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15.8.09

BH.net: and nostalgia in Paris, poetry still sultry and savory, bidding Senegal goodbye, and an Indian zen-quest

All good things must come to an end, the saying goes. And in their wake, new voices are heard.

1. First we take you to Mali, where Eva Peskin detours from her series surrounding Senegal. Here she learns something new: what it means to be a female tourist, and to attract the men like moths to a flame:
But this other guy, from last night, he won't stop talking. He is wearing the same clothes, I wonder if he is homeless. They don't have homeless people here, not ones that I have seen, but this guy is pretty weird. And he smells awful. I wish he weren't sitting so close to me. I wish he didn't look at me like a puppy who has found his mother.
Read "Hotel de la Jeunesse" >>


2. For a final reflection on St. Louis, Peskin is spiritual, even out-of-body:
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah

The world stops now. From my window, I see familiar faces trickle into the courtyard.
Read "Adhan" >>


3. Clayton Violand is a new writer to our archive, and a nostalgic one. Who would have thought that ravioli at a Parisian café couldn't satisfy a moment?
Paris is the antithesis of this farm, a thesis of harshness and congestion that is impossible to take lightly. This is the pain, but thank God, also the beauty of Paris. Cities inspire self-inflicted pain, but healthy pain, and I think I'm addicted to this pain.
Read "From Paris to the Farm and Back" >>


4. Mapping the inspiration of poet Farrah Sarafa is always broad and varied. With two more poems (for the first two, go here), she now touches on Asia and Europe, still paying special attention to the cuisine - the plate between two people:
Black berried cocktails exist to
extract eye colors, icy diamonds
needed to put
into flame hot lovers'
volcanic fights
Read "Buddha Bar" >>


5. Indeed, the space between, distance and travel pervades her words. Border hopping (or not) can happen within a relationship, after all:
Bumpy and bare
This road that we share
Forks into two—
I don't see you.
Read "Desert Dry Oasis" >>


6. Continuing a third piece from a body of work on her travels in India (here are one and two), Elaine Tassy relays to us her quest to find the ultimate experience of zen in the world's capital of meditation:
My college friend Cassandra, an Albuquerque artist, traveled to a Native American reservation about fifteen years ago to research an art project. When she got back she described her bliss while sitting on a hill under a tree with an elder. As she got up to leave he'd said to her, "You're leaving me, my child?" Getting love from one of the reservation's most honored members moved her.

I was on a mission to have a similarly moving experience during a month-long trip to India, only mine would have an Eastern, body-mind cleansing, spiritual theme. I thought I'd happen upon yoga classes with poses I'd never tried, temples with Zen meditators, Ayurvedic masseuses whose hands would rock my world.
Read "Rewire My Soul" >>

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