Saturday, February 27, 2010

February 27, 2010

Robert D. Wilson's
The Wonderland Amusement Park
"Where nothing is as it seems . . ."

look, the stars
laugh at our sadness . . .
morning chill

robert d. wilson

"Like the physical, the
psychical is not
necessarily in reality
what it appears to us
to be."

Sigmund Freud

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for,
forgotten by everybody, I think that is
a much greater hunger, a much
greater poverty than the person who
has nothing to eat."

Mother Theresa

I was at a desperate point in my life, contemplating the worth of my life and wishing I had the guts to do so. When I get that way, I go for a walk, where I can think clearly, and if I have the need , to find someone who cares enough to listen without judgement or sage-like advice. Once in a while, you run into such a person, the Bible calls it "an angel unaware." I saw her at a restaurant I often go to and she saw (sensed) that something was really wrong. It's as if she'd entered my spirit and simply knew.

Wrote Aldous Huxley:

"When one's ill or unhappy, one needs something outside oneself to hold one up. It is a good thing, I think, when one has been knocked out of balance."

There was a hearth in her eyes . . . a warmness that assured me she really cared wanted to listen; not to be my friend, not to get something from me, just one of those rare human beings who symbiotically felt what I felt as I later learned, her husband cheats on her, is never home, and treats her like crap. A typical Filipino man cheats on his wife and loves to drink with the guys. I don't drink to get drunk as that's a waste of time nor do I get high anymore, though for years I was a drug addict. I have and still have a habit of stuffing my feelings and elude people via the computer, creative writing, art, music, etc. And when I do think, it's usually after everyone's asleep. I also take periodic walks, though my wife doesn't like my taking walks alone, or going anywhere alone, for that matter. But that's okay, my wife and I are best friends.

We don't text each other as our mates would get jealous. I hate violence, arguments, meanness, sarcasm, and backstabbing. Fighting solves nothing unless the other is a bully, and bullies only pick on those who let them; like my new friend's husband. When two people get in a heated argument they are butting heads and nobody listens to the other. Marcus Aurelius said it well when he stated: "Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one."

Meanness comes from those who have been hurt a lot, or traumatically, and from people not understanding them. It's also is learned from primary adult male and female role models, who model for their children their behavior, the good and the bad. Man is a mirror. What you see in that mirror is you. What irks you in the same mirror is what irks you about yourself.
a curse,
this kindness we both
want and give . . .
our hearts pressed between
guilt and desire

robert d. wilson

She talked to me for over an hour and I could see she was talking about something she's going through herself. Eyes are a mirror to one's soul. I could feel her pain, her hope, and despair, the Spanish army aiming mirrors at Don Quixote, to wake him up from achieving a dream, however irrelevant it was to the Spanish Throne. Dreams are ours. They can't be controlled only stifled and when stifled, the dreamer dies inside. We must be willing to follow our dreams, let nothing stop them, or us from some day, seeing them blossom. Fear is our worst enemy, along with self doubt, and listening to those who are afraid to dream.

"When we walk to the edge
of the light we have and
take the step into the
darkness of the unknown,
we must believe that one of
two things will happen.
There will be something
solid for us to stand on or
we will be taught to fly."

Frank Outlaw

We shared and listened, nodding, wet eyed, and feeling what we hate to feel, a moment meant to be.
your eyes
define the silence
i feel . . .
our words, flat stones
skipping across a stream

robert d. wilson

We never see each other. She's married to jealous husband who, though he cheats on her and possibly controls her every movement,wouldn't tolerate his wife having a platonic male friend. Most Pilipinos are like that: possessive, jealous, and heavy drinkers. I'm married to a Pilipina who, too, is jealous and possessive, wanting me to go nowhere without her. And like a good asawa (husband), which is rather un-Pilipino-like, I stay home in a self imposed exile, not wanting to upset her, as I'm almost 61, and I don't want turmoil in my remaining years. I moved to Southeast Asia to get away from the madness in America: the be in a hurry and go nowhere, try to out do one's neighbor ethos indigenous to Western countries, especially those with wealth and power; those who use television newscasts to be their prophets and teachers.

