On February 10, 2015 I was in New Orleans with Taslim. We’d spent the week rekindling our friendship. Waking up before dawn, we spent hours recalling the whimsical absurdity of our childhood in the intentional community and making snide remarks about the non-profit sector.
We strategized how to garner the attention of one pan-sexual Mardi Gras nymph with glitter and laughed belligerently at the expense of hipsters. We bemoaned the digital scale that hid in the laundry room daily. I clogged the shower drain with long, dark strands of hair.
A third record-breaking storm hit Boston and left the east coast crippled. Mrs. Ryu of Changwon City, who was napping on the floor, had her hair sucked into her vacuum cleaner, which was set to automatic and mistook her hair for filth. It took 5 emergency responders to release her head from the machine.
A NATO drone strike killed 8 in Afghanistan.
On August 3, 2013 I was somewhere lost in Utah. I'd spent the day racing the rental across the salt flats, searching for drones at the edge of the laser range, and skinny-dipping in a blue lake waiting for the Loch Ness monster. I watched Jen Hofer shovel small mounds of bat shit and knew she'd be a good friend one day.
The winning Powerball numbers were 21, 24, 36, 42, 45 and 15.
The U.S. State Department issued a global travel warning due to a vague Al Qaeda threat, as it made preparations to close embassies in the Middle East and North Africa.
Texas was running out of the drug pentobarbital, which is used in lethal injections by September and 11 Cubans died after consuming industrial methanol that had been passed off as rum.
On July 25, 2014 I was in Bahia, Brazil. I had just met Maithee. While Maithee suffered a birth defect that had stunted her mental growth, she lived in a world of cat sorcery, finger puppet monsters, and sparks flew from her eyeballs.
There was an outbreak of dengue in the village and I perched myself naked under a rusty fan which made a ticking sound with every reluctant revolution. Tick. Tick. Tick. An unrelenting reminder of time wasted and time spent.
16 civilians died and more than 200 were wounded when a United Nations shelter was bombed in the Gazan area of Beit Hanoun. Palestinian officials have blamed Israeli tank shelling, while Israel has suggested militant rockets were at fault.
116 people died in a plane crash in Mali. A judge struck down a same-sex marriage ban. Canadian activists delivered water to people in Detroit that had their water turned off.
Geet Jacobs turned 39.
On March 12, 2012 I was at longitude and latitude 10°00' S and 55°00'W visiting my mother. We debated over the purchase of a washing machine vs. a new washboard. She insisted on continuing to wash her undergarments by hand. I had muled one bottle of glitter nail polish, 2 packs of Hanes underwear (cotton granny style in a various shades of nude), and her coveted silver cuffs through Brazilian customs.
I sent an email at 3:34 am UTC:
*I’d cooked up my own plans of petty crime, sharpened butter knives, and the 250 ways I knew duct tape could hold us together. By sword and staple gun, slaying high horses and laughing belligerently at the carcass of time. Racing my El Camino blindfolded across ungodly stretches of nothing even more ungodly stretches of moral high ground. You were mine. The cruel, cruel world burst into a single flame which I used to light my last cigarette and swerve into our utopia.*
A U.S. soldier was being held for massacring 16 Afghan villagers. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers ended their 6 fast for fair food. The UN declared in a special study that the future of the world’s water supply was “uncertain”.
On August 19, 2011 I was somewhere on the coast of Turkey. I soaked in the sweet sounds of a secular state: gritty disco music and the muffled hollow megaphone call to prayer.
I was very aware of my proximity to Syria.
I surreptitiously meandered tangerine and pomegranate groves, noticing fire over the hills. Turkish men growled at one another over games of shesh besh and through nicotine stained lips. Women tweeted and wove rugs under a stork nest.
Lori Berenson, who had already served fifteen years for allegedly collaborating with the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, was sent back to prison after being on a three month parole.
The US withdrew it's last Combat Brigade from Iraq and the Justin Bieber Way street sign was finally put back in it's rightful place after being stolen a few hours earlier in Forney, Texas.
September 30, 2012, I spent a few days hiding Upstate with Sophie. I was losing all my elders to cancer and all my peers to marriage. A baby brown bear approached me while I drank wine in the kitchen.
An Iranian jury found Reuters news agency guilty of propagandizing against the Islamic Republic, by "disseminating false information to disturb public opinion" for running a story entitled 'Thousands of female Ninjas train as Iran's assassins.'
Thousands of Muslims in Jakarta protested the infamous Western video that insulted the Prophet Muhammad waving banners that read, “Go to hell with your freedom of expression.”
The Russian Orthodox Church said that if the jailed members of Pussy Riot expressed remorse for their actions, which would indicate their path to rehabilitation, the courts should show clemency.
4 Buddhist temples and 15 Buddhist homes in Bangladesh were burned down by hundreds of Muslims who were angered over a photograph "insulting Islam” posted on Facebook by a Buddhist.
August 22, 2013 I was in Kyrgyzstan traveling by van to the Tien Shan Mountains to share a princely feast with the Salburun falconry nomads. I had just learned of the significance of jyrgalizm, which according to its creators "reveals the idea of happiness as the main principle in the life of the Kyrgyz people and the country as the whole." I took note of my overwhelming feelings of simultaneous isolation and fulfillment, which were captured by one word – Suluk.
Suluk is located about 10 km east of the Continental Pole of Inaccessibility. The Poles of Inaccessibility are points of land on earth that are furthest from the nearest coastline and extraordinarily difficult to reach due to their remoteness.
