Tag Archives: writing

Version 0.55 (Feeling Uneven, the Virtues of a Swamp, and More)

04/21/19

I guess it’s Easter Sunday back home, soon. I’m living in another world now and have forgotten all but very little it seems. I live a very basic existence consisting mainly of eating, drinking coffee, sweating, sweating profusely, sweating through my shirt, looking for cafes to escape from the heat and the constant sweating, photographing, and trying to stay atop trades in crypto and analyzing forex charts. I feel lost much of the time here. I think largely because I am so far from busier parts of the city where there is more to do. A large part of my day is spent just moving from spot to spot. Much too much time, and so I feel like I’m not gaining enough from my time here, and thus I am disillusioned with the city. The suffocating heat isn’t helping. Haven’t yet decided if I move to a new hostel for a few days after my time at Kamin Bird House is up, or if I just pack up and move south. I would, I think, prefer to give Bangkok a bit more of a chance. It’s too easy to be disappointed by something after a couple of days of dissatisfaction, develop too quickly a poor opinion of the place, and then throw in the towel on it. Making hasty decisions is one of the worst things one can do for himself in developing an opinion on something. Give it time, and realize that it’s not going to change for you, and if you expect it to you’re only going to continue to be disillusioned, disappointed, and frustrated.

Pretty certain I’m lonely. Is this good or bad? What can I learn from it? I’m in love with being alive, but I feel less than alive right now. I feel beat down and uncertain. Why am I here in Bangkok? What am I doing? Truly and frankly I’m not doing anything. What am I supposed to do? I don’t even know that. I could be having a good time with a friend or certain other person. but again, and I’ve covered this ground before, I’m not traveling and I’m not accomplishing anything either. I’m unhappy with my photography and so I’ve lost the desire to shoot, and I’m sick of spending more time traveling to areas I want to visit and photograph than actually spending time in those places I’m visiting. I’ve had certain periods of brightness and they make this all worth it (it’s amazing the crap that a photographer will put up with for a single, satisfying image), but I’m stagnating right now. Can this be a good thing? I think yes. I KNOW yes, and I know yes simply because I’m honest and conscious enough to ask that question.

The swamp of my soul… this phrase has been flipping over in my mind for the past few minutes, I suppose because I am writing of stagnation. The world equates a swamp with negativity, with filth, stink, rot. Yet swamps are beautiful. They’re teeming with life, no less so, and often more so, than other ecosystems. So why the negativity? Many people talk, and have talked for centuries, of draining them and filling them in (and many people have done so; several of America’s large cities rest on what was once swampland). Very few say “this swamp is beautiful, a masterpiece of evolution.” A swamp is life disguised as death (a rather poor disguise in my opinion, but it has obviously fooled a great many people), which is a tremendous trick—many animals “play dead” as a way to fool predators. Unfortunately, in this case the predator is man who plays the role of scavenger and so has at it at the swamp anyway, destroying it completely. Humankind has no respect for the swamp. It doesn’t shine. It doesn’t glow. It doesn’t maintain a dry and comfortable temperature of 20-25 degrees celsius. It is often much hotter, with a humidity to match. It is impossible, or near so, to build on. In short it is inconvenient, and provides nothing of “value”, therefore it must be destroyed.

So, is my soul a swamp? Do I find it disgusting, repulsive? I think perhaps right now comparing my soul to a swamp is doing the swamp a disservice. I think a swamp right now is much fuller of life and beauty than my soul currently is. My soul though, right now, is waiting. It is a fertile field with the attendant nutrients and minerals needed for it to support life. It is merely waiting for a seed, hundreds of them, thousands, tens of hundreds of thousands; and a bit of rain (something else people like to complain about) before it may begin to blossom and proliferate with plant life, and become a habitat for other living beings, creatures small and large, fragile and delicate, beautiful and winged; and then it will bear fruit which it may then provide to others that they may do the same in turn, that we all may live more productively, fruitfully, satisfyingly, gratefully. But until then it is waiting with no less than a touch of stoicism, but not without a certain turmoil either.

