Sunday, January 18, 2015

Inner Landscape I

(Writing exercise with theme of Inner Landscape. Written on January 15, 2015)

Motion sunrise
Light streaking by
Bare trees grey bark ochre leaves
Grey clouds blue trying to break through
Words sounds like crow's caw
Sounds noise construction
Annoyance anger trigger
Moments moments stillness
Smoke still air wafting
Smells aroma scents
Taste on tongue bitter sweet where's salt?
Speaking pictures thoughts in words fluid
Water emotions flowing but unchanging
Around stones around people
Past anger now anger still
Still the same roots
Roots deep where is shovel
Give us axes
My sword taken away
I have quills sharper than knives
Ink ink colors sienna
Ochre the earth blood Crimson
Where's parchment the canvas
Where's the water for words
Sailing on to places not here
Not here where I'd rather be
Not this family where I'd rather be
Not this culture
Pass me the flint and steel
Words are tinder
The fires will come
A fire horse descends
A sun on its hooves
To scorch to incinerate
Ashes ashes then feathers come
Not returning to this place
This is no longer my bay city
Distant shores faraway sands await

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


It is so late and this heart so weary
Blood ties mean nothing
I live on feathers, on wings
I would rather drown as an albatross

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Morning with Theptun Tulku Rinpoche

I had the honor and pleasure of spending the good part of the morning Sunday with a small group of Buddhist practitioners in the presence of Thupten Tulku Rinpoche for a short talk and discussion. I have been around a number of Buddhist leaders of a couple different schools. This time was the first with a Tibetan master and for the first time, I was touched and felt a connection like nothing I had ever experienced.

I don't consider myself a practicing Buddhist and I had no idea what to expect yet his view and lines of thinking made more sense in bringing together a lot of concepts and ideas that reached the core of me. It was strange, very strange, in a good way. I could not have imagined that during his chanting that tears starting flowing and I could tell that they were neither good or bad. It was just being touched.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 1975

It is the dead who keep
Whispering into our hearts,
Paint visions into our souls.

They know it's their time.
Their time to finally rest,
Leaving the living to struggle on

With the memories of all that
We cannot rightly place to rest.

— Son Dao

(Tomorrow, April 30 will mark 39 years since me and my extended family fled Saigon at the end of the Vietnam-American war).

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Poem for Chino

This Side

There is light. We neither see nor touch it.
In its empty clarities rests
what we touch and see.
I see with my fingertips
what my eyes touch:
                                 shadows, the world.
With shadows I draw worlds,
I scatter worlds with shadows.
I hear light on the other side.

— Octavio Paz

Monday, October 21, 2013

47 Years

(for Tata Chau)

It's been 47 years yet it is yesterday 
For her. A rose in bloom crushed. 
What is left, a stalk of thorny memories. 
She mourns her brother, still. 

I trace remnants of his presence.
A father departed before I arrived
as the quill scratches wandering thoughts 
(as he might have) 
in scattered strokes in each of my sketches.

October 21, 2013

Friday, July 05, 2013