The Philippines is unlike Vietnam. They are not Buddhists and pursue a lifestyle much like they did when the Spanish ruled over them for centuries: the "OPO" ethos, where 5% of the people have most of the wealth, speak English in their homes give their children 12 years of education, and do whatever it takes, ala Belo (the makeover, facial surgery salon of the Stars), to look like a white person, changing the shape of their eyes and noses, and whitening their skin. Like Mexico, another country ruled by the Spanish for centuries, the darker your skin is, the less you are liked. Most are corrupt, almost anything can be bought or bribed, and poverty here is like anything you'll see in India, rural China, Vietnam, Haiti, Mexico, and other impoverished nation including those in Africa. Opposing a political kingpin here is like handing yourself a death warrant. Ask Nino Aquino and Jose Rizal's spirits.

"Do not run away;
let go. Do not seek
for it will come
when least expected."

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

My get away? It's more peaceful here, though Kanos (anglos from North America) is looked upon as rich, pretty young girls throw themselves at them hoping to get away from the poverty of this country, the males despise them for obvious reasons, and most will befriend a Kano to look influential or to get something from them. I live here as a loner, a role I've played most of my life.

the clouds
the clouds, the coolness
of base dreams . . .

robert d. wilson
Life (Buhay) is a series of ups and downs and I can't let the biochemical, synaptic malfunctions within my psyche interfere. i must accept the fact that I am different, never compare myself with others, and know that if nobody ever talks about me, I'm not making a difference in this world .... a world of mirrors that didn't stop Don Quixote, nor will it stop myself from achieving the impossible. I am who I am and the product of my genes, biospheric living spaces, parenting (good and bad), education, a creative mind that knows no limits. I make a lousy mirror.

"Nothing is softer or
more flexible than
water, yet nothing can
resist it."

Lao Tzu

"The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly."

even the
fan can't help me . . .
our spring!

old friend . . .
do i spend too much
time with you . . .
the shadows dancing
in two feet of water?

smother the
man, and feed him
ugly toads!

i wanted what
she wanted because
of fear . . .
i stared at the ceiling
like an old friend

caressing rainbows . . .
day moon

today she
whispers a prayer
before dawn . . .
while her husband
dreams of younger girls

what summer?
allowing for others
to eat us?

today she
wished she didn't
talk to me . . .
living in a hell
washed with purity

swim with me
in a rose petal . . .
jack fruit moon!

angry moon!
refusing the sun's pleas
to rise . . .
cherry peppers in
an empty garden

humid night . . .
he avoids looking
in mirrors

as always,
worrying what he does
to you . . .
when his toys tire
of unwashed hands

today, she'd
have turned sixty . . .
cherry peppers

your eyes
define the silence
i feel . . .
our words, flat stones
skipping across a stream

a dream?
clouds pass by her

she can't say
after three days on
a volcano,
there's no bond
between them

her tears . . .
who's roots to water
at dawn?

that first step
devoured by what ifs
and fear . . .
leaping into an abyss
darkened with self hatred

no rain . . .
and a million
what ifs

if only
i could take you to
the castle we
sculpted a few weeks ago
without windmills

nightmares . . .
the guilty don't want
me picking weeds

a curse,
this kindness we both
want and give . . .
our hearts pressed
between guilt

me, child, summer
has come!

how many
times has your keeper
beaten you?
the ogre clothed
in a priest's robe?

strangled by lies . . .
empty clouds

be still,
the universe listens
to our hearts . . .
and breathes answers
with tufts of light

clear skies . . .
the hope for new
rice, lessens

antsy, an
oddness caked
with portends . . .
the mute song of roosters
seeping through key holes

her suitor,
the video, kissed
the wind

we hope she's
buntis with my sperm . . .
the other
idea, a circus clown
caught with his pants down

seeding clouds . . .
she won't let me out
of her sight!

she wants
me at her side
to convince
her, dreams come true . . .
a talisman

i said no . . .
not a petal
from this tree!