Version 0.52 (Ten Minutes of a Morning)

04/07/19

From the hostel this morning I watched a guy deliver large sacks of ice on a scooter to a restaurant across the street. Anything and everything is transported and delivered by scooter here: potted and unpotted plants, jugs of water, bundles of sticks, chickens in cages, songbirds in cages, propane tanks, furniture, cats, dogs, children, mail, tools, crates (which may be filled with anything imaginable). For most of this stuff one would think a car would be necessary at a minimum, but a pick-up truck or delivery van much more appropriate, but here, no. Anything can be strapped or some other way anchored to a scooter, and nothing beats a scooter for maneuverability, and no one beats the Vietnamese for their industriousness and ingenuity. Anyway, this guy delivers his sack to the restaurant, dropping it in a large cooler out front while the proprietor looks on. After this skinny little Vietnamese guy, with not an inconsiderable amount of effort, drops off his ice the proprietor fellow comes to the decision that he would prefer the other sack of ice, so of course they had to be switched. For what earthly reason that is, besides feeling like swinging his big dick around and popping his “BIG EGO” pin onto his shirt and giving it a good polish with his sleeve, I don’t know.

But as well this proprietor had a couple of these little bird cages hanging from the canopy out front. These much-too-small cages in which the single bird leaps back and forth from cage to perch to cage again with not even enough space to open its wings, like a mad man in a nut house. He’s not the only one, and it’s mostly the older generation, but it just seems another example of his hubris, or ego.

Version 0.50 (Feeling Fortunate)

Patiently waiting.

Waiting for the moment to strike. I’m not completely sure what I mean by that. I just know that there are countless places in the world I wish to travel to. But I would also like to open a cafe in Hanoi or Da Nang, and run a coffee farm in the mountains. Can I manage at least two (three if you count the traveling) of these things simultaneously? And how long will these desires last? I have a habit of getting excited over an idea only to not pursue it, or for the excitement to ebb away (which likely means that I wasn’t that excited about it to begin with). I suppose this is true for most people. That initial thought is like a rush of sugar or a jolt of caffeine, but if there is no way to sustain that energy and excitement it will be doomed to fail. The idea itself needs to be one which you want more than anything to nurture and cultivate, so that it continues to grow within you until you are able to mate it to some action, some physical impulse that sees its first steps, and then it must continue to be cultivated so that those initial steps lead to further steps and not just down a blind alley. From there, with careful nurturing it begins to take on a life of it’s own, but until then the idea requires much care lest it dry up and wither away.

A European House Sparrow has just flown down from a tree to the patio of the cafe. Such a pestilence! Can one go anywhere in the world without these damnable birds following? It pains me.

I’ve been meeting people and making friends since being here in Da Nang. It started with the lovely hostel staff, and extended to a kid I met one night at the market across the river who was looking for someone to practice english with. In return he said he would be willing to act as a sort of tour guide for me, asking if there were any places in particular that I wished to go, and perhaps I would like to be driven around on his motorbike. So the next day we took a spin up to the top of a local mountain that was hidden away in the clouds; and the day after that he, I, and a few other people went on an excursion to Marble Mountains and Hoi An. I feel very fortunate to have met such good and kind people who have introduced me to some very peculiar foods (from a westerner’s perspective) that I otherwise would not have tried, and have taken me around the Da Nang area with no expectation of anything given in return but for my company. Yet this sort of occurrence happens every time I travel. I can say that it’s not terribly surprising anymore, but it is not and can’t ever be expected, and so it goes without saying that I continue to find it a wonder.

There is an art museum enticing me that I plan on going to today. And then, since the weather is so fine, I think I may visit the tall Bhodisattva statue on the peninsula nearby.

Version 0.49 (A Zen Tale)

03/30/19

Life seems so simple here. People are either throwing themselves into work (even if that means standing at attention while waiting for customers, like soldiers lined up waiting for the command to attack), or doing absolutely nothing; just sitting around on the omnipresent little stools, chewing the fat amicably (often with tea and sunflower seeds, or tobacco). This of course seems an obvious observation on the surface, for what do people the world over do? They work, then they relax. But as an American, the peculiarity I see is not so much in the doing, but in the when of that doing. Mostly Americans are all on the same, or very nearly so, schedule, meaning everyone is either working or not working at very specific times throughout the day. Here at times it seems as though half the population is doing nothing, and this in the middle of the day, while the other half is hard at work. Well, those are some thoughts and observations.

