Mother’s Day Motorbike

Today in March of 2017 is the first time I rode a motorcycle since I crashed one real good in April of 2016.

Funny how there is no life or death or bliss or pain that can measure the pleasure found on the back of a motorbike. Funny.

My mother’s birthday 20 days before her death day, two weeks after my brother’s suicide left us all in dark dismay. I’ll never leave you broken that way, never leave you unless you want it that way.

Ten grand and I can make you understand and we’ll ride until there’s nothing left of land.



– visiting dead uncles still attached by technology, distancing yet listening, detached from my mom’s oncology –

This unruly universe has a razor on which its decisions are made. Sometimes it chooses a sudden, delicate yet brash conception that wails into this world hungry, wet and magnificent, other times it’s a quick and brutal plucking of our family from our unwitting grips, leaving us humble, dizzy and vengeful.

We succeed. We own. We lose. We teach. We work. We enjoy. We die. 

There is no reasoning with a razor, only the awareness that such an edge exists. Like a horse not quite broken or a lover not yet trusted, its natural action is one that somehow always makes sense regardless of its seeming indifference. 

Favorite Letter to Date

Dear Minh,

Now, I’m all set to go. I have ten days to pack a small bag. I’m planning to leave the Chinese painting on glass that I got from you. It’s too much trouble to lug around. I’ll find a good home for it so that I can visit it once in a while. I already left my vase in Jinan ten years ago, and I don’t know what happened to my other possession, an Olympus film camera. So, when I get home I’ll be down to you and Roo, if that’s all right with you and Roo.

I’m going to miss China, but I can console myself with plans for returning someday. At the same time I’m getting quite happy thinking about seeing you and doing a bunch of things worth doing in Oregon, like breathing clean air! I’m planning to become great buddies with Roo, taking her to the park when you’re at work.

These are the things I hope to do:

Writing one hundred Chinese characters every morning.

Doing some kind of service such as your reading to and befriending hospital patients.

Learning something on an ongoing basis, such as Vietnamese cooking or bonsai cultivation.

Exercising in a gym or pool regularly. Participating in sweats at a sweat lodge or a sauna.

Learning how to juice fruits and vegetables and cleanse the body.

Visiting “family” and Frederico and Scott regularly on a weekly basis, which will take months to do.

Writing regularly.

Practice yoga and bliss, and finding an educational t.v. station or dvd or website to practice & improve my yoga.

Helping turn Roo into an assured and serene pooch.

Playing in a T-ball league with seniors or little kids.

Love, Dad

You Call THIS the Longest Day of the Year?

First day of summer this year came numb and quiet like how I escape a room and when no one interesting is around.

This life is so weird. So quick to change and turn on you, unpredictable and unprecedented, nature will devour you or embrace you, if you’re lucky you’ll feel a little of both.

I once told a woman that I felt better being alone because that was the only way I knew how to be. Comfortably. Then I realized by watching my father’s nobility towards my mother and saw that despite relationships not being clearly defined by how society measures success, a union of love will always be that. Love. Alone or not.

My best friend as I was growing up had parents that gave kids refuge both in their home and in their hearts, it was an unconditional respite from whatever was troubling us back then. As I was forging my adolescence through the darkness of sickness and death, I found myself under the wing of my friend’s father and his influence and wisdom brought me from the edge of certain indelible mistakes that has plagued many a boy far better than I. He overwhelmingly helped make me the somewhat charming and fun guy before you today.

First day of this particular summer is the day marked for fathers. All that I’ve learned from the men that love me gives me an absolute and beautiful power that seems to grow with every day, every decision and every relationship.

The love in being alone or with someone is love I’ve learned from mothers and fathers. But today, the first day of summer is the first day of something I’ve been practicing for forever.

Chinese Diary: Arrival

Beijing in January is frigid in the morning, cold in the afternoon, and crisp by evening. The sky is soft and fuzzy, thick with food smoke and car exhaust while the air is only clear when it’s up close. Looking down the block sometimes is like peering into a tunnel whose end is filled with cotton candy.

Arriving at the airport I notice the sheer number of people. China. Magnificent. Huge. Beautiful. It’s frenetic, crowded and seemingly chaotic but upon closer observation the order and efficiency of the people is definitely apparent. It’s a furious orchestra of thousands of humans all trying to get somewhere simultaneously and having it go off relatively without a hitch. Everyone communicates through body language and the organic, unspoken code of “this is how we flow through the crowd”.

My first thought was that when the girlfriend arrives alone in 2 weeks her head may just explode with the vast contrast between PDX and any other airport, train station or bus depot in China.

Stepping out of the airport I see my father. Smiling, beautiful, old. Adventurous and relentless, his desire for exploration is where I get much of my restlessness and recklessness. This is going to be a great month.