she took a
home pregnancy test
twice this week . . .
anxious to see
what she wants to

she watches
every petal fall . . .
shaving ice

she can't sit still . . .
a still life
waiting in a
long line of maybes

cloud color . . .
he didn't like his lies

i can't
help but wonder if
i was . . .
a pawn in your dog's
game of checkers

he pets his
dog with great vigor . . .
circus clown

yes i was
drunk, and it felt
good . . .
yesterday you crushed
my desire to live

dry leaf . . .
will spring will keep you
from swimming?

a good man . . .
giving her two
e-mail addresses
behind my back?

two hours?
and what about me . . .
watching waves?

her son's toy
lacked two wheels,
as if i
could replace them
with my smile

the scent
of new blossoms . . .

i hope my
torment didn't
become hers . . .
exiled to a hell
one can't escape

circus clown . . .
are you still living
in mirrors?

my ifs,
pipe dreams exported
from a past
sculpted with a
serpent's tail

will summer
bring you closer . . .
day moon!

you think i
don't know who you are . . .
the echo
in your brain bouncing
like a yoyo?

that young boy
on a pogo stick . . .
chasing leafs!

taking the
home pregnancy test
twice this week . . .
wanting to see
a shooting star?

full moon . . .
the twinkling of
misplaced words

a friend, my
ass, your talk of
dry leafs!
you'd skip stones across
the pond in seconds!

spring . . .
the scent of ulam
on her jeans

*ulam is a filipino term for street food

when she left
the room, i tried to stop
the movie . . .
it disappeared in
to the dragon's mouth

new day . . .
where'll turtle go when
his shell wears out?

the bastard
had the nerve to ask
my love to
spend time alone with her . . .
and she accepted

dank air . . .
in heart, a bird of

he demanded
two hours alone with
my love . . .
an actor playing a role
for what it's worth!

behind me?
the river's laughter . . .
and tears

she could have played
her hand . . .
either i am
or i am not

in my
loins, a bee looking
for pollen

he seemed relieved he
left quickly . . .
the rain cleansing
polluted air

cloudless . . .
rice paddies lacking
wet dreams

once more, she tightens
her legs . . .
carrying my child
up a steep mountain

she's buntis!
we lay in the manger
and wait

*buntis: tagalog word for pregnant!

lies i'll
never know; shadows
you've kept
under trees etched
with too many names

high noon . . .
finally seed
that blossomed!

slick, the way
she brings up my
past sins . . .
after taking them
off the laptop

fresh sushi . . .
i wrap myself with
bamboo leafs

swim through the clouds
into a
dream that may or
may not work out?

robert d. wilson

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18, 2010

Robert D. Wilson's
     The Wonderland Amusement Park                                                               

"Everything you imagine is real."
Pablo Picasso

"A man who has not passed through
the inferno of his passions has never
overcome them"

Carl Gustav Yung

these things yung calls dreams?
spring shadows

robert d. wilson
Once upon a time, a naive young 18 year old man-child enlisted in the U.S. Navy and volunteered to go to Vietnam. He wanted to get away from his girlfriend so he wouldn't make her pregnant and he'd red in Life Magazine that enlisted sailors had it made there, housed in their own apartments and confined to clerical duties in Saigon, the so-called safe party central of the Republic of South Vietnam. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County, California, and was stationed 30 miles from his home on the Long Beach Naval Base, being trained (what a joke) for duty on a mine sweeper.  The only time he set foot on a mine sweeper was when it was his turn for night time guard duty, and since there were no Viet Cong on or near the base, his duty was rarely checked.  He spent guard duty listening endlessly to the twenty minute song, East West, by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and fishing. That is, when he did guard duty.

He usually paid someone else to take his duty so he could wander around with his shipmates at the Long Beach Pike Amusement Park, a well worn, soon to be torn down seedy place, looking for whores that were few and far between, and the ones they met looked like zombies and were far from touchable.  The area swarmed with military police who monitored what sailors wore, did, and didn't do.  A lot of sailors got their first tattoo there but this guy didn't like tattoos.  Tired of the Pike (the pit), he spent weekends hanging out at a hippie commune near Hollywood and Vine on La Brea Avenue.  Sometimes he went home to see friends and family.  It never seemed to him like he was in the armed forces. On base he shared an apartment with three other sailors and ate buffet style at a mess hall that actually looked like a buffet restaurant and the food there was pretty damned good.