I suppose I could also say how much closer they seem to nature, and by this I mean the human animal in its natural state, simply eating, drinking, sleeping, socializing. I look at many of the Vietnamese as I walk around Hanoi, mostly the older generation, and I look at their dogs, and I watch their chickens strut about a garden or pick through a trash bag on the curb, and the similarity is utterly astonishing. I can’t get it out of my mind. Their behavior looks so natural, so completely free of pretense, of thoughts of needing to be elsewhere doing something. There is at times a sort of zen-like essence to it, like one old story that goes: There was once a disciple of one Zen Master having a chat with a disciple of another Zen Master. The first disciple was explaining to the second how his master could perform all sorts of miracles, such as, for example, performing calligraphy in the air with a brush as the characters appeared on a sheet of paper on the other side of a river hundreds of feet away. After recounting this and other supernatural feats he asked his friend what his master could do. The other disciple replied that his master could perform amazing feats as well. “As an example,” he said, “when my master is hungry, he eats, and when he grows tired, he sleeps.”

Version 0.48 (Mountain Slope Train Views)

03/27/19

To Da Nang.

The train has begun winding along the coast, high above the ocean, beaches, and boulders that comingle in such a spectacularly dramatic fashion below. Between trunks of trees, homes, and shops I catch glimpses of a smooth, glistening blue expanse nestled in the arms of lush green hills reaching out into the ocean like cupped hands gathering up water to drink. Through the opposite window of the train are the green, cloudswept mountains of Bach Ma National Park, a place I may visit while in Da Nang (if the weather cooperates).

The train is moving along quite slowly here, creaking and groaning like an infirm, rheumatic old man, as if to provide us passengers with substantial time to enjoy these new surroundings and a song to listen to as well. Out in the bay small boats scoot, and empty fishing towers stand like men in waders looking for a good place to cast their lines or nets. Everywhere around this creaking, squealing monstrosity is thick, heavy vegetation—a jungle— broken up only by the occasional stream streaming and winding down the mountain to the sea, and small concrete tin-roofed structures, many of which are joyfully and colorfully painted.

In less than an hour we ought to be pulling into the train station in Da Nang, and I will disembark, likely into some very warm weather, and will be off to eat (I already have a place picked out), as it will be that time, and too early for me to check in to the hostel I have booked. And then…

And then?

Version 0.43 (Some Thoughts on Being a Foreigner)

03/06/19

I’m a little shocked, for I haven’t journaled in two weeks. Truthfully I haven’t had much to write about.
No.
Scratch that.
There’s been much to write about, but my camera has been doing the journaling this time. Right now I just want to sit quietly and think back on whatever I think back on. Down whatever merry lane my mind might carry me.

I’m at Ella Cafe in Tay Ho having a coffee as I usually do around this time, six in the evening. An hour ago I had my first ever massage by a professional massage therapist: Swedish, 90 minutes, $30 (or 680,000 dong). It was a nice treat to myself, though I have a hard time imagining it being worth the quadrupling in price it would cost in the States. Perhaps that means it wasn’t particularly good? Oh well. It’s impossible for me to say as I have no prior experiences to compare it to.

I have successfully applied for and paid for my visa extension. I assume it will be filled. In less than two weeks I’ll be in Da Nang. This is something to be excited about. I haven’t been out of Hanoi since arriving, and though I planned to rent a bike and drive down to Ninh Binh for two days, I realized the visa extension was more pressing (passport used as collateral for the bike). I really love this country, though, but I can’t place what it is that speaks to me so plainly and loudly and happily. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the fact that as an American with American money, everything is so inexpensive here. Now, it’s not just that, but I can’t in all truthfulness claim that that doesn’t have something to do with it. There is also the explosive growth I’m seeing in Hanoi. Everyday it seems a new business is opening or a new building being erected, or ground being broken somewhere. It looks to me like there’s a freedom to do almost anything you like, with little red tape and restrictions getting in the way. Little money required as well. One of my favorite sandwich shops is little more than a closet next to a convenience store. I imagine most of their business is to-go for they only have two, small, round tables out front.

But I think too, about the fact that I’m a foreigner with a fair bit of money relative to most Vietnamese (I guess) and think about this position of privilege that I am in because of this, and I can easily see how my judgment is skewed as a result. But how might I judge any differently? For I am who I am, and I come from where I come. Certainly some things that I see as inexpensive, many Vietnamese citizens will disagree, and for them i have very real empathy, because I come from that place in the U.S. Yet I don’t think they are unhappy because of this. I think the Vietnamese are some of the happiest and friendliest people I’ve come across, and the most communal and social, and I believe this is the driver behind their general happiness. Having more or less here doesn’t seem to matter so much because they are all part of various very tightly knit communities of family and friends.

