For 12 weeks this summer, an Amphib Ship, the USS Peleliu (http://www.peleliu.navy.mil/), loaded with Seabees (http://www.seabee.navy.mil/) will make 5 port calls in SE Asia of ~2 weeks each and perform humanitarian construction projects.
They had a call out for Civil Engineer Lieutenants to be liaisons at each of the locations. I volunteered and got selected to spend 16 May – 19 Jul in Manila, Philippines. I will work out of the US Embassy and make trips out to the two project locations in southern islands of the Philippines, closer to Malaysia than Manila. The locations are Tawi Tawi and Cotabato. I already found an aerial picture of Tawi Tawi and it looks like a fabulous tropical island.
I wrote to a Belgian pal planning to move to Vancouver, thusly:
Don’t listen to the right-coast curmudgeons, Vancouver is the best city going.
While Belgium undoubtedly has the best beer (please bring me some Grimberger Dubbel), Canada does alright … though the industry is kind of caught between micros which have been purchased by macros, and micros which are still figuring out the zen of brewing and, as such, the CDN beer industry has lost of wee bit of the cachet it enjoyed for years.
The whining about raining is the local pasttime but honestly the rain is not intolerable (don’t hardly need an umbrella or rain jacket most days) and the constant drizzle just makes the shiny, glowing summers even more enjoyable. Plus amazing scenery all year round and fantastic food and eclectic neighborhoods make the area very livable despite the burgeoning pre-Olympic and condo-mania construction craziness fueled by speculators and hype.
As for weed, well, the short version is “yes” – though not Amsterdam, liberal smokeeasys do exist which is as much a comment on Vancouver’s strategic political climate of harm reduction as it is for preferred recreational habits … and yup, you’ll get to see a higher does of urban plight (homelessness, meth-addicts, flop houses etc) than you are accustomed to in Europa.
Questions from the class?
confuse the pattern
on rigid bricks
from Hotsprings and Stubbed Toe, Occasional haiku… 1992-2004
Download Hot Springs and Stubbed Toe (.pdf)
I am ready at last for the unrelenting savagery or call to your actions, seductions, or even rampant affection, genuine for the time at present.
I require not a guarantee, only unequivocal intensity by and for soft strong fingers and supple form
Slay me, command me, instruct me, mark me as yours when your commands drift to my ears, will pretend i allow you to dominate me but in reality, i possess no choice.
I am supple in flesh and mind – long surrendered to your charms.
Your letters sent in secret, your annotations, my replies, bundled in brown manila, i assume secreted to a trusted friend in a Balkan enclave with suspect postal service.
The cancellations – round and particular, glue melts to tempt prying eyes. I do not mind if someone knows our deepest fondest codes. While they can set the letters to words to prose, they cannot comprehend the sweet honey you mix with Turkish coffee cooled only by the same ice cube i run along your sustaining bosom, – providing a life i could never know before.
Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006
Sit on a tree by the river: (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72 (83MB stereo 192 mp3 1:00:05)
on a parallel highway
Broke down and hazy
on an alternate byway
I called out to God
Odin and Buddha
all i learn’d is
they all are much taller
Parallel parked in an
Where mustangs roam freely
if you promise to return
Floating far above any water
drinking only mud and mire
chasing fireflies in ditches
tangled cactus and barbwire
I’ll build up a lost slab
a hut of cow dung and roadkill
i’ll meditate on the lizards
and what for the return signal
Magnolias and hibiscus
it’s was sure nice to meet us
i’ll send live oak telegrams
with greetings from the forge