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There Was A Child Went Forth

Jul 13, 2005

Two years ago when Mark and Yoo-Mi were travelling in India Mark made a request for a writing assignment. I obliged by asking him to give me an image. a snapshot of something you've seen/felt/heard in india. not an in-depth description, a whiff of an experience. what needs to be complete is the essence conveyed- not the sentences. sometimes language breaks down to let life in. play with that and don't work too hard.

Mark took his homework with the serious playfulness that is such a part of his brilliance and turned in a superlative series of India fragments by dazzling turns breathtaking, ribtickling, tender, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, caustic, sharp-eyed and unfailingly Real. His opening line was:

India: Where all the women look as though they are going to a party; and all the men do not.

And it just got better and better from there :-)

Later that same year when I was in the States working on I Vision it was his turn to dole out the assignments. And today in a random reflection about our innermost Fears and the ways in which we so often try to avoid making eye contact with them- the way we so often let them dwell unattended to in the shadowy corners of our lives, I remembered something I'd written out for Mark from New Mexico that long while ago- the first of my "submissions" in a short series titled There Was A Child Went Forth...

August 15th 2003

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years
- Walt Whitman

have decided to send you an impression-a-day as this child goes forth (doing my homework in installments ) ...when it gets tiresome just think of it as bad karma and deal :-)

standing in line at the bagel shop of union station. in front of me three very blond and barechested beach boy sorts. loud and tanned. loudly tanned. even standing still somehow they manage to swagger. am not sure what they are talking about but the conversation or what i catch of it at least, seems deeply entrenched in the four-lettered. a pulp fiction moment. i am suddenly aware of my not-so-comfortableness. it kicks in unaccountably now and again like that. the madurai in me. one of the boys turns abruptly. bold blue eyes that narrow and soften so swiftly i am confused. you don't have to be scared he says, not smiling. you look sort of scared. i know we look scary but we're harmless okay? then he smiles sweet. and i smile sheepish.

so standing in line at the bagel shop at union station is where i forgot and remembered.

that to smile into the eyes of what scares you is to let go of fear.

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