These are all just observations made by a white male tourist from America over a two week period.

“Poem”
Lights flashing, streaming by in the dark
Others making shimmering daggers across the lake
The honking of horns like notes on a musical staff that is that same line of cars and motorbikes
Fruit hawkers on the sidewalks with their wares resting in woven baskets: sliced pineapple in plastic bags, enormous crescent shaped bunches of bananas, passion fruits, dragon fruits, lychees and still others unrecognizable to me.
Blue and red plastic stools everywhere, speckling the sidewalks, some their seats split, cracked, and taped together, and others brand new.

Screaming, shouting children pouring out of the gates after school like ants from an anthill.
Throngs of parents on scooters packing the streets, backing up traffic all around,
or nearly nonexistent the children left to their own devices to wander off and get a snack or play games.
Two old men, a tea pot, tea cups, a board game on the sidewalk, and several other onlookers exhorting, advising the players on strategies and next moves like the groups one might see in the United States surrounding a barbeque pit, or arched around the engine bay of a car, the hood up, attempting to diagnose a problem and prescribe a fix.
The mist over the lake and the cloud in the sky merged in the distance, becoming one.
Corn grilling, corn kernels battered and frying, bananas battered and frying.
A barber asleep at his spot on the street, the back of his head reflected in the mirror hanging on a wall.

Version 0.41 (Meetings and Language)

02/23/19

A quiet Saturday for me so far. Sleeping in. Cafe. Hanoi Sandwich Shop. Coffee. Croissant. Dreary, nasty weather. Scooters, cars, pedestrians all over, like swarming ants. Really would love to be at Kafeville right now but wasn’t in the mood for a long walk or a Grab ride.

I went out yesterday evening with a beautiful Vietnamese girl I matched with on Tinder. We communicated well messaging over Instagram but she admitted to using Google Translate. Not a big deal of course—I don’t care. I mean, I can’t speak a lick of Vietnamese, so I am certainly in no position to judge. Besides, as I get older I drift further and further from passing judgment. I mean serious judgment. It’s certainly okay to have opinions and preferences as long as one doesn’t wrap himself up in them, like wrapping oneself in a heavy coat to ward off the chill of a cold wind—something unpleasant, unwanted. However, it made for disjointed conversation, and I found it necessary to pull out my phone and translate from time to time. She found no need, or perhaps just did not desire to do this, which to me seems a bit strange because it would have improved and smoothed conversation. I’m unsure how she feels about our few hours together. How does one spend an enjoyable evening with another person who he has only just met, and extract something meaningful from it when those two people are unable to communicate on a deep level (or even a very rudimentary level)? This inability to communicate leads to many long silences, so that an observer might take us for a pair of mutes or people having taken an oath of silence. It’s true of course that we share a common ancestry, that we are both humans born out of this Earth, out of this cosmos, but one can’t help but wonder, having only just met, “what is he/she thinking?” during these long pauses in talk.

She picked me up on her scooter near to my apartment and we drove to Thanh Nien Bridge for coconut sorbets, and began walking a bit around the lake. Then we went to dinner somewhere. Where that was I had no idea until I looked at a map and saw how close we were to where we parked, but with the rabbit warren of streets that is Hanoi, after taking several turns down streets fairly unpronounceable I felt as though I was lost in a maze. After dinner we had another meander through the mist, and then spent the next thirty minutes driving around looking for a cozy bar or cafe, to no avail. By then it was growing quite late, and she dropped me off at my apartment.

All in all the night was an enjoyable and interesting, if somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, experience (experiment). I was uncertain about what the point of it was, and still sort of am considering we met through Tinder, which may imply something, or nothing at all. In this case it was nothing, but I’m curious about why bother going out? For my part, I was curious about where the night would lead, how well we might communicate, and where she would recommend we eat. I suppose there was a similar reason for her. When I enquired as to why she matched with me she said it was a hard question, and not easy to answer.

Verison 0.40 (Chaos and Speculation)

02/22/19

Hanoi, Vietnam.

The chaos.

