Monday, October 6, 2014


The eyes always get you, those faces staring
from supermarket posters, the missing children
plucked off streets, vanished into forced labor,
begging gangs, prostitution; some maimed,
some recovered, some gone forever.  Once,

on a train to Shenzhen, a teen boy, dressed in rags,
one eye, half his chin missing, entered our carriage,
hushing the chatter, singing like an angel for coins,
and I mean like Bocelli, or Pavarotti, our car filled
with ear-melting Italian opera, rocking and swaying

through the Chinese countryside, the closest we,
in our economy class hard seats, would ever get
to La Scala, or the Bolshoi, if we even knew what
those were, and the boy finished to utter silence,
our open jaws and wet cheeks, his good eye

scanning the crowd,  and for one second it rested
on me, this otherworldly eye, this eye of the stricken
universe, and I am ashamed, but I looked away, as
did the others, ruffling their newspapers, pretending
it never happened, in that uneasy air, before the boy

moved on to the next car and beyond, to be lost
among the billions. No one spoke, all of us
aware of the sticky business of childhood in Asia,
knowing that the eye had seared itself into us;
an open wound that would fester within for years.

~ Lauren Tivey

*This poem originally appeared in the debut issue of The Verse (August, 2013), which is now defunct. Editor Dan Navarrete wrote of the poem, "A call to take action, excellent depiction of the reality surrounding impoverished youth in China. Truly a piece that sinks into our hearts and refuses to let go, just like the imagery". Sorry to say The Verse didn't last, and the website's now gone. I was lucky to find a copy of this, hidden in my email files, as I'd lost the original in the expansion drive crash, and the only other copy was on the website which closed. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Japan Photo Gallery

Finally, I've got my photos from the trip to Japan last August edited and organized. Included in the album: Tokyo (Meiji Shrine, Harajuku and Yoyogi Park, Shibuya Crossong, Love Hotel Hill, Shinjuku, Kamata, Odaiba); Kyoto (Fushimi Inari, Pontocho, Kinkaku-ji, Philosopher's Path, Arashiyama, Sagano Bamboo Forest); and Nara (the bowing deer of Nara and surrounding area). This album's huge--I can't believe I took so many photos! But I fell in love with Japan, which is just amazing and magical in so many ways, Now, on to the Morocco and Turkey albums. You can link to the photo gallery, here: Japan Flickr Album.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan