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    I want a place with real shutters. I want a house with a wrap around porch and stairs leading up to the welcoming door of our home. I want a wide yard of lush green grass bordered with the brilliancy of crape myrtles. I want to watch the sun fade into the horizon, lining the clouds in gold and painting the sky in shades of pink, a symphony of colors all from the porch swing. I want chickens and goats, and rows and rows of vegetables. I want a roaring fireplace in the winter, where we can sit and warm up our hands from the bitter cold.

     I want toys littered everywhere, and children running up and down the hallways. I want a tree in the backyard, with great deep roots, with a tire swing hanging from one of it's thick branches. I want my ashes to be buried there upon my death, a place of mourning and remembrance for my family within their own backyard.

     I want a world away from the world. I want to live daily by the work of my hands, harvesting fruit from trees, watering the garden, and picking up eggs from the chickens. I want to do laundry and dishes, and vacuum cookie crumbs trailing from the kitchen floor. I want to hear the laughter of children and wipe the tears of children. I want to clean off the smears of their sticky handprints from the walls.

     But most of all, I want to be near God. I want to glorify Him in everything thing I do. Being a homemaker, and producing our needs from the very land He created. I want to teach my children and raise them close to me. I want to hear His voice in the silence of breaking dawn and in the noise of little ones wrecking havoc. I want to walk hand in hand with Him as I guide the hands of my little ones. I want to be close to Him, in every way, in every place. To never leave Him, Him to never leave me. 

     There's a beauty in all of this. Simplicity. Contentment. Most of all love. But is it even possible? To tear away from the news, to leave behind facebook and the internet. To forget the world's desires, and hold onto the Lord's. To no longer lust after things that'll sooner rust and fade and rip… but to chase the one thing that is everlasting.

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Three days go by and he still doesn't understand what I say when I flicker the bottom of my tongue and tell him this is youth.


The cheapest beer we could find, crushed into origami figurines displayed haphazardly around the field grounds the way your grandmother's collection of flea market elephant miniatures was as a child. Passing around glassware blown more intricate than the spindling lanky fingers of Meema's small hands.The millimeter by millimeter squares adorning every rapunzel haired, breast bared woodnymph's tongue. Whiskey breath and shy smiles too close for talking. Men crowded around fires like gazelle at the watering hole. There are always too many damn gators in the bayou, we're all so hungry for a taste of blood in the water. 


Flick Flick
He still hasn't called on the fourth day.


Trance rhythms and techno beats pump through the trees. Another few hits pass from finger to finger, and we barely brush thumbprints but already I could confess guilty at the stand. Punishable by proof of intent, you and I haven't got good intentions. Just the mood of the moon vying with the bonfire for shine. The way your eyes smolder like the coals but still flicker with the flames. I see my reflection spinning around their glare like a pow wow dancer. Fry bread indulgences allowed only on these special occasions. That is to say, when he is out of sight and I am out of my own mind. For a moment I can fly and my first thought it "away". Swishing hips side to side with the possibility of you. The newness of you and the dewy grass against my back, so far away from home and his worn in sneakers by the side door. Toto, we're not in kansas anymore.


Does he know yet that I'll never let him build a white picket fence? He stays over five nights a week these days. I miss waking up in an empty strangers bed more than I ever wished for a full one of my own. 


Last time around, it was back seats of yellow taxi cabs and clammy hands just like my father's. Call it a pattern but the concept of making a home out of the other sex never did seem weather proof. The storm clouds set in and God plays the thunder so loud I go running back to mama every time. Even after all these years. You've got those deep belly laughs and pouting eyes I could never resist or live without. Consider it a supplement. Vitamin XY, root of danger, and adventure elixir. I was never very faithful to a well balanced diet. 

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Brass keys and Cages.