Finding oases in this city is crucial, and if you’re just arriving may seem like an impossible task. However there are more than one may think, from small cafes down mysterious alleys and quiet lanes, to those mysterious alleys and quiet lanes themselves. Sometimes a more obvious place, like a public park. Even a gym may be considered as one. And hopefully one’s own home. Wandering around Old Quarter on foot (wandering around anywhere in Hanoi on foot, with the exception of certain lanes and streets, I’ve found) is an exercise in awareness and maintaining an inner tranquility. Not a problem for me, but I imagine for some people this could be a struggle, thus, this stressor that for some is minor or negligible for others may be like cymbals crashing in their ears, and after only minutes of this they’ll want to run back to their apartments to cower under the bed sheets. It doesn’t help that even when shopping employees are apt to hover by one’s side like a pest, or at the very least stand at a sort of military-like attention. This I find more exasperating and bothersome than the simple act of weaving through traffic letting the horns wash over me like so much spray from a waterfall.

My laptop is still dangling from the chains of Limbo. Three days and still not repaired. Maybe not ever. I wonder if they can at least extract the contents from it so that if/when I do purchase a new one I will have not lost anything. I am now uncertain about my time here. The purpose that I established for myself was one of using my laptop as a means of potentially making some money trading crypto and forex, but more importantly (maybe) as the only way of soliciting an agent or a publisher for my stories. Cultural immersion is of course the other reason for being here, but I don’t know that I would have opted to rent an apartment for a month otherwise. Who knows what I’d be doing. The thought of something else never even crossed my mind. So, all this leaves the question of what do I do to occupy myself now? (assuming the worst). There is an art supplies store about four miles south of here that I will probably pay a visit. I’ve been wanting to paint for some time. Maybe this is an opportunity to begin. I may also look into clay throwing as pottery is something else I am curious about. And there are a good deal of pottery works here. There is much for me to think about in this regard.

Version 0.38 (An Introduction to Vietnam)

02-17-19

I’m back at the sandwich shop that I first visited the day of my arrival in Hanoi, and I’ve just finished eating the second-worse bahn mi of my life. I suppose that’s neither here nor there though, as I didn’t open this journal to complain about a bad sandwich.

Weather is rather dreary today: cool, and raining on and off. Out on the rear patio of the cafe a soft light suffuses everything. The whitish walls of the surrounding buildings glow cool and gentle, and the wet leaves of the plants out here glisten invitingly. Yet everyone that works here looks miserable. Probably doesn’t help that there are exactly four customers, excluding myself, and more people than that on staff.

Yesterday was something else. Had a wander around this magnificent city filled with such a frenetic energy. A crazy energy! It’s amazing that anyone can find a spot of peace in the chaos, but they do, because it’s inside each and everyone one of them, thus it’s everywhere they go, rolled up a like a light jacket or a sweater, and tucked away in a backpack or beneath the seat of their scooter.

But the city! That energy I mentioned! Everything in the world happening all at the same time constantlyconstantlyconstantly! And everyone and everything packed so damn tight that we’re all on top of each other: chickens crammed in cages or strutting around the sidewalks, dogs lying on the pavement and sidewalks, scooters everywhere moving or not, all honking and the honks have different meanings from “get the hell out of my way” to “go ahead” to “I’m just behind you”—all sorts of little subtleties—and then the cars in the way slowing things up some, but really they have rank over the scooters, so if you’re on a scooter you better get out of the way, and after the cars there are the buses, particularly in the old town, and they really back everything up and cause traffic jam after traffic jam in an area that’s already enough of a cluster fuck so that one can hardly move even if he’s just walking.

Trash just seems to get tossed about anywhere, and the washing of pots, pans, bowls, cups, utensils gets taken care of on the sidewalks which is where most people eat, and you figure that soapy water goes down the gutter into a drain and out into a lake or river likely.

But there are quiet places to be found, external to one’s self. It’s just necessary to look through every doorway, every alley, and every side street.

