Nothing is nothing for long

A dear friend recently asked me:

What is love? Is there such thing?

And why do we have to grow up? rusty and weary and slowly dying inside before the skin even wrinkles? 

Why do we have feelings? and empathy? and mercy? and compassion?

Why do we need all that? do we even need all that?

But what is love?

I did not know what to say for a long time, until some recent inspiration. And this is what I responded:

Love is nothing.
The best things in life are not the hardest to get to, they are the hardest to hold-onto. 
Fleeting, fickle, momentary, superfluous, fragile, effervescent. 
They appear, surprise us, enlighten us, delight us, disappear, re-appear, vanish.
Life is not a linear journey. We do not grow up with time, constantly, minute by minute, incrementally.
We grow up in bursts, sprints, leaps, bounds, quarks, anti-quarks, via transportation and displacement. 
We grow up with every scintillating, halting, experience of love, happiness, joy, empathy, understanding, appreciation, compassion, of humanity.
Love is everything.
The best things in life come from nothing, without them we are nothing. 
Naive. Thoughtless. Unloved. Inexperienced. Unfeeling. Robotic. Inhuman.
With them we have everything, we are grown up, high, on cloud 9, in heaven. 
Thanks in no small part to Julia for the inspiration, and Austin for the quantum confirmation.

A poem from Bua Geow

I’m sitting on the balcony of a restaurant in Chiang Khong, under a full moon, listening to Thai songs sang softly with acoustic guitar and harmonica. I look out across the ripling Mekhong river to Laos, and feel the cooling evening breeze. I feel at peace tonight, and truly appreciate this scene and setting.

It may have something to do with the monk and the drunk whose ride I paid for today when we were stranded. Maybe it has to do with the certainty that has been revealed regarding my future. Further still, I think it is due to my reading of Bua Grows diary, and thankfully, being reminded again to appreciate the little things in life.

A review will be published soon, but in the mean-time, here is a beautiful poem from the heart of a “bright-eyed innocent slip of a country girl… debased, enslaved”* and freed by her own courage.


Oh! The joy that you feel

Is to me as a tune

As a toy to a child

As a song to the moon.

Whilst the grief that you meet

Is to me as a pain

I would fain bear for you,

though I die of that grief.

So then live to the full,

While your youth is yet pure:

In the year of your death

You may pray and forgive.

But not now is the time

To sleep in the spring

Or to bow to the Gods

Or to kneel – but to sing.

But to sing to the sky

And to shout O’er the sea

And to bring to the world

The thrill that we feel to will and to be.

Author: Bua Geow


* In the word of John C Shaw, author and translator of “The diary of Bua Geow, Girl of Chiang Mai”

Loving and leaving

I liked what Jung had to say about trying to define and describe Love:

“If he [who tries to define love] possesses a grain of wisdom, he will lay down his arms and name the unknown by the more unknown, ‘ignotum per ignotius’ – by the name of God.”

For Jung, according to my interpretation, God was a label for the unknown. So within this context, knowing that which I do not know and can not describe, I ask you – which of following scenarios would you prefer:

1. You meet a handsome traveller and bungee madly and ecstatically into the pit of love with him, enjoy the thrill, feel more alive than ever before in your life, suddenly understand your purpose in life and how the world is supposed to be and then watch as he cuts the cord that ties you together and leaves you to dangle over sharp rocks covered in poison envy. All of a sudden your legs feel like they are made of jelly and it seems someone just removed your stomach and replaced it with a bucket of ravenous tape worms swimming in acid.

2. You meet a handsome traveller, knock down just enough of the walls to your garden of eden so that he can smell and see the roses blooming but can’t touch them. For a while you feel safe, comfortable, satisfied and sleepy – as if you just ate two servings of mums lamb roast with baked potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and turnip with peas and gravy soaked up with fresh bread rolls covered in butter (and no garlic Mary!). Then he leaves and your sad in a way similar to when you eat too much and regret not trying that new dessert that didn’t smell quite right but everyone told you to have a piece of because it was aaaaamazing, even though they all got belly-aches after.

3. You meet a handsome traveller, smile and indulge your imagination in thoughts of “I wonder how long he is here for” and “Did he just return my smile, no he couldn’t of and if he did he is probably a man whore.” Then he leaves and you get hit by a a grandma on a mobility scooter who drives faster than you in a car and you die peacefully from internal bleeding, massively high on the huge amount of morphine the doctor gave you because he was sick of your whinging. You die wondering “Did he really smile at me”. But hey, at least you didn’t feel any pain.

Label them as you will, I feel I’m definitely a Number 1. And no, its not because I’m a CA.

A guiding light

In a world of shades and shadows
You were my beacon in the dark
Your sweet innocence draws a crowd
I’m but one, a moth to your halo.

You spread waves of light against the tide of darkness
It flickers and flutters
Rippling to the pulse of an uncertain beat
At risk of being gutted by rips of jealousy
It reverberates slowly

Through the rapids of affection and attention
where rocky hands tear at the crest
Over the the depths of deceit and debauchery
where the peak is lost but the swell remains
Onto the welcome shore of love
where the waves of light deposit bright new grains

This moth follows the beacon
Mindful of the darkness
Greedy for the life giving light
Contemptuous of the heat
Wary of the waters of sin

A spear of spray, a veiling mist of culture
Perilous liquid forms, forever changing, forever unsubstantiated
Weighting the wings, dragging this moth
To the depths of debauchery and deceit.

Where the nebulous lights of the discotheque twinkle and burn
The curious moth investigates each in turn
Failing to learn, each discretion
Stirs up a dark storm of excretion
And sets the white light a’churn.

The forces of darkness rejoice in the muck
They find their missing voice
The light becomes diffused, this moth confused.
Pain ensues and clears the skies
The beacon shines bright, visible again
And this moth heads for the light on weary wings

Dry, rejuvenated and refreshed
Rescued from the shades and shadows of here and now
By the halo, it passes beyond
Leaving the light, to shine bright
To noursih another, on this dangerous voyage

Though rapids of affection and attention
Over depths of deceit and debauchery
Guided by your waves of light
Onto the welcome shores of love.

Rythym of Blood

Sweat rolls down my ribs, undulating rapids of bone,
the droplets ripple to the tune of a muscular drum,
pouring out a rythym of blood.

Air catches in my chest, an ivory home
while bile rises in my throat, hairs rise on the dome
my body shakes with the adrenalin rush,
riding on a rythym of blood.

The chase is on and the games begin,
dry lips are licked, rough ‘n’ rice paper thin,
revealing a cheeky grin.

Neurons sparkle and die
Eyes twinkle, I just might fly.
The stomach line twists and twitches,
a muscular drum beats a hymn of blood.

Fingers linger, flesh bumps and shivers,
the mind moves quick and the synapse is lit,
dreams ignite and spread their light.
Savour every moment of it.