Monday, July 05, 2010


I'm always thinking about Afghanistan.
Afghanistan suffered greatly under the tyrannical thumbs of the Taliban.
But I'm not sure that any military solution is the answer.
Does anyone know how this war will end?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I am sweeping my memory for what I may have not remembered while I was in Afghanistan.
Today I think about the family who I sponsored to get permission to live in the United States.
I have not seen this family---my friends---since 1977, but I know that they are living in California.
I also think about how much Afghanistan and its people are suffering because of the war.
I shall return to Afghanistan Journey when new memories awaken in my mind.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


My mom had received my clothes from Kabul, plus a metal trunk containing some odds and ends.
My friend Jon did the packing and had mailed them to me.
My mom had to wash my clothes two or three times to get them clean.
She was always cooking up a storm and I was eating like a horse.
I was anxious to start teaching again, but this would not happen for another year.
I visited Boulder to see some old friends, and it wasn't too long before I came back there to live.
I stayed with a couple of buddies that I had lived with before going to Afghanistan.
I called Washington D.C. every day to ask about getting paid, but they kept telling me that I couldn't get paid because I had not stayed in Afghanistan for two years.
After over a year, I finally got a check for $900, or $75 for each month that I had worked at Kabul University.
I was careful not to spend this money, but I did buy a big down parka for $75 that I had planned to wear during the coming winter in Colorado.
I was about to get a position teaching English in a high school located in a mountain town about 20 miles west of Boulder.
But this never happened.
The same week that I had bought the parka I received an offer to teach English on Guam.
The contract was for two years, and my plane ticket back to the U.S. mainland would be paid for if I completed my contract.
This would be no problem.
I stayed on Guam for six years.
(But that's another story to tell.)
My family was flabbergasted that I wanted to leave the United States once again, but the wanderlust was still strong inside my soul.
I was still young.
My mom had nurtured me back to health, and I was full of vim and vinegar.
I was off to see the tropics!

Monday, March 19, 2007


Washington, D.C.
The Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial.
The Washington Monument.
And Sibley Hospital.
I was told by my accompanying psychiatrist and the Peace Corps nurse that I would be here only for observation.
That sounded ominous to me, but I smiled my acknowledgement (certainly not my approval.)
I signed some papers (I guess to give permission to everyone to do anything that they wanted or had to do to me).
I said goodbye to the nurse and Mr. Psychiatrist.
In London he had asked me to tell him what some riddles meant to me: A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss; People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones; and others I forget).
I don't know if I gave him the correct answers.
But apparently not.
I "checked in" at Sibley.
I was on the Ninth Floor, which is (I guess) the traditional floor on which psychiatric patients stay.
I sat down in a room with a jolly fellow named Sarge.
He asked:
"Why are you here."
I said that I didn't know.
Sarge said:
"You'll be out of here in no time."
I soaked in a bath, and then took a shower.
I was on one side of the ninth floor where IN/OUT patients had rooms.
On the other side were patients who were too dangerous to have permission to leave their side of the floor or to leave the hospital.
Remember the movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson?
I did the same thing that Jack did: I pretended to swallow my medication, but then threw it down the toilet.
My medication was called Thorazine and it made me feel terrible.
So I stopped taking it.
But that didn't stop the public announcements TO COME AND TAKE YOUR MEDICATION.
I met some interesting people.
I met a relative of William Faulkner (a niece I think).
Then there was lawyer employed by the U.S. government.
He said that his insurance paid for him to come here, and he came to meet and talk to interesting people. He said it was like a vacation for him.
One of my neighbors had tried to commit suicide.
I never asked why.
I believe her name was Karen Johnson.
She told me that she had just interviewed the actor Robert Blake for Playboy magazine.
She and I went on a walk one day.
We were planning to go see the movie Coma, but we never made it.
We got lost.
We did stop for a brief visit at the national headquarters of N.O.R.M.L. (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws).
The director asked me if I wanted some herbal tea (no...not that kind), but I said no.
She walked to the back with the director.
As I looked out the big window of the office, I watched as a plainclothes policeman took out a police dog from the back of his truck.
They didn't come into the office.
Karen and I finally left, and returned to the hospital.
Another time I took a walk with a very sweet elderly woman.
I think she told me the same thing as the lawyer: she came here to relax!
It was hard to believe!
She told me that Michael Fox lived next to her.
Not Michael J. Fox.
This Michael Fox wrote books about cats.
Anyway, I went with her to a restaurant.
I remember that I ordered a Reuben sandwhich and some kind of mixed drink.
When we finished our lunch, she had to go somewhere else, and so I caught a bus to return to Sibley.
I remember that the Denver Broncos were playing in the SuperBowl (1978).
A radio on the bus had the game on.
Suddenly, I felt horribly sick, and needed to get off of the bus.
I asked the bus driver to stop because I was about to throw up.
He did, and I immediately did so in some bushes.
I was quickly released from Sibley Hospital when I started turning yellow from the Hepatitis that I had.
If you ever want to get out of a psychiatric ward quickly just get hepatitis.
I went to my mother's home to recover from my Hepatitis and to gain some weight from her home cooking.
But I liked my 32'' waist so much that I didn't want to eat too well.
One day I visited a friend in a hospital.
But she was in the hospital to have her appendix removed.
In her room the TV was on and at a low volume, but I could still hear Walter Cronkite say in his indelible voice:
"Today President Daud, president of Afghanistan, was killed..."
Mr. Cronkite also announced the suicide of Freddy Prince.
It was Afghanistan's first coup which made Russia feel it was necessary to intervene and invade.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I walked down into what seemed to be an arboretum of some sort.
It was fenced off from the rest of the city and was a like an enormous bowl.
I gradually climbed up and out of this wildwood, and found myself on the front yard of a church where some boys were playing cricket.
I saw a hose and asked if I could get some water, and did.
Then a boy asked if I wanted to play and I said "No".
I kept walking and the sun was setting.
I saw a large house and for some reason went to it.
I knocked and was invited in.
I explained that I was lost, that a wild dog had bitten me, and was now fearful that I might get rabies.
A woman who seemed to be the owner of the house listened to my story.
I forget what she said.
Another person brought me a plate with popcorn and a hot dog, but this food didn't appeal to my nonexistent appetite.
My journey from this point becomes a blank spot.
The next moment that I remember is when I saw the Peace Corps nurse who was with another man, and with whom I would fly to Washington D.C. after a stopover in London.
They got me some new clothes.
On the flight to London I was given valium, but even it didn't help me sleep.
I still didn't have much of an appetite, and I don't remember what I drank.
I did have a small taste of a warm beer in a pub in London, but didn't like it.

