This one is for my man Flesh if he ever reads this.
I have been in China for eight years. Eight, written as we write it, is formed of two circles, or a Moebius Continuum .. Infinity. As the Chinese write it .. it looks like nothing of the sort. But eight is auspicious.
When i first came to China, I was a blank space ... a whiteboard for this nation to scrawl upon. I lived in obscurity surrounded by a life i molded and melted into. i wrote. i learned. i grew. Then i escaped my life of obscurity and entered the fray. I watched river town convulse beneath itself, sprout concrete to cover up its wounds, drip slime and blackness into its hidden alleys. i sunk neck deep into the muck and committed the first of many sins. I spiraled until i had to leave. But i returned, more determined than ever.
Because now, thought i , I know the game. I can play. So i played and played, becoming a reflection of myself. Like Bastian in the Many-Colored Desert ... when he chased himself through the city of ghosts and betrayed his one true friend and the world he had helped save. At the apex of my self-denial, i met my blood father for the second time and resolved to never be like him. To crush all within that resembled him.
My best friend labeled me a snake. He commanded enough respect to convince half of our crew -- and even me. Cuz i knew my blood father to be a snake ... it stood to reason. I wilted and fell.
Then came the days of remembrance, leading slowly over time to redemption ... i was gathered up and taken on a cruise through jungles and mountains and islands and fell into a pool of rosewater, and given my name back. I remembered my life in obscurity, my obscured life remembered me. I shed my snake skin and flashed my brilliant scales. I accepted that balding Turkish bastard.
I was coming full circle, and i knew it. Being able to see it meet over the past two years has given me great pleasure and immeasurable confidence. I still suffer from cringe literature tendencies ... but yesterday i met three people i haven't seen since those years in obscurity. I have never forgotten them, they never forgot me. We spoke last night as if we had been neighbors not memories. I was myself, dazzling and in love.
And i knew, calm and pleased, that the ends are meeting. An eight has been formed and when they finally meet, they nod and twirl and carry on. I have another large circuitous route ahead of me. I face the north wind and raise my cup.