The young samurais


“The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time.” (Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami)

Someone says that dreams are not something we see while sleeping, dreams are something that keeps us awake.

My dreams are not the ones described by H. Murakami. I don’t enter the world of dreams and stay in there. I dream of concrete projects which give me energy to move.

Lately I see my life surrounded by people and children of different nations. I see myself with them sharing my books, my favorite movies and music. I see myself reading poems to kids in their language, I see myself teaching kids to write poems. I see myself sharing my love of movies to them. I would like to see them excel in Asian art martial. I will call them: “my junior samurais”. They will be dreamers like me.

This idea keeps me awake. I know I would get there to realize my dreams. I have the energy and the enthusiasm for that. At this point of my life, I have the feeling that it makes a lot of sense this precise dream of sharing.

Yesterday I realized that the love for him, though immense, is never enough to complete me. I need to love more than one person. I have the love for the whole earth and the need to spread it out.

Call it a dream or not. It makes sense to me.

I have the image of the young samurais in my head. Young heroes reading poems in laughs. Beautiful dreams make beautiful dreamers.

When? Where? How?

I will get there.

Poetry and Penitence

I attended today a panel on poetry reflecting on incarceration.

From inside the wall, convicts write poems to breathe, they write for oxygen. Some are twenty years old and had been sentencing for life or more than twenty years. Some will never get out. Here are the words of Ben, James and others. From outside the wall, I share their struggles and suffering. The followings are their words. I share them in freedom and hope. I feel like a duty to do so.

Regrets from James:

Hopes dwindle, dreams fade

Attitudes flare,

Pain inflicted, no one listens

Just icy stares.

No mercy, no forgiveness

No second chance, 

Walks alone, dials but no one’s home

A prisoner’s stance

If Shoes Can Feel Shame from Ben:

Often when we feel shame, up is the last place we want to look. My shoulders, they slump, tilting my head and my gaze locking on my shoes. I don’t know if a pair of shoes can feel shame, if so mine have bore the brunt of it. I fear one day I will be a hunchback…

Vulnerability from Ben:

My heart is not bitter

In fact it’s broken

But I know what it means to be a man

Gentleness, integrity and love

Quiet strength, a father a husband a friend

These things make me a man

And I am no longer afraid

He has teached me integrity

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” – Carl Jung

Yesterday I finished an article which is a contribution to a volume in honor of my Professor/mentor/boss on the occasion of his “official retirement”. I am a lucky person, I come across a professor who truly shapes my life. I have evolved and improved so much as a human being under his guidance. Truth is I have learned one thing with him: Integrity. More than honesty. A state of being whole, undiminished, entire.

I have the feeling that when we start to age (and even before, but in a much less determined way), what is important in relationships with people has more and more to do with goodness and integrity. I stay away from people I cannot trust. I avoid people who don’t have the capacity to be true. Even if each of us has our own path, and first we need to find for ourselves the trueness, without expecting anybody else to bring it on to us. Still, if we cross paths with certain people in our lives, isn’t better if they are also honest, true and good to us.

In Vietnamese, I remember when I was a kid there was a proverb: If you stay close to the light, after a while, you will shine. If you play with the ink, your hands will turn black.

Today I swear to myself, I would only be with people whose goodness and integrity would dazzle me, would rub off on me, sooner or later. And this, in any kind of relationships, from love to friendship. I would walk away from darkness, meanness. And all twisted minds.

My life at work is illuminated everyday by such a good and honest person, my Professor.

My sentimental life should be the same. From today.