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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Postcard From Kowloon - Chungking Mansions - 1984

Kowloon Air Shaft

Chungking Mansions

Third world Casa Blanca
smell of spices and fried foods
rise from a first floor farmers market
jewelry on the cheap
watches and cell phones
might last for a week
            three if you’re lucky.

Labyrinth of aisles and warrens
maze of small shops
harried clerks and throngs of customers
newspapers from a world of nations
foods of any taste.
An edgy, gritty feel
above all this
some twenty floors of small one-star hotels
rest stops for immigrants and new arrivals
Lonely Planet tourists
travelers of low means.
A constant rattle of Mahjong tiles echo in the air shaft by my window
looking out on other rooms the same as mine
the price is right
            stay here a day or two at most.

On my way out this early morning
passing still closed shops
the biggest rat I ever saw!

Koloon 2

Monday, February 9, 2015

Swedish For Immigrants - Update

SFI Photo 2 Cropped 
On my way to class – 7:45 a.m. Dome in far background is huge shopping center, a Borl├Ąge landmark. Days are getting lighter longer now, thank God. The roundabouts were scary in the dark with snow on the ground. We’ve had our first serious snow here, about 10 inches I think. Much more in the north.

Phase 2 of ‘B’ Class started 7 January. A few who were in my Phase 1 ‘B’ class moved on to ‘C’ level, but not that many. I am doing much better with the tests now and maintain an 85% average. I have learned how to take the tests, but still have almost zero language skills. A guy came to the door selling fish when my wife was not at home one day last week. I told him she would be coming back in, ‘two years’. Seems I invariably make those kinds of mistakes when I risk communication in this unknown tongue.

I still have very little understanding of lectures or anything being said in class. Whatever. I am hanging in. Not sure I want to go rise up to ‘C’ level even if allowed. These classes are taking so much of my time. I’ve given up gym class and am gaining weight at a surprising rate. Have done no serious writing, only these blogs and a few poems. I have two books written that require massive revisions. I simply do not have time, and still seem light years away from being able to understand what anyone is saying in Swedish.

Strangely enough I enjoy the classes, and seem to be making friends.

SFI Compis 1
Note my rapidly expanding stomach. Embarrassing!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


People Watching Fix 
Painting by Tokiwa Mitsunago   12th Century


An ancient Jew
Auschwitz survivor
on TV last night
“Do not be a bystander.”
Profound advice
the only requisite
unbridled willingness
to have your ass kicked
take the risk
potential sacrifice of bone, or home . . . employment.
Sad truth is
in the long run
almost all of us
are bystanders.

Bruce Louis Dodson 2015