To Cousin Larry from Balky of Mepos
lavender lotus warbles
for the time is now
Avid Simpson’s fans will remember that classic episode where Homer went to the Springfield Chilli cook off and ate the super hot chilli and proceeded to run into the forest howling and hallucinating. The voice of Johnny Cash was his spirit guide as a coyote and Homer woke up on a mini golf course after being mowed down by a ghost train. Well a similar thing happened to me lately after eating a dried red chilli. (Smokin Hot Emadatsi) I also ran for the hills in frantic ululation and in the forest saw a kid who had fastened a beard and long Jesus hair out of shaggy leaves, he looked ridiculously amazing. My spirit guide was Bobby naturally. The Bhutanese have a quirky side that is revealed especially after ingesting fire chillies. For three days I’ve seen a rainbow over Tawang actually more accurately, a slice of rainbow, a dollop of rainbow, a smear of rainbow, a piece of rainbow, a patch of rainbow, a smudge of rainbow, a splatter of rainbow, a splash of rainbow, a splotch of rainbow, a drop of rainbow, a segment of rainbow, a splay of rainbow, a spray of rainbow, a swatch of rainbow, a vaporous rainbow, a rainbow blotter, a trail of rainbow, a tail of rainbow, an arc of rainbow, a flare of rainbow, the beginning or end of the rainbow, rainbow dust, rainbow coil, radiant rainbow, rainbow roll, reading rainbow, rainbow feathers, a gold potted rainbow, a peace rainbow, a rainbow bridge, a backwards rainbow, an inverted rainbow, an out front rainbow, an outright rainbow, give me a rainbow, a resplendent rainbow but definitely not a complete rainbow. OH NO! (Rainbow, Clouds, snow, and lightning make it fun!) The thick squat colors ranged from topaz to violet in that dazzling arrangement that I can never quite reassemble. ARRANGEMENTS WHILE YOU WAIT! This rainbow was particularly peculiar being that it appeared on the first day of the monsoon floating on a sea of clouds smothering the mountains in a steamy paste. Night time brings rain that dins on the tin rooftop (Do you remember the rain Jamie?) So for three months we will live in a steam dream of clouds. These are strange clouds that get inside the forest of our mind, curling around our brain trees a warm thick soup of sweaty clouds that digest the ripe landscape of our grey matter. A tide of clouds in the sea of dreams. Now is a magical and dismal period with mud everywhere a Woodstock for birds and beasts. Excuse the psychedelic allegories but my first word was bus. So let’s go Furthur into the mists...Like the ghost of Neal Cassady haunting Mexican rail yards. Gliding in a delirious speed dream rolling down the tracks of imagination while juggling a ballpoint hammer. NEAL IS GOD, THE TRACKS ARE SAMSARA, AND THE HAMMER IS YOUR SOUL...YOU UNDERSTAND!
Central marking is in full swing. Locked in a room for five hours at a table full of papers as we pass them assembly line style. The septic tank was also backed up sending noxious fumes inside. Yum! But the grind is almost done and the students trickle by for help now and again and I scramble to get my puddle ducks quaking in a nice little row. Quack Quack! The system still confounds me a bit to wit. In the USA 70% is passing but here its 40% So a teacher must lowball the kiddos according to the standards. As they say “we don’t want them feeling too good about themselves” And so it goes central marking every day from 1-6. Exams are not permitted out of the room so I can’t mark my own papers like last year. It’s a hell of a thing that I feel depersonalizes my efforts and obstructs assessment. But I’m talking to myself here! Can’t wait to get back in the classroom proper and meanwhile I enjoy casual encounters with the students. On Saturdays a group of boys came over to rap and have lunch.
As the rain rattles on my bar car it sounds like I am rumbling through a waterfall, or one of those monstrous carwashes. As a child my biggest fear was getting permanently stuck in that evil apparatus with giant soapy tentacles sloshing me to death. That and the monster at the bottom of the lake. As an adult I still fear the deep but not the dark. The locals think it mighty odd that your author goes night walking, insisting I ought to be afraid of the demons. Perhaps being a host for a few demons of my own makes it easy for me to become acquainted with external menaces. In between downpours I went roaming into the cypress grove an emerald cathedral of ferns, rocks, bark, lichens, and mosses. Through the foliage one can sneak a peek at the gaping void. The mountains at the edge of the earth veer left into Tawang. Countless summits, pinnacles, and spires reside beyond the huge humped Shampula. Temples gleam in both Tawang and Bhutan almost in synch. In the void live abundant animals and birds and many cows. Not to mention swerving light orbs, Himalayan elves, pixies, sprites, demons, and deities. I’ve seen some of it and felt more of it. The bon stuff is the same round the world, but the pantheon of Buddhist entities are more mysterious and elusive to this woodsman. Perhaps a few incantations might lure them out to play. But the ancient elfin and pixie inhabitants of the world’s forests are tricksters but proven benign. Meanwhile the land teethes and grows in front of the eye. Maize that was planted seemingly yesterday is twelve feet tall. From the raven’s perspective it’s a lurid green labyrinth with some dry craggy slopes and others furnished with thick forest. But endless ranges stretch in all directions with secret nooks and crannies harbouring lost world civilizations. LET IT GROW! It’s juicy ripe and smells like backcountry. Standing on the lip of the precipice I peer out over the olive basin trying to assimilate with the mountains. (Mountain Worship at its peak) But no success yet! Probably for the better, how can one teach being a mountain? But I do get to teach atop a mountain which is also pretty good. In fact from different points on campus one can see both the Kulong Chu and Dagme Chu but not where they converge. We go deeper into the onion this second lap peeling back layers always getting closer to the thing. Coming to Bhutan is a constant collision, of culture, ideas, and karmas. It’s not a violent clash but a cosmic collision of the most intriguing kind. CALLING ALL INTREPID TEACHER TRAVELLERS, COME JOIN THE PARTY. BE WARNED I HOPE YOU DIG YOUR VILLAGE CUZ THAT’S WHERE IT’S AT MOST OF THE TIME!