The guy, me, thought he had it made, so when signs were posted on base asking for volunteers to go to Vietnam, Life Magazine and his desire to leave the nest and see the world convinced him to volunteer his services.  He couldn't wait to be assigned to a comfy office in Saigon, far away from the killing fields he'd seen on, what he later learned, were tainted television newscasts influenced by big business and politicians who depend on the wealthy to finance their political campaigns. Prior to Long Beach, he was sent to boot camp in San Diego and later to Counter Insurgency Training on Coronado Island.  He was a trained ARA sharpshooter as a civilian and easily received the designation during arms training at a nearby Marine Base.  He was also his high school's champion weight lifter and in excellent physical shape.  The Navy keeps records of these accomplishments including the higher than high scores he received on testing during boot camp and counter insurgency training.

    " To the mind that is still,
     the whole universe surrenders."
   Lao Tze

Needless to say, I was in for a surprise. Sailors in Nam didn't give a shit if I was popular in high school, won scores of dance contests, some on television's The Sam Riddle Show, was a champion weightlifter from a conservative upper middle class high school that was only 13 miles from the city of Los Angeles. Most of the swabs I ran with were from dirt poor, poor, and lower middle class homes, the the majority America's southern states.  The only thing that counted to them was my ability to shoot, my desire for action, and my ability to play the guitar.

Here what counted was survival and returning stateside. When I got off the TWA Airliner at Tan sa Nut Air Force Base on the edge of Saigon (They didn't ship many soldiers on Naval planes ( target practice for the Viet Cong ) for safety reasons and because it took 18 t0 20 hours to get to Nam with a stopover in Japan; I was stunned to see uniformed guards standing guard in front of every plane, and upon disembarking, was slapped in the face by the hottest heat and humidity I'd ever felt or imagined.  Almost instantly we were taken by truck to our new quarters, a converted dump of a hotel, where we would would wait for reassignment to our permanent duty stations. During the week and a half I waited for reassignment, my new brothers and I went to whore houses like people scurry to work during weekdays in Los Angeles.  I was finally away from the nest.  I didn't drink beer or smoke cigarettes, but getting laid for the first time (I was a virgin who'd done everything else, but thanks to conservative parents and high school sex education movies using bulls and cows, I lost my virginity the first night I was in Saigon). None of us knew at the time, including our superiors, that Saigon was being set for a major offensive by the Viet Cong, the North Vietnamese Regular Army, and members of the Communist Chinese Army, that would begin two days after I left for my permanent duty station in the Mekong Delta region which had a top secret tag on our unit.

wearing a dragonʼs 
skin, this overcast night--- 
the tiger! 

robert d. wilson

"Tet is the Vietnamese New Year. Normally, it is a time for celebration. In 1968, it was the eve of a mass offensive staged by the Viet Cong. I was newly in country, walking with some buddies through the red light district in downtown Saigon. It was a surreal evening. Almost dreamlike.  Dali-esque.

The weather was humid. Clouds kept the moonlight at bay. The street 
was overflowing with Vietnamese civilians and American servicemen. 
Newbies, our sense of adventure was on overdrive. We wanted to see and experience everything. No parents to tell us what we could or couldnʼt do. 

There was also an intangible something in the air, like an electrical current. Itʼs hard to describe. Something was about to come down. The calm before the storm?  Everyone but the U.S. Military knew what was going to occur.

There were an unusual number of funeral processions that evening. Small groups of Vietnamese citizens walking through the middle of the street with a decorated casket, the deceasedʼs picture on top, carrying joss sticks and playing indigenous instruments. 

Later, after I was transferred to my duty station in Dong Tam, did I learn the truth about the funeral processions. They were used to transport arms and enemy soldiers into the nationʼs capitol in preparation for the Tet Offensive."

