Poetry and Me

Poetry took hold of me when I was 8, stirring me with its magical blending of meaning and rhythm. I didn’t even know it was poetry, didn’t name it thus, didn’t get self-conscious about it despite my unrelenting shyness. It was but wordplay, the verbal face of my love of art and bare creativity. By Grade 3, I was busily …

Here Dwell Dragons

HERE DWELL DRAGONS TRAVELING, AND A DEEPER TRAVELING Komodo Island, December 1973 I awaken just after dawn in a bony corner of the hut of the kepala desa (village head), surrounded by a chattering clump of staring children. Groggily, I remember my arrival here late last night by outrigger canoe from Labuan Badjo, a tiny port on the Indonesian island …

A Different Kind of Intimacy

Along a colorfully crowded sidewalk I walk, slowly. I feel both right here and all over the place. There’s a very subtle pleasure suffusing each step, starting in the center of my soles, spreading through my feet and up through my torso. I have a growing sense that there’s nowhere in particular to go, no one in particular to be, …

The Edge of the Edge: My Heart Attack

It’s my first time in an ambulance. I’m in extreme physical and existential agony. My upper left chest, my left-side ribs and arm are massively aching with a deadly intensity. The paramedics are very quickly working on me, to determine if I’m having a heart attack. I am, they say. I am groaning, crying, enduring, too squeezed and crushed to …