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It was a night where I was hot and hungry and especially haunted, and especially hollow, and I was stripped to my bare breasts and legs and arms and still I was too hot, and I went down the dark stairs to the kitchen and picked up a soft peach and ate it, and the juice dripped extravagantly down my chest and the skin was lush and furry and the fruit was perfectly ripened and I was suddenly sure it was summer, and the sun was asleep but the summer moon is so underrated. I went outside with my peach until it was down to a pulpy pit and I could throw it in the street and find it in the morning. I noticed how unfurnished the night seemed, how without the decorative throw of stars and with only the simple bare moon to illuminate the sky the night seemed so much younger, a girl without makeup. I noticed how the street, frying in the daylight, was calm and cold in the dark, concrete knowing no season, concrete knowing only heat or absence thereof. And I could choose to be like concrete, to live in the exact precisely cut moment I was given at that exact point in time, to absorb heat like a slab of black stone, to still be okay without any. And I could choose most anything, I could choose to walk and walk down the suburban streets until I reached the next town over, and the town after, and the state after. I could choose to rot here, by the park, and the mall, and the same corners with the same signs. I could choose to forget about the fear that I would get lost or rot or both simultaneously, or one after the other. I could choose to want the hallowed hollow promises of religion, or the gluttony of consumerism, or the striking discoveries of solitude. I could choose anything and that is when I decided I was queen and no one could tell me otherwise, and I was the queen of this American wild, this American wasteland of teenagers and schools and parents and cars and malls and wide paved roads, the one existing in my mind and in my eyes, and maybe I was the only one, maybe I was making this all up inside my head, maybe we are all made up inside God’s head and each other’s heads and all we have is what they give us but they gave us the knowledge that we are in control. So we have real knowledge with no lever and no accelerator and so we are stuck, flailing in the prison of our potential, nowhere to go, not up nor down, but forward, but we can’t because our feet are so thickly coated in the past mud and mistakes and so we flail. We drown. I am in control, I am me, no one else, breathe. 

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Some call it progress, I am not so sure

Out of the blue, I was thinking about a topic long forgotten. It could have been the fact that I was looking for some material for Transylvania, or... I don't know what, however I remember a little trip I took in 1969 with my father and his filming crew to a place on the Danube that does not exist any longer.

It was called Ada Kaleh, a small island in the middle of the river.

Danube starts as a small spring in the Black Forrest mountains in Germany heading East towards the Black Sea, turning from an innocent stream of water that one can block with his hands into the second European river in length and quantity of water it carries towards the sea. It goes through a few countries, collecting on its way a lot of little streams and crossing several mountain ranges carving at times indescribable gorges which should only be seen with your own eyes, any description in words rendering them injustice.

If in Germany it crossed the mountains, as it does in most of the Austria, at Vienna the Danube turns lazy, so lazy that inspired a lot of Viennese unforgettable music. Unfortunately we only know about Strauss, but there were plenty of other less famous composers who dedicated their talents to the Danube, the river which gave Vienna part of its fame.

Going through Hungary, the Danube is still a slow-moving river crossing a totally flat plain. Being bored of so much flat land, it decided to make a drastic swing turning to the South before finding its way East again. On the way it unites the two cities Buda and Pest creating the jewel called Budapest..

Than getting out of Hungary it separates, Romania from former Yugoslavia, today Serbia, than Romania from Bulgaria for a few hundred miles turning again North and finally East again going towards the sea joining it through a nice delta formed among three branches of the river.

However, the segment that I want to talk about is between Romania and Serbia where the Danube narrows down cutting through some old chains of mountains forming a set of rapids and breath-taking views. At that particular point, where the narrowing starts there was a little natural island which since the Roman times change owners several times.

Today the island is only a memory and for most of the readers of this pages even if they were in Romania the island is just a little point on the map they learned in the Geography and History classes. In 1970 the island, after some of the most important historical vestiges were moved to a different place, was blown up to clear the area for a huge artificial lake made up by a hydroelectric dam built on the Danube between Romania and Yugoslavia...

I guess that after all the economic gains from that power dam overshadowed the benefit of that little piece of living history with its subculture and a few hundred inhabitants who traced their origins before the 1600... The dam also covered the rapids by raising the water level, making that part of the Danube navigable for big ships improving the commercial traffic.

The reason for which I wanted to talk about that place is that my father and his crew was probably the last team to shoot a documentary on the island before the Military used it as a practice range, until everything standing was blown up and leveled off.

I was lucky enough to be part of the team, and although I was mainly an observer. I was about seventeen, deeply in love with a girl who had the common sense not to be in love with me.The trip created a distraction in my sorrow.