Last night on my long meandering walk home I came upon a fellow seated on a plastic stool, as all Vietnamese sit on low plastic stools for eating or just relaxing and watching the world spin by, and so this fellow was relaxing and smoking something, something quite strong I suppose, out of a sort of bong. As I’m walking past he waves me over and pointing to the “bong” offers me a smoke. Now it’s not something I normally partake in, but I have smoked a bit of weed in my life and so I thought this might be a fascinating experience to add to my Life List of Fascinating Experiences and so I obliged him by taking a long, deep draw. A very much too deep, very much too long draw, so that I damn near fell over almost immediately after, and had to hold myself up by the wall—my head was spinning so crazily I thought I was going to pass out—until the man offered me to sit down on a stool and brought me some cool water, which helped my slightly dry throat but didn’t do anything for my wretched light headedness and the queasiness of my stomach. Of course the man thought this was funny, and I can see why, and presumably his son thought so as well, but they were nice enough to invite me in to share with them their dinner, wonderfully simple fare even if I do eat primarily plant-based, but the humbleness of the meal was of something beautiful, and that it should be shared with me made it even more so. Chunks of fatty pork and quail eggs in some sort of chili oil, rice, and cabbage with a sort of brine to dip in. He cracked open a beer for me and we cheers’ed but by this point I had broken out into a cold sweat and had begun sweating through my shirt and was dripping from my brow, and my stomach was feeling particularly bad so that I had no appetite even though I was starving five minutes ago, and was struggling to keep down the food and beer. My mouth was cotton dry, and there they were trying to feed me more, adding morsels of meat and eggs to my small bowl of rice. Eventually though, and unsurprisingly, it became too much and I had to run out into the street and puke everything up. I felt a good deal better after that, but we all agreed that it was best that his son drive me home on his scooter, as it was only five minutes away, versus twenty-five if I walked. I attempted to get a broom or something from the lady of the family to clean up my mess but she would hear nothing of it. Was probably just disgusted with me and wanted me out of her sight. I managed to snap a few pictures of the spread and my new friends before hopping on the back of the boy’s scooter and being whisked away home. The flow of the still warm air over my skin was quite bracing, considerably more so because my shirt was soaked through completely by this point, and I was feeling good, so good in fact that I managed to shoot a couple videos on my phone while weaving through traffic. I was then left in front of the alley. We shook hands and he sped off. I stoopled down the dark alley and took my time getting the key into the padlock on the other side of the gate, crept up the stairs into the apartment, cleaned the rice from my sandals, took a cold shower, and fell into bed.

Version 0.37 (Tranquil)

02-16-19

My first proper day in Hanoi. If I can’t get my computer working or a replacement, a one month stay here will be, while I am unwilling to say pointless, perhaps longer than necessary, considering my reasons for coming here, which weren’t to vacation and be a tourist (not that the photography hasn’t been brilliant already in just two hours).

I’ve finally eaten today, even if it is just a slice of orange bread with a flat white. I’m sitting in the most cozy and peaceful and adorable cafe in the Old Quarter, called Tranquil. Books & Coffee. For what I feel that I want at the moment it is absolutely perfect. Flat white was bad, though—too milky, too flat, too little coffee (that would be the same thing as too milky…). Maybe their espresso doses are small… The orange bread slice was magical, however, though I should probably eat a proper meal soon.

Jazz is playing softly in the background, injecting just enough rhythm and energy into the space to keep it from turning into a naptime nursery. A mellow voice and a light piano. I don’t know who it is, because I don’t know jazz, but I do know that it fits the mood here. Tranquil is precisely the thing necessary when one wishes to escape the chaos of the Old Quarter streets. It’s a damp, cool cloth to an overheated forehead. It’s a balm to a frenzied mind.

My elbow rests on the small, square table in front of me, and my chin—the full weight of my wearied mind—rests in the cup of my hand.

I’m gazing at the wooden counter, unseeing.

Breathing only.

The sole, familiar sounds in here are the radio, the grinding of coffee, the tinking and tapping of coffee implements, the pump of the espresso machine, the aerating of milk, the stacking of ceramic cups, and the quiet which envelopes myself and each of these individual sounds and which acts as space for them to express themselves, a conduit by which they might move from source to sea—my interpreting brain via the canal of my ear. Silence, like space, is a fecund ground from which life may spring. Without silence there is only chaos, a solid wall of noise, uninterpretable, like trying to see through the solid rock of the Alps.

Right now, in my inner and my outer worlds, I am drifting; swimming a bit too, pulling an arm effortlessly, lazily through the warm waters of my world, kicking a leg easily. Swimming in space, and swimming in a silence whose veil is intermittently pierced by sounds the likes of which become pleasurable against the silence cradling them.

They are like arrows shot, puncturing air, gliding through space.

Shimmering diamonds.

A falcon dives. The stars in the night sky sparkle.

Space may be black but silence is white.