Listening for the Alien Heartbeat


Wash in your Pants, Die in your Boots

just when I think I will have to lay down beside the track and die in my boots... 06 Oct 2013


Gentle, Laughing, Poor

I am tired, my boots drag, and the girl sits heavy in my heart. 27 Nov 2013

Laos: crossing the Nam Oo river

Dry, Cheerless, Armed

I take the usual: water, food, mosq net, bandages and a cheerless guide carrying a machete. 11 Nov 2013

Laos: girl,river,mountains

A Gift of Prophecy

To be born on this bright and muddy river is to be born with the weight of the past at your back. 31 Oct 2013

11 Responses to “Lao Mist”

  1. Mike Goldstone

    Michael, your writing is getting even sparser……. you are now in serious poetry territory.

    • alienheartbeat

      (chuckle) have been guided by the attention span of several of my friends, who complain less as the posts get shorter. But also, it was the place, and the vision of the Mekong and all the blood it has seen – really did leave me without words.

  2. Mike Goldstone

    The Chao Praya, as the Mekong becomes in Bangkok (and having read too much Joseph Conrad in my youth) have the same effect on me…….the flotsam of centuries accumulate downriver in eddies within the shadows of the modern.

    • alienheartbeat

      Agree. though for me the Chao Praya has always been lightened by its old system of klongs and the colorful life on them. Not sure the Mekong becomes the CP, though their names start out the same (Mae Nam) – I think the Mekong mostly runs from the golden triangle then along the border with Laos. Funny, have never read Joseph Conrad. will have to remedy that.

  3. Mike Goldstone

    Unimaginative suggestion….but “Heart of Darkness” is a good one to start with. A journey up the Chao Praya river and (I thought) into the upper reaches ot the Mekong bring a young colonial face to face with one of his own who has gone native. As you may know, it formed the basis of Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”. Wandering off from the subject of Asia……it is set in Mexico….. “Nostromo” is, for me, his most powerful novel…….it permanently shaped my imagination and what a novel could be after reading it as a 16-17 year old.

    • alienheartbeat

      Nostromo sounds interesting – have added it to my list. And speaking of Sth America and rivers: just finished for the 2nd time: Love in the Time of Cholera. He (Marquez) takes a tough subject, weaves it gracefully, and floats it away on a river.

  4. Mike Goldstone

    “Nostromo” can claim a fair place in the early history of the modern novel: written in 1904, it was the first to be written in reverse narrative (it starts at the end and works backwards). It was written by a Polish sailor who learned English from a Webster’s dictionary that was 50 years out of date….so there is some archaic expressionism. F. Scott Fitsgerald was once (apparently) quoted as saying “I would have rather written ‘Nostromo’ than any of my own books”.

      • Mike Goldstone

        “All the tempestuous passions of mankind’s young days, the love of loot and the love of glory, the love of adventure and the love of danger, with the great love of the unknown and vast dreams of dominion and power, have passed like images reflected from a mirror, leaving no record upon the mysterious face of the sea. Impenetrable and heartless, the sea has given nothing of itself to the suitors for its precarious favors.”
        -from ‘The Mirror of the Sea’ by Joseph Conrad


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