I don't really know whatever happened with that movie. It was shot for the television company, my father worked for them at the time, but even if it were still around, I am sorry to say that it was shot in black and white and a lot of the natural beauty was lost.

Cameramen don't really get the credit deserved. People see the actors, they see the commentators but no one thinks about the contribution of the person holding the camera and pressing the button when the events are happening.

The was Ada Kaleh. The name itself was of Turkish origins. Although the first people to take control of it were the Romans, when the Ottoman Empire reached the Danube they took over, and even if the ownership shifted from one neighboring nation to the other, the Turkish population which was brought there stayed until the time of the evacuation a few centuries later. The interesting part is that actually no matter in what language the name was pronounced, it kept its Turkish phonetics.

In its later history the place was more of a touristic place than a real political or strategic location. The island itself was about a mile long and anywhere from a quarter to half a mile wide. The Romans built a network of tunnels, or catacombs, the Ottomans built a fort and the inhabitants built houses, which for us Romanians were totally strange-looking, having the layout of Muslim architecture. Everyone was speaking Romanian which was the official language, the island being under Romanian jurisdiction, but everyone also spoke Turkish, most of the inhabitants having dual citizenship.

The shores to the North of the Danube on the Romanian side for about half a mile inland had a very mild climate for Romania resembling a harsh Mediterranean one. The island itself during the Summers resembled more Mediterranean rather than the Continental as the rest of Romania.

It was the place where I saw for the first time in my life live Mediterranean pines living in dirt not in pots, and fresh fig trees. Actually it was the first time when I realized that figs are not those little doughnut shaped fruits, smoked. They looked more like little pears, they were very moist and very sweet. Everyone had a few trees in their yards.

The houses enclosed by fences covered the view for the outsiders. Once the gate was opened, the yard itself was part of the main house building to the extend that the main path to the entrance of the house was covered with carpets. One would take off the shoes at the gate, as if one entered a mosque. Every yard had a little fountain for the visitor or the dweller to clean his hands, face or feet if needed. Actually the locals were using it as a ritual wash, as they would when entering the mosque.

The buildings were very close to each other due to the scarcity of space, however every single house was totally independent, and although one could hear the conversation in the neighbor space, no one was bothered or eavesdropped.

Our presence on the island was a special occasion and everyone was offering help, maybe because we had cameras and sound equipment growing on us...

The traffic of visitors was high, every one wanted to come before the end and have a last look. The commerce was thriving.

The place with the most important visibility was the Post Office. The Post Master a woman, who did not really inspired a Post Master look was in very high demand. She showed us an impressive number of envelopes. Most of the people coming on the island were buying an envelope addressing it with the sender being the Post Office, a regular first class stamp, to be dated on the last day before the Post Office would be closed.

For stamp collectors, that was gong to be worth a lot of money. Well sort of. I collect stamps, however I collect only new mint condition oes ones in mint condition. For me a stamp from an envelope unless it is really, really rare does not present high interest. Besides the number of envelopes she had there, they were a few big boxes the size of a big garbage can, and we were almost half a year away from the event, was an sign that the value will increase long after my time... Usually the value of a stamp is given by its age, condition and the availability on the market. The printing on the stamp was not special, they did not print stamps with the island... She, the Post Master was totally convinced that I was strange for not getting a couple for her to mail to me the last day. Actually she was cheating a little bit. She new the official day of the closing and she set the date stamp with the last day, stamping them right the way. Her reasoning was valid, if she waited to do it on the last day, she probably would have needed a few months to go through all of them. However they were going to be mailed with the last mail transport of the island.

They were still selling cigarettes. The manufacturer was shut down, however there were left over. It was not shut down because of the environment or heath concerns but the owners had left. Whatever they were producing mostly for tourist consumption was hand-made. They had rolling machines, but they were small capacity and manual.

The electricity was generated locally was not brought in from the shore. It was difficult to bring it over the water, so most of the industry was manual. The generator worked only after dark. It may sound corny these days, but they did not really have TVs. The TV was analogue and the natural conditions were not proper to build towers to relay the signal. They could get radio stations mostly on short weaves, them guys don't care too much about mountains, water or valley, but then again it was not such a priority.

