22 September 2007
Subject: Addendum

Okay, my website has to go stand in the corner for a time out. Until it behaves, you can view the pages from: mollybee.org/china/china.html

I completely forgot to mention my first major failing as a nose-keeper. I've allowed my precious nose to spring a leak, and for a week I've been hacking and coughing, running a fever, and sweating as much liquid as I can drink. Perhaps the delirium might explain some of the embarrassing and graphic admissions in the previous missive, but more likely it stems from the forced style. Perhaps more things are better left unsaid. But if nothing else, I'll have a record of how inane I used to be, and maybe that's really a large portion of my motivation to flush my words out before I have a chance to chew them up.

A part of me wants to share images without preamble or qualification. It seems more elegant than shopping-list Illiad-esque diatribes about what happened on days One through 31 in Xiamen, but it doesn't speak directly of Being in China Here and Now.

Four years ago, then. A rooster shivers, spurs cut off, in the crook of the young man's arm. Drops of their blood combine to stain strips of dirty white tape, money in pocket, pear in hand. Playing chess in the rain, his magnetic lips pronounce jaquemate as I demurely raise my gaze to his. He watches me, smiling, elbows over the fence, while I twist dried palm leaves into rope. Cerulean paint fumes loudly zinging, buzzing of sugar cane blossoms, sunshine-sweated murmuring lusts carried off by the wind.

Chosen, nephew over uncle, another will have me. I /must/ have loved him. Why else would we eat mangos in the dark, uncaring of maggots in the moonlight? He walked for kilometers to gather wild fruits, but the garden we planted in his yard withered without water. I thought I would have it forever, but that heart-shaped motorcycle muffler burn scar is gone. Here-now, on a completely different side of the globe, my heart, sick with want, remembers the air temperature, untempered exhausts, the sighing of subtropical foliage. My traitorous body re-courses its environmentally-pinned memories, while I, helpless to resist my thoughts, confuse the lack of a desire with the desire of a lack.

It is partially for this reason that I must constantly remind myself that this is nowhere else but China, these are all new memories, that I'll always be someone else, that I can never turn back. Here-now, missing Them, I no longer have access to their realities to verify and cross-reference. If I never see them again, I will be glad, that I knew them at all. Perhaps it is enough just to know they existed independent of my brimming offerings. But my memories cheat me as they fade together in the blinding hours and days. The first thing I forgot was the chaotic one's scent. Forgive me. Everyone has their short-comings, but why, for fear of his own, will he short me the joy of knowledge of him? If I ever do see them again, they will have a different smell, but given time, I can learn absolutely anything. Perhaps a self-directed lesson on how to let go. Moving to China was a good first step.

So I've been here a month, and I'm now totally fluent in Chinese. Just kidding! But one gratifying thing I've been doing lately has been speaking in complete sentences, if however unintelligable. I'm filling two books, the first for characters I see on the street and want to learn, and the second for phrases I want to be able to express. One is more academic and aesthetic, and the other is more survival-oriented, but I also write poems in it. Strangely incoherent poems. I keep in mind that I'll never be so ignorant of the language as I am now, so it's important to take linguistic baby pictures to remember how cute and toothless I was.

Perhaps I'll never know you again as I knew you just now, and though I loathe to disassociate you from my memories of you, I look forward to learning you all over when we meet again.

Change certainly does not disallow other changes,
thus I know it to be true that
My love, immediate and honest, is yours forever,
even if I haven't met you yet.
And when I speak of love, I know that I mean the chest-cracking need to pour myself out,
through open eyes ears mouth, into That which is Not Me
but do not fear that I would possess you; I have no room in my emptiness,
though I would always have the capacity to embrace you.
Spilled into hours and good use, my love is replete.