A short digression:
An amazing thing happened.
(I believe this happened right after I was "rescued" by the Peace Corps nurse and her companion.)
I ended up being taken to the very same medical clinic which I had accidentally found on one of my nights of walking around in India!
Inside my room a nun brought me a Gideon Bible which I still have.
The delivery of the Holy Book made me believe that I might be nearer to death than I really believed.
In this small clinic I was X-Rayed by the oldest X-Ray machine on earth.
It wasn't a speedy exposure.
It was noisy, too.
I think it took about 2 or 3 minutes for the X-Ray to stop...after sputtering like an old car when its ignition is turned off.
After this I was given the entire series of Rabies shots.
The shots were given in my abdomen, and man did they sting.
As I started getting pricked by one more needle I started thinking that I shouldn't have been so worried that my biting dog was rabid.

The plane landed in Washington, D.C.
And a new adventure was about to begin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I was soon back in New Delhi.
I left my shoes back in the countryside.
Now I had only a shirt and pants on.
At some point I had even lost my dark sunglasses.
My feet were cut and very sore from walking.
Even though I didn't have any money, I walked into a brightly-lit pharmacy, and showed the person working behind the counter my bleeding feet.
He just shook his head when I couldn't produce any money.
I walked a few blocks and came to a small park.
I saw a low-canopied tent and a small fire inside where some men were keeping warm.
I crawled inside.
One older man saw my feet.
Another man handed him a bowl of warm water.
The older man dipped a cloth inside the water and gently dabbed it on the bottoms of my bleeding soles.
I think there was something medicinal on the cloth.
It was very soothing and eased the pain.
I left and kept walking.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I found myself outside of a wooden fence with an opening.
I entered and saw women and children.
One woman said something to the children and they soon appeared with a cot.
They took the cot out through the opening.
I followed.
Then the woman indicated I should lie down on the cot.
I did.
Then a child brought me a bowl with a white liquid in it.
I drank a little.
It tasted warm and sour.
I guess the family took one look at me and saw someone who needed some nourishment, which I certainly did; but I couldn't drink much of this liquid.
I got off of the cot, thanked my hosts, and then a child suddenly ran up to give me this beautiful quilted blanket of many colors.
I started walking again with the colorful quilt wrapped around my shoulders.
It wasn't too long before I came to a place where there were people standing with some cows and one beautiful white Brahma bull.
I turned around and saw some other people getting onto the wooden platform of a cart.
Then for some reason I turned around and there in front of me was that beautiful white Brahma bull.
His horns were just inches away from me.
Although I have read that bulls are color-blind, I wondered if this particular bull wasn't.
Maybe he saw the colorful quilt and came up for a closer look.
I got onto the wooden platform, and the cart began to move away.
During the ride an old man lightly touched my ribs.
It felt strange.
I think he was checking to see how emaciated I really was.
I wrote a poem about this part of my journey.
Here it is:

Lost In India Part I

I was thinking about India and
The white Brahma bull.
I was just standing around.
Wearing a colorful quilt.
When I turned around.
The Brahma bull was touching my nose.
Life's movements
Quickly move like that Brahma bull.
Attracted to colorful motion.
Suddenly it is here.
Then I got onto the cart.
Being pulled by a different bull.
The dark Indian man lightly touched me.
Felt my ribs.
Wondering in silence.
Who was I?
Why so thin?