Sticking (Or Playing With Words)

We stick together like glue,
We, who don’t know what to do.
We wander, or dance, in dimly lit halls,
Entranced in mirrors
Looking askance
articulating
expressionism
Acutely certain of myself.

Don’t think too hard–you’ll hurt yourself–
When you smile until your face cracks.
Forget the facts;
stretched like rubber bands,
truth dances on wire.
we stand, arms erect,
with fishing nets
below.

(Just let it fall
until you find
what you are looking for.)

To walk through the door
like we did before
when we were young
takes a monster’s courage.

Picture taken in the Angkor ruins, Siem Riep, Cambodia

An Ode to My Tevas

One of the weird subjects you end up discussing when backpacking are your own feet. Specifically, you talk a lot about footwear. For example, I figured out many years ago that I hate flipflops and would rather go barefoot than wear uncomfortable shoes (which I have done many times). Nothing ruins a trip faster than blistered feet.

The best travel investment I ever made, hands down, was my pair of Teva Women’s Tirra Athletic Sandals (which I have conveniently linked here for you in hopes of getting a kickback from Amazon. Just kidding.) I actually didn’t buy them at Amazon but at a local store in Princeton. I’m sure you can find them at boutique shoe stores and most outdoor stores, too.

The same pair of shoes lasted me through all my hiking in Israel, my fall break in Europe, my walks to class in the US, and all over Southeast Asia until the very last trip I took, to Myanmar, where they finally said “enough.” The stitching between the sole and the ankle strap on the right shoe had unraveled. Even so, I managed to wear them for the remainder of my trip by just velcro-ing the ankle strap around itself. But I decided to leave them at my hostel in Shwan State in order to save room in my backpack. I still think of them there, stuffed in the trash can. It was a very poor ending for a very noble pair of footwear.

I really can’t recommend these shoes highly enough. Many people over the years have asked about them, and I always say how much I love them. We’ve been through a lot together. They are currently in five of my facebook profile pictures. Clearly, I’m obsessed.

So here is one final eulogy to the most comfortable, durable, reliable shoes I’ve ever had. Rest in peace, Tevas.

Dancing with my Tevas in the Golan Heights.

I found you in style, inside a new store
Where brown paper shoe linings littered the floor.
You cost me much more than I then could afford
Yet you tempted me, won me
With cushy, soft soles.

Your velcro and criss-crosses gave me a tan
That’s stayed on my feet through summer and winter,
tatooed shadows reminding me
of hot afternoon climbs.

With socks, you warmed me
in Autumn in Prague.
In water, you carried me
through rocks and through fog.

Up mountains, down valleys,
down cobblestone alleys,
Your grip made me sure
I’d not slip nor unravel.

We spent four long years
foot by side,
we saw ten fine countries,
and a lot of goodbyes.

Till one fine day in May,
your crevices caked with clay,
your velcro delayed
and—riip

Farewell, dear friends,
my trusted travel companions.
I’ll miss your reliability,
your light-weight portability,
your eternal tan-lines.

I hope you enjoy retirement in Myanmar.

With love,
Melanie

PS-Sorry for the stinky feet.

In Northern Mississippi

Playing with poetry, writing from the Delta.

In Northern Mississippi,
folks smile and wave.
They tip their caps
and let you go in front
of them
in line.

In Northern Mississippi,
clouds burst forth
from blue skies
like cotton candy
on sticks of sun-rays.
And when it rains,
it pours,
and dust sticks
in your teeth.

Dogs bark here,
and construction men
grown
in fast Spanish–
I cannot understand–
but I smile to hear it.

In Northern Mississippi,
fears are running out of gas
north of Goodman Road,
losing the state election,
paying higher taxes,
running out of space
for the family
photographs.

“Hi” is “hullo.”
And when you ask me,
“How ya doin?”
I know
you really want to know.

Taken last summer…in Northern Mississippi 🙂

The Sliver Moon

The crescent sliver moon
shines like honey on a silver spoon.
Its bright star shimmers above,
like a sideways
Turkish flag.

Backpackers Unite!

Backpackers unite!
Crowds of tall, blonde and
curly, strong merry wanderers,
balloon pants wave and
tattoos adorn.

See their beards and long hair
blow in the dusy wind,
Lit cigarettes fall to the earth
beneath elephant feet
and ancient temple sand-stones.

“Another beer, please!” They cheers–
Proust! Salud! from the balcony
as dark skinned locals pour
them shots
and dance
the merengue.

““““““`
The List

“One, two, trois!”
Take a photo, quick,
before you get elbowed away by eager tourists
out of the spotlight.

Here it is, folks! The famous TOMB RAIDER temple.
Never mind that it honors the Buddha,
a Hindu god incarnate.
LAURA CROFT WAS HERE
as if spray graffiti and internet memes mark
the spot.
Quick! Take a picture!
It might
disappear.