A Thousand Words

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Between 2004-2008 I escaped from writing to study and practice photography. I traveled with my camera to Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and Hong Kong; and around the US, in Texas, Washington, California, and my home state of Illinois.

Over the next few weeks I plan to gather up my photos (scattered on various hard drives around the house) and post some favorites here.

I hope you find something you like, maybe well enough to go with an original poem or a piece of flash fiction, or collection even. Drop me a note here or email me (scribblerbean at gmail) – and let’s see what we come up with!

Day 116: Hoi An, Vietnam

CargoClub
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It is hot here, and full of expats. For the second breakfast of the day, The Cargo Club offers a balcony to hide in. The paint is left to peel on purpose. To sweeten the coffee a girl leaves a saucer of condensed milk. The croissant is crab-shaped. At noon I visit a seamstress named Trinh, who measured me the day before for an ao dai in teal silk.

Writers’ Blocks

Prayers on votive cards
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Marcus Young, St. Paul, Minnesota’s artist in residence, is turning the city into a book. For the past five years, he’s organized the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk Project , challenging poets while creating moments of reading and reflection.

It’s similar to New York City’s Library Way, photos of which I found here.

The most striking examples of public confession I’ve come across were at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. There stands in the courtyard an old camphor tree, believed to be sacred, that’s become a depository for thousands of prayers.

Wish Tree, Meiji Shrine

People from all over the world have entrusted their dreams and desires to the Wish Tree. Unspoken but inscribed onto blocks of wood, they are accidental poems left by strangers.

Prayers on votive cards

Maybe poetry really is that. A little bit of ritual mixed with openness, and the acceptance that someone must be listening.