Parallel, Suluk as it relates to Sufism, can be used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, Suluk is often referred to as the pathway or more specifically, the spiritual pathway. And as verb, it can mean to walk or journey that pathway.
Bradley Manning announced his plans to live his life as a woman with the name Chelsea Manning. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people died in Syria by an unverified chemical attack and a woman has a baby using an embryo she froze 18 years prior.
On June 9, 2013 I’d just arrived back in Morocco from Turkey. I’d rented a small house in the medina overlooking a tumultuous sea and a rooftop village of hash smokers and lines of damp laundry. I awaited the arrival of my sister and Bo while journaling about my early years of sorcery and the art of fleeing:
This was no ordinary training in the art of fleeing. This was next level shit. This was training in the art of fleeing without being noticed, also known as invisibility training. In order to become truly invisible, one must also master the basic rules of the ninja:
1. Communication with trees and animals and creatures.
2. Make-believe and secrecy.
3. Extrasensory perception or telepathy.
4. And of course, flying.
Edward Snowden revealed himself as the NSA whistleblower from a hotel room in Hong Kong. Anti-government protesters continued to take to the streets in Turkey. Mali began talks with Tuareg rebels. Naked cyclists rode through Mexico City.
On this day in 2008, the 30th whale was found beached in Madagascar, an event that occurred when Exxon Mobile began seismic studies in the area.
On August 28, 2013 I was in Chefchaouen. The heat, at 115 degrees Fahrenheit, was oppressive. Plastered to the fan and my damp djellaba, I clawed at my swollen insect bites. I found a corner of the roof where I received intermittent cell phone reception
I sent a trans-Atlantic text message:
You’ve probably taken that gnawing love lost sensation in your gut out with the Monday’s morning trash. Weary from the stir-crazy plan to escape in the night. By raft or by rope swing, traversing 469 nautical degrees west and curling up in a golden duvet like a delicious lap cat, as if you’d never left me to my own devices last September. Hunkered down in our bomb shelter… a ration of 12 more days of dried goods… waiting for the storm to pass.
The New York Times was hacked. Syria “gave evidence” to the United Nations that it did not use chemical weapons. At least 8 people died in a building collapse in Gujarat State. A Savannah cat was shot dead in Detroit.
On July 23, 2014 I was in Arraial D’Ajuda. I scrambled down the green dollhouse stairs and accompanied my mother for our evening walk into town. We ate a pão de queijo and mom giggled about the rubber cement like feeling it created in her intestines. She sucked back a clove from a tangle of bonfim ribbons and told me a story involving a white limo, Kabul… or maybe it was Paris, and a bag of shit.
Israel continued to bomb Gaza despite talks of a ceasefire. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights stated there was a "strong possibility" Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, citing Israel’s deadly attack on residential homes in the Shejaiya neighborhood and the shelling of the al-Aqsa Hospital.
The coffins of the MH-17 passengers were flown to the Netherlands.
The Groovin’ Grampa video went viral. It was rumored that a handful of divers stole the shipwrecked Costa Concordia ceremonial bell, evading day and night police surveillance and the special laser detection system.
On Friday March 11, 2011, I was in the state of Guerrero, Mexico with Louise Stern learning to surf and sign. Several people warned of the presence of a nearby cartel. Shaheen and I rode his motorcycle along the coast and almost crashed the bike into a palm tree before he continued south towards Venezuela.
Rudolfo fleeced me for all my pesos and charmed me into purchasing him a large glass bottle of Coca-Cola before I observed him making off with the gringa’s smokes.
The Fukushima Earthquake struck off the coast of Japan and a tsunami warning was issued for the coast of Mexico. NASA reported that "the earth's magnetic field is still reverberating from a CME strike on March 10, 2011 which resulted in a G1-class geomagnetic storm".
On February 21, 2011, I visited Suchitoto, El Salvador with a group of international peacemakers and later wrote a letter to my lover...
"In my next life I want to live in a tree-house. Or even better yet, I want to be a treehouse… a treehouse in a tree with purple flowers and twisted roots that break the ground below. I would shelter runaways and vagabonds and vagrants and virgins. I would be the eyes and ears for every plot to overthrow every government and every teenage revealed secret and every great ghost story..."
An earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand killing 185 people.
A record number of protesters flooded Egypt after Mubarak refused to resign and Ashton Kutcher was tricked into eating fried worms on British television.
On July 13, 2013, I was searching for the sign of the new moon with everyone else in the village of Asilah, Morocco. I'd argued for days over whether or not Islam was THE truth or just one truth, wandered the medina market in search for leather things and golden spices, and demonstrated the function of a tampon to a Moroccan friend.
I was left hanging by a lover for the 6th month in a row and composed a hand-written letter. These are every fifth line of that letter…
1. All the shattered pieces weave into the math of our tapestry and play harmony from 13 thousand feet above ground.
2. Eating the promise of our old age on porch swings and skipping Billie Holiday vinyl records from neatly packaged peanut packets.
3. Slow dancing barefoot on the black & white linoleum tiled kitchen and fucking like hummingbirds and beasts in the wooded area behind the Victorian house.
4. I cast my net long into the pool of muffled sighs, staggered coy fish, and saliva coated pillowcases in my post coitus delirium.
7 UN peacekeepers were killed in Sudan's Darfur and the typhoon Soulik hit Taiwan. 23 people were hospitalized during the Pamplona Bull Run and 31 were reported dead in China flooding. A Cleveland man faced 977 charges in a kidnapping case and the Texas Senate passed some of the nation's most restrictive abortion regulations.