It was a Paradise for Turkish Delight lovers. If any of the readers wants to find out what it is, you may goggle it. You may even go to a supermarket in the ethnic area and they might have it. Or if you really, really want to find it, you may go the Parthenon Food Store on-line, it is in Milwaukee and you will see pictures of it. They will even be happy to send you an order. It is very well priced too.

Now, no matter how you get it though, what you get is nothing compared to the one at Ada Kaleh. The Turkish delight is basically some kind of a preserve specially prepared. When it cools down it looks like jello more than preserve, but it has the consistency of preserve. Some of it has nothing in it, the best one has any variety of nuts, and the super has pistachio...

The one on Ada Kaleh though was rolled and they sold it to you by length. If you wanted it flat they will sell it to you in a box. Now, if you were really smart and a free loader, you could have asked to have some on the spot directly from the pot while it was cooling off. They would not charge you for that. Of course they would not advertize the trick either but if you knew it, you could have as much as you wanted. The truth was that you could not have too much, it was too sweet...

But the experience was great.

They were also selling saragli rolls. The Greeks call them Baklava. Actually the Greek version is not rolled but flat. A good saragli has a lot of walnuts in it and is drown into honey. If it is fresh, the way that I always had it at home, it was very moist. If you order it may be a little dry and the honey looks like a thick glue before you taste it, but it is good.

Of course those were the times when I could eat sugar. Maybe I had too many of those and now I pay the price in diabetes. But you know what, the Turkish Delight, the saragli the fresh figs, in hind side are worth the price...

Nothing was complete at Ada Kaleh though without a Turkish coffee. Please, please everyone, if you go to a Greek store, don't ever ask for a Turkish coffee just ask for a Greek coffee. You may find yourself in the middle of a territorial war and it may turn very ugly... Greeks are proud people and they think that they hold the name of that method of brewing the coffee but they are not...

At Ada Kaleh they did it the right way. First of all it has to be brewed in individuals “ibrik”, (coffee pot you may goggle to see one) and the best way to brew it is on a fire filtered by sand. Usually they use a tray filled up with fine sand and place it on a fire. The fire under it heats up the sand which in turn distributes the heat evenly around the ibrik. In order to prepare the coffee one needs one spoon full of coffee in the ibrik filled up with water. First the water than the coffee. It is placed in the hot sand and in a few minute it will boil. When is getting to the boiling point, the water level grows and if the ibrik is not removed at that point, it will boil over wasting the coffee. What a skilful preparer would do, would remove the ibrik, stir the water a couple of times, and the coffee would mix into a nice foam people call cream. At that point the water retracts, and the ibrik should be put in the sand again until the next boil point a few seconds later. This time that ibrik is removed from the sand, the content poured in the coup. No more stirring. The coffee has to settle for a few minutes and than one can drink from it. It is extremely hot. The excessive heat comes from the coffee grains which are floating in the water.

If one wants to spoil the real taste, would add a little cream, which will give it a special, divine flavor, but takes away the authenticity of a Turkish coffee.

Never stir the coffee again, and never drink it bottoms up as we drink our filtered or instant coffee. The grounds are left to the bottom of the coup in a muddy look and they are mud actually. Now if you grow up with it or you develop a taste for it is delicious. Some may turn the cup upside down, the mud will fall on the wall of the cup, leaving intricate designs which will be interpreted by the “specialists” into events from your personal future a process similar to reading tea leaves...

What I forgot to mention is that if one likes sugar, the sugar should be put in with the water to boil. Boiling facilitates the dissolving in the water, and avoids the disturbing of the mud once it settled down...

I described the process on two pages, however it does not take more than three or four minutes to prepare one cup.

We did the filming for three days, going into houses, into the catacombs, talking to people. At night we would return on the main land and be back in the morning. The last day we climbed in the minaret of the mosque and we took some shots of the whole island. The view was breath-taking. The minaret was not too high, everything was kind of small size on that island, but I have fear of heights. I could not resist getting up there. I would have not had any problem, however they were taking the building to pieces to move it to the new location and they removed the interior stairs. Everything left were scaffolds, and boy were they challenging for me when shaking. Actually Sabin, the camera man bribed me. He said that if I get up he would let me take the shots, and he would make my father use it in the movie. I was scared out of my brains, but having the Arriflex to myself, setting the angle and following the directions of the director, my father, was worth wetting the pants. The camera was set on a tripod, and I was not supposed to do too much, but it was an Arriflex, one does not turn down such a possibility... Arriflex what a dream at that time. I would still want to have one just to touch it, smell it and look at it. I would not shoot anything with it, who is using film today? Besides the regular magazine holds only two minutes of film. If it has an extended case you can load up to ten minutes. But you need a crane to move it...

