with a device
“Will you marry me?” a man asked his iPhone.
“I really don’t know you that well,” the iPhone is reported to have replied.

2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Notes from underground
In one of my dreams last night, David seemed to be playfully sneaking about, but I couldn’t get his attention. I was as thrilled to see him in the dream as I would be if reality held that possibility, yet saddened that we couldn’t interact. But he looked great, and overall, it was a cheerful dream. It also provoked the strangest thought: Could the world he’s in and the one I’m in – in my dreams, at least – share a border? Might we both have been close to that border last night?
My throat is scratchy this morning, and I ache a bit. I have a cough that comes and goes and a slight headache. It would certainly be prudent to spend today at home, relaxing. The other option would be to go with my new Canadian ESL teacher friends to visit Beng Melea and Kampong Pruk. I’d really like to go. I can take a cold tablet. Please Mom! Okay, I’m going to look up Kampong Pruk. “An otherworldly place built on soaring stilts.” That does it. It’s at the gateway to the floating forest. I’m going. You can’t stop me.
Adventure alternative
Another idea is Three Days of Linga, now that I have realized that two days and a year ago I was exploring Hampi’s linga carved in riverbeds, and yesterday I was moved for the second time by Kbal Spean’s linga – and yoni – blessing the water. Maybe today we can go to the Linga Bar.
I got to speak a bit of Khmer yesterday. Khmer people love it that I have a Khmer given name – given in both senses of the word, as it was presented to me by my companions on a trip to Preah Vihear Temple – and I have just added a Khmer surname. Kbal Spean, I discovered, means “bridgehead.” So I am Spean Neary. Well, sort of. When I told our driver this, he corrected my pronunciation.

2010 Hampi, India
Yesterday a sad but magnificent temple, older than most in these parts, grass growing out of its eroded tower crowded with figures telling stories of their faith. It's the last remaining evidence of the quarter that suffered the most severe destruction in these parts. Hampi had a very short life as a city, but will live a long while as a beautiful ruin.
The sound of hammer on chisel on rock that echoed through this neighborhood two days ago, was probably similar to the sound heard when this ruin was under construction.

2009 Krakow, Poland
Notes from underground
I realized as I hovered between sleep and waking that, for at least the last week, there has been a class here in Krakow I’m preparing to teach way in the back of my mind. It occurred to me I haven’t been taking attendance for this class, and I wondered if I am supposed to. I didn’t know in which school this class was held, and I couldn’t bring any of the students or details of the subject matter to mind. Then it slowly began to dawn on me that I have no recollection of ever teaching here in Krakow, neither in my waking nor in my dreams. Where is this class? In some interstice in between?

2008 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
Right now
Today is St. Ildefonso’s Day, with a reenactment of the slaughter of buffalo among the incompletely converted natives, I learn from my book of holidays around the world. In my poem-a-day book is one of my very favorites: Peter Robinson’s glorious poem “23 January 1980,” which begins, “My apology condenses on the window,” and ends, “I’m not asked to explain, only to say no more.”

2005 Parkrosk, Portland, Oregon, United States
I wasn’t listening last evening. I wasn’t the only one not listening, but that doesn’t excuse it. I pigeonholed his perspective on the movie we watched as the usual: Icky forces are controlling us and there’s nothing we can do about it because we are all basically icky. Maybe it was an accurate pigeonholing and maybe it wasn’t, but if I’m pigeonholing, I’m not listening, and if I’m not listening, I oughtn’t be interacting.
It does seem to me that he isn’t comfortable with differences of opinion. He often makes little comments about my disagreeing with him, as if it’s some willful attempt to wreck his equanimity, as opposed to the peaceful expression of the way I see things. As for me, I expect disagreement, but I’m going to pay some serious attention in the near future to how I go about expressing it.
So while I may understand my frustration, I don’t like my behavior and I need to apologize for it.

1992 Bandon, Oregon, United States

Afterward (poem)

when I heard his tread
on the stairs, I reached
out expecting
coffee, but he put
a plum twig in my outstretched
hands instead. Two blossoms
have already opened.
If we place the little branch
in water right away,
he says, the rest will open too.
Today is January twenty-third.
Tomorrow’s miracle
might well be snow.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012-2013