In my Angkor Wat book, I wrote in the “ancient hall” poem, “this is only the beginning.” When I wrote that line, I had no idea just how prophetic a statement it was. Not only did I end up writing the entire book and album as they exist now, but I also traveled back to Cambodia a second time to do so. And now I am here for the third time. This time it wasn’t my book that brought me here, but my charity work for Cambodian Children’s Destiny. Today I visited the school in person for the first time. I have to admit that I haven’t been able to put the experience into words just yet. It’s so hard to describe what life is like in Cambodia. You have to see it for yourself. And, even then, the more I see, the more I realize that I never really understood it at all. The truth is that I probably never will understand it. That’s how different things are here. What I can say with certainty, though, is that I–and all of you back home reading this–are incredibly privileged. I know it’s hard for you to see that sitting where you are. It was hard for me to see it too. But from where I’m at right now, it’s perfectly clear.
“This is only the beginning,” indeed. I don’t know where I’m headed. I don’t know what will come next. But I know the things I have experienced have changed me. I will never be able to look at life and the world the same way again. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I decided I would make posts here to keep you in the loop in “real time” about my work in Cambodia. I just arrived in Siem Reap a few hours ago. After a more than 24 hour journey, I am, of course, beat. So at the moment I’m just relaxing for a bit and trying to adjust to the new time, new place, new… everything! But I’ve got to break through the jet lag so while I may have a brief nap, I have to make myself stay awake until a reasonable hour. You fellow travelers know what that’s like!
I’m so happy to share with you electric wire, the first video single from my Angkor Wat book and album. electric wire represents the genesis of the entire project, it being the first poem I wrote during my first visit to Siem Reap. It’s based on my experience of exploring the town and the things I experienced and saw there. The video is a visual interpretation of the poem (and the experiences it describes). There’s also an electric wire zine and even tote bag you can get as gifts over at my fundraiser for Cambodian children. Check it out and enjoy.
I’m writing to tell you about my latest project. Angkor Wat is a poetry/photography book and spoken word album based on my travels in Cambodia. If you follow me online, you may have seen some of my photos from those trips last year as they happened. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. My book is a major project and is what sparked my second pilgrimage to the Far East, which I did by myself in December of 2016. In that sense, this is the biggest project I have ever undertaken. And even though the book and accompanying album are out now—and I hope you will read and listen to them—I am not done.
When I was in Cambodia, I met a monk named Sokhun. Sokhun and I had an immediate connection because he is a poet like me. He’s also into computers and teaches computer skills, as well as English, to several hundred students in a school he founded in the rural area where he grew up. Our common interests of poetry and technology helped things get off to a great start, and I now feel blessed to call him my friend.