I have a lot of bug bites but it’s nothing like the legions of insects Becky reports from Phongmey. You remember Becky right? My friend out in Phongmey... Both Phongmey and Tsenkharla are the end of the earth for vastly different reasons to wit. Becky lives across two sloshing rivers that often swallow the road whole stranding our heroine. Her locality is known for demons and intense religious fervour. The rounded perfect MEME is shipwrecked in a gorgeous narrow valley with enormous mountains towering everywhere (gateway to the Bropka/Migoi world cue the clouded leopards and blue poppies) Where as Tsenkharla looks out on the open basin at the edge of time perched on the deity superhighway. So for those reasons and many more that I will not state provide evidence that both Becky and I live at the end of the earth. YOU UNDERSTAND...
I lunched with Karlos today and tried to be more open and cheery with the nationals. I try not to take their good natured ribbing at central marking personally. But we all get hung up on the cultural gap at times I suppose. Bhutan Stretchable Time, the jelly warp of the monsoon afternoon. I awoke at four Twenty in the morning to here a haunting blend of night creatures like crickets mingling with the early birds and ravens. (Ravens caw sixteen hours a day hereabouts)The strange grey lag outlined this ancient medley. Older than dirt birds, ravens calling out to the morning sun. Have I written that before since I just got déjàvu?
Anyway what have you missed while I was foraging in the void for truth trinkets and celestial nuggets? Oh yeah it was Guru Rinpoche’s B-Day last week. Long ago in Afghanistan or the Swat Valley of Pakistan Guru Rinpoche spontaneously emerged an enlightened eight year old from a blossomed lotus in the middle of a huge lake. I took a stealth Tuesday trip up the mountain hoping to get in synch with the second Buddha. (Could there be a separate or second Buddha HMMMM?) receiving a blessing from Zangtopelri as a bare footed Rinchen Wangmo looked on with baby strapped to her back in colorful cloth. Ah Rinchen Wangmo embodiment of Bhutanese beauty, the essence of a country girl. (Worldliness is overrated as these people truly know how to live skilfully) At this point I can hardly separate the temple from the woman. From there I got lost for several hours in the woods finding a remarkable Chorten with a stunning view of Gods handy work. I never did commune with the precious master having no epic vision. Only the swirling sky, a giant phallic cloud growing into the ether, and the mountains breathing in that soft light vortex. (The Holy Matrix, The Seed, the sacred spore) But I did get an inkling of a message in the dragon’s breath reminding me that Guru Rinpoche was a precious teacher and I should strive harder for that aim. Okay Mr. Dragon or is it Miss? Us mortals always are hung up on gender. DOES GOD HAVE A SEX? OR DOES GOD HAVE SEX? Polytheism seems much more fun, isn’t it? Heck god might get lonely too, right? While I was out there I again postulated a theory on the Bhutanese extraterrestrial link. Those pointed Chortens could be beaming signals and hiding alien objects in their base. BASE! Too much entropy and not enough action for MR. FROG MAN! (Rocket Man!) So I abandoned the alien theories and thought up strategies to improve my teaching in the precious few moments that remain in this long strange trip in Bhutan. ARE WE THERE YET? NOT YET SON YOU HAVENT AWAKENED? BUT I WANT A YAK BURGER? HEE HEE...
Okay so this is my last update before I hit the road on a journey West. What will the next sojourn entail? Stay tuned or rather in tune with the moment which always delivers on time. I intend on reaching the capital city Thimphu and from there, who knows? I say intend because roadblocks are par for the course on Bhutan roads actually dirt tracks jammed with multicoloured ta ta trucks and compact cars. All agendas and planning have been abandoned and the nets have been removed for this cosmic crusader walking the tightrope of terror. THIS IS NOT A TEST...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Flight of the Guru
An aquatic sky shatters
in gazillion shards
refracting topaz clouds
into Tawang funhouse.
the mountain mandala
sucks from an organic lotus
under a pastel fisheye encrusted
by shimmering ivory disc,
and a festering mushroom
transmits the rapturous pock faced Luna
who bangs on our earthen drum
with translucent silver palms
accompanied by the click clack
percussion of a million insects.
her mischievous eye
spy’s an azure serpent
wriggling through gashed valley
activated in galactic jar.
a raven’s thunderous caw
rocks the basin
its metallic velvet crumple
vibrating vacant terraces,
spilling a bottle green carpet
over austere terrain.
Pull up the fringe and ride
the tiger of your imagination
to Zangtopelri on copper ridge
where a lovely gold pagoda sits
at the cusp of cypress coppice.
touch your forehead
to the refreshing emerald marble
prostrate to the flickering butter lamp
and gilded Guru Rinpoche,
take a sip of grainy water
from a golden chalice.
then chase the leopard
through air fragrant
with wood smoke and manure
to Prince Tsangma’s Castle
rubbing noses with pixies
in the twilight,
playing hide and seek with psilocybic elves
under a string of rainbow prayers
...Bhutan is the lushest bride!
|Monsoon Kick Off|