The big majority of the inhabitants left. Some were offered a place on an island a few miles down the road which was supposed to be a copy of what was going to be removed. That one was smaller in size, and was not in a micro climate as this one was, but in time it could have been arranged like the real thing.... Some of the people moved to Turkey, some moved on the new island some moved close to the Black Sea in the region of Romania known as Dubruja, also known as Dobruca in Turkish, where there is a sizable Turkish population with their roots from many centuries ago.

The day we left, late during the day, the sun was setting and the shadows of the Mediterranean pines and the minaret of the mosque were projecting on the calm water disturbed only by the wakes of the ferry. It was a calm view, with a lot of nostalgia and a lot of sadness.

I know that progress demands a price to be paid, by why is it necessary to be so high at times? A few miles down the river from the dam, one can see today some ruins left over from the Romans. Those are the bridge heads from the man made bridge over the Danube built to cross the river and to establish their Empire North of the Danube. When it was built, it was a real technological miracle. One can see even today some parts of the original pillars showing their heads above the river. The secret of building the bridge over the Danube is still a mystery. It is difficult to cross rivers with today technology and we are doing it commonly, yet we only make suppositions on how the Romans did it two millennia ago without the technology we have today.

Well two thousand years after the Romans built a bridge over the Danube we look at the ruins and we marvel how did they do it. Two thousand years from now, our descendants will look at the pictures of Ada Kaleh and will wonder why did we do it... I guess that there will not be any answers for any of the questions.

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To Pray

I. I am four bruises old and praying to the God I was told to believe in. I pray for sunshine, a swing set, and silence. By silence, I mean for the brokenness to stop ringing in my ears. By sunshine, I mean for another day just to know for sure I made it past this one. I’m tired of listening to the ringing in my ears, pretending it’s divine. I pray to make my way down the plastic slide without getting shocked, and for something stronger than a band-aid to heal me.


II. I am three sleepless nights tired and praying to a God I want to believe in. I pray for a kind word, a soft touch, a deep breath. I pray to be strong, but it takes so much more than muscle to win this fight. I pray for the strength to stand up and understand. I pray for a ring that won’t rust in the rain, and one I won’t find kept in my mother’s jewelry box but still echoing in her fingers.


III. I am two poems scrawled and praying to a God I can’t believe in. I pray for a word that will save me. For a bible verse to call my name. A holy ghost to blow me some breath. “God” knows there are plenty of ghosts around here, one of them must be holy. Sanctity is scarce. I pray for peace to let me sleep. The blind believe because they can feel. I close my eyes and hold out what’s left of my faith, but my fingers go numb. I hum songs I call psalms into my palms hoping they count.


IV. I am one scar away from breaking and my reflection says more than genuflection ever could. My fingers are callused from holding on too tight to a god whose grip was slack. I’ve seen Hell, so I know Heaven must be somewhere. I pray that I won’t have to pray. I whisper into my hands, two sweaty palms pressed together, shaking from the silence I’ve kept far too long. The words that escape my lips frost as they hit my lifelines. I pray to hold onto what I have left. I don’t want to be a pray-er anymore, I want to be the prayer.

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Song of the Silk Road

A string of caravans makes its way ponderously across the Karakum Desert. The weary thuds of the horses’ hooves fall in time with the sleepy nods of the riders. Even the warriors – the ones paid to protect the merchants – are affected by the scorching heat. They are heading to the nearby oasis, hoping to reach it before nightfall.

They will never reach their destination.

The bandit leader is on the top of the sand dune, knowing that the travellers will not look up. Even if they do, it’ll be too late.

He heads back and looks at his band. They are a motley crew, browned by the sun and hardened by their greed. On their necks lie gold chains, taken from previous victims. Clinking together, they weave a battle melody as the bandits prepare themselves. Tonight, more chains will join the song.