Excerpted from Robert D. Wilson's e-book, Vietnam Ruminations, the Apocalypse Now of English Language short Japanese short form poetry books on the subject. ©2003

This was my baptism into the twilight zone.  A few days later, far from personal hotel rooms in Saigon and doing clerical work, I was sent to the heart of the Mekong Delta, Dong Tam, the dragon's belly where temperatures sometimes got as hot as 127 degrees . . . a land of mirrors, kansas level flat ground carved out of a jungle and the Mytho river, where The Wonderland Amusement Park was founded. Welcome the TET Offensive . . . the land that Dali painted in the mind of Francis Ford Cappola's when he created Apocalypse Now.  Once one enters such a world, the difference between reality and dreams intertwine, like and ova and sperm. A new reality that the uninitiated will never grasp.   Don Quixote's world of mirrors, windmills, songs, and dreams.  A place where nothing is as it seems: The Wonderland Amusement Park.

these things yung calls dreams?
spring shadow

a friend, my

ass, your talk of
dry leafs
you'd skip stones across
the pond in seconds!

twilight dusk . . .
red clouds harvesting
new rice

when she left
our room, i tried to stop
the movie . . . 
it disappeared in
to the dragon's mouth

my words . . .
too many syllables
for warm nights

she forgot 
to buy cream bread,
yesterday . . .
a selfish farmer 
wading through wet dreams

the gunship
in my dreams, watering
summer skies

you surprised
me tonight with your
phone call . . . 
a honey moon
floating through dreams

rose bush, 
would thorns make me feel

she came home 
today, thinking she
wasn't buntis . . . 
a tourist guide
playing cowgirl

tea leaves . . . 
what do you say 
when stars weep?

she threw ceramics
at the wall . . .
said she wanted
our baby to die

almost march . . . 
this will be our
last garden!

i wanted to die
until you
came out and said
you're in the same place

you're my
angel, buttering
rose blossoms

riding in
our car with the man
who fucked my girl . . . 
thick clouds on a highway
full of jeepneys

she knows when
to butter the toast . . . 
spring haiku

will you treat
me well when he's
left and you're
pregnant with the seed
of another man?

she'll sleep in
this morning, her back
facing west

let me know
when your leafs have
fallen and
you're ready once again
to be my  woman

the clouds color . . . 
she doesn't like her lies

does she feel
like a slut, a
martyr . . . 
an actress in a role
she doesn't want?

seeding clouds . . . 
she won't let me out
of her sight!

too late for
sushi, i locked
myself out
of the bedroom . . . 
i'll sleep alone in

i said no . . . 
not a petal 
from this tree!

if it weren't
for you, i'd be
a sideshow . . . 
juggling syllables
through a firey hoop

she watches
every petal fall . . . 
shaving ice

yes i was
drunk and it felt 
good . . . 
yesterday you crushed
my desire to live

strangled by lies . . . 
empty clouds

lies, i'll
never know; shadows
you've kept
under trees etched
with too many names

clear skies . . . 
the hope for new rice . . . 

slick, the way
she his his photos
from me . . . 
after taking them
off her laptop

her suitor,
the video, kissed
the wind

she'll swim 
through cumulus clouds
into a
dream that may or
may not work out?

our worker
resigned tonight . . .
leaving winter

the bastard
had the nerve to ask
my girl to
spend time alone with him
and she accepted

he still tries
to YM her thinking
she loves him?

he demanded
two hours alone with
mahal ko . . . 
an actor playing a
scene for what it's worth

a thousand
stars, none of them
wearing spring

he talks like
a six grade student . . .
telling me
how many times he 
masterbates each day

she asked me
to help her up, to
water grass

if she defends
him, she'll have played
her hand . . . 
either i am
or i am not

she couldn't 
promise me a no . . .
shattered slate

she seemed relieved he
left quickly . . . 
the rain cleansing
polluted air

fish scales . . .
she cared more for
the new car

once more, she tightens
her belt . . . 
carrying someone's child
up a steep mountain

worried, she'll
have her period . . .
sleepless fish

taking the
home pregnancy test
twice this week . . . 
anxious to see
a shooting star

will clouds 
last through the evening?

robert d. wilson