Horses thunder out from behind sand dunes. The warriors curse and scrabble for weapons. The merchants moan at their ill fortune. Their wives shrink into corners of their caravans.

The war-cries of the bandits and the pleas of their victims fill the air. But the desert falls silent once more as the sands take in their bloody meal.

The bandit leader strides from caravan to caravan, inspecting the goods. He pays no attention to the corpses sprawled around him. The loot is the only thing that matters.

Upon opening a caravan door, he is surprised when a young girl leaps out at him, brandishing a knife. Unskilled, she is disarmed quickly. The bandit leader surveys her.

The girl cannot be more than nine summers old. Her hands are soft yet her fingertips have calluses, the rewards of playing a string instrument. There is no fear or grief in her eyes, only hatred. The girl is strong.

He decides to keep her.

Slinging her over his shoulder, he does not notice the blows that fall on his back nor the shrill squeals of indignity that break the desert’s silence once more.


The bandit leader, along with the screaming girl and his band, soon reach the caves and haul the spoils inside. Even the girl is silenced – temporarily - by the amount of treasure that glitters inside the caves.

There are dates and nuts, taken from the merchants of Persia. Frankincense and myrrh lie on the right, snatched from the traders of Somalia. Logs of sandalwood are piled at the back, plundered from the foreigners of India. And there is the silk, the cause of all these opportunities for fortune. They shimmer in the dim light, beckoning and cooing. Men have lost their lives to obtain these bolts of fabric. The cache hidden in the depths of the dark cave sparkle and purr in harmony, whispering, “Come” and little are the men who can resist their charms.

The bandit leader strides to his quarters and puts the girl down. She ignores him and instead inspects her surroundings. In the corner, a liuqin sits. It is of good quality – obviously ripped from some travelling musician’s hands. The girl picks up the lute. Shifting her hands so that the pear-shaped instrument is balanced, the girl gingerly strikes a note. A pure sound echoes up and down the caves.

Slowly at first, then picking up the pace, the girl lets her fingers fly over the strings, plucking a mournful song – a tune for the dead people who have died today. 

The bandit leader listens to the melody with a slight pang in his heart. He has heard the song before and plays it often – he has lost companions too. The child is exceedingly good. He settles his chin on his hands and immerses himself in the heartbreaking harmony.


Every day, the girl plays a different tune for the bandit leader. Some are merry, others forlorn. Some are foreign to his ears, others remind him of his old life.

After she finishes, the bandit leader is subjected to her scrutiny. Every day, she sighs and turns away. When he asks why, she answers, “I wanted to see if you were ready to learn the Song of the Silk Road.”


Tonight, the bandit leader leans back against the wall of the cave and gestures for the girl to start.

Her hands in position, she starts to strum a well-known folk song. Her fingers pull and release with practiced ease and send the chords resonating through the caves. Her hands dance up and down the lute and so, too, does the melody. It sails out, a net of happiness, and catches the bandit leader unawares. Yet something pricks the back of his mind, pushing a long-forgotten memory forward. He is sure he knows the tune…

A village woman sits on a crudely fashioned bed, humming gently as she brushes her son’s hair. The boy’s eyes are half-closed, relishing the soft touch…

The boy is running, feet slapping the ground in a fast tempo. Into the fields he flies, stopping only when he sees a muscled man. His father turns and roars in delight. They pad off home, singing boisterously…

In the hut, the woman plays a liuqin, crooning in dulcet tones. The father joins in, a deep bass and their voices soar, twining around each other. The father gestures at his son and the boy lets his voice loose. The music spins around and around the hut, bouncing off the walls, surrounding the family, binding them together in the Song of Love...

It is a long time before the bandit leader realizes that the girl has stopped playing. He touches his face wonderingly and feels the wetness underneath his finger. He looks up at the girl. For the first time, she is smiling.


They sit on top of a sand dune. The bandit leader is puzzled as to why the girl insists that he must learn the Song of the Silk Road but tonight he has been reminded of a long-forgotten song and is feeling amicable.

“Close your eyes… listen...”

The girl is already positioned, eyes shut off from the world but with her mind and her ears wide open, ready to receive the Song of the Silk Road.

The bandit leader is cautious as to closing his eyes; it goes against his most primary instincts. But in the end, he forces himself to relax and listen.


He can hear nothing.

Sitting there, he wonders how long they have sat already. Surely it has only been minutes but it feels like several summers. He can feel his mind settling, as if about to enter a deep sleep.


The wind rustles through the sand.


The bandit leader hears.


The wind hums. The bird calls. The cat howls. The snake hisses.

Was this the Song of the Silk Road?


Shhing. Ahhhhhh!!!!! Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Splaaaa!!! AIEEEEE!!!!


The bandit leader hears, his ears open to the Song of the Silk Road. In his mind, the swords unsheathe. The victims cry. The blades slash. The blood spurts. The bandits roar.

The bandit leader wants to open his eyes, and close his ears. He can do neither. He cannot tear himself away from the bloody images because he knows that he has lived this before.

The music changes suddenly, a river diverted from its true course, flowing from melody to melody.

Come…Touch us…We can give you so much…Come…

The silk croon. The scents tempt. The wood whispers. The silk murmurs again.

Come… sing with us…

The bandit leader forgets the other melody of the Silk Road. He can only hear the silk singing. Treasure. Wealth. Power. The words boom in his head.


As if she can sense the shift in his mind, the girl suddenly brings out the liuqin and plays on it a simple, familiar tune. The bandit stiffens.

A woman hums. Two people warble. Three people sing.

The Song of Love… The Song of the Silk Road…

A woman hums. Shhaaaa. Come. Splaaaa!!! Three voices soar. Come.


The bandit leader’s eyes fly open. He is panting. Again, tears stain his cheeks. He buries his face in his hands. He has learned the Song of the Silk Road, or perhaps, he had learned the Song of the Silk Road long ago but had only just started understanding it. It is a tune so different from the Song of Love. Composed by greed and malice, its lyrics sing of blood and gore. Yet…


He stands up, not meeting the girl’s eyes. The girl does not say anything. There is nothing to say.

He cannot give up the Song of the Silk Road.


A string of caravans makes its way ponderously across the Karakum Desert. A girl no more than ten summers old runs out from behind a sand dune, a liuqin strapped to her back. The caravans stop. The girl boards.

On top of the sand dune, the bandit leader looks down, knowing that the travelers will not look up.


Copyrighted 2011

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Cinnamon and Vanilla.

I want to bite you, cut into your skin with my nails to see if your blood burns like mine, veins that hold lava and makes my bones writhe within. I am trapped, confined in a prison made of skin, a being of avarice and passion that melts into burgundy rivers and floods the valleys of my flesh. My body is set ablaze with brush strokes of capillaries that dance, sweat clinging like sweet morning dew to webs without spiders that glisten in daybreak. Our building orchestra of sighs and exclaims peak and crescendo at the last syllables, wrapping our mouths deliciously around names, savoring each sound like they tasted of cinnamon and vanilla – warm, soft with enough pungency to invoke gasps when lips were recaptured. You’d swear there was a bird, stuck inside of my chest when I am with you. It beats its wings so violently, trying to break free of its ivory cage and soar to the heights it craves. You are its liberator and jailer in one. Contradiction is the infliction it suffers, to lust for freedom and captivity together, the bitter sweet elixir I drink from your words. To consume and be consumed until there is nothing left but stories about a love that combusted with flames of a passion not understood. We are all that is bad but badness tastes so good in the arms of Love. Like sugar and spice and all things that dance in the darkness and beckons us in. We play in the dark because we are the obsidian butterflies that flirt with the forbidden, whispering confessions that bounce off our wings. I will be your penance for secrets shared but no appeasement for you. Not in this lifetime. Confide in me all your sins, please.. I’m listening.

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We leave those around us so why should we be surprised when they leave us too? We shed those around us like a snake, each skin an old friend or associate. We leave them, forsaken, dried up and forgotten midst the dew sodden grass as we progress with our lives not phased except for  a momentary shiver as they leave. Those once a part of us are gone an forgotten. Shed like a worthless skin. Replaced by a new skin that means no more.  

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Brittle bones.


It crumbles.

From ashes to ashes.