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Photography by Mimi Phan

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The Man Who Left Town by Mimi Phan

And the memories we’ve made
Will never been lost, no
And the look on your face
We both knew the cost
But the wind yes the wind keeps
Howlin’

Lyrics from Shake by The Head and the Heart

 

I met this guy on New Years Eve at a local bar. We chatted for quite a while about music, mountains & sea, and places we’d been. I didn’t think much of it because he had recently moved to Colorado and I knew I’d never see him again. I also had one, or two, many drinks. (Hey, it was New Years Eve. Don’t judge.) I enjoyed the moment, as fleeting as it was.

But something curious happened the next day and to this day. I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to get over this fleeting moment and this man who left town.

 

(I posted a very, very different take on this bar scene previously.)

Azores Birds by Mimi Phan

“The secret of a good old age is simply an honourable pact with solitude.”
“El secreto de una buena vejez no es otra cosa que un pacto honrado con la soledad.”

-From 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Sometimes you have about 2 seconds to capture an inspiring moment. If you’re not prepared…well then, you’re screwed. I happened to be very lucky in this particular moment as birds were swooping down overhead and my camera was in my hands and ready to go. This was taken on an 18? hour layover in the Azores, Portugal last Spring.

Boston Subway Bear by Mimi Phan

You can get lost in the music for hours
Honey, you can get lost in a room
We can play music for hours and hours
But the sun will still be coming up soon

The world’s just spinning a little too fast
If things don’t slow down soon we might not last
So just for a moment let’s be still

-Lyrics from Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart

 

I’d like to personally thank this bear for entertaining me while I was waiting for the subway in Boston last Saturday. Just one reason why living in a city never fails to be interesting.

Photography by Mimi Phan

Watchin’ a stretch of road, miles of light explode
Driftin’ off a thing I’d never done before

Watchin’ a crowd roll in, out go the lights it begins
A feelin’ in my bones I never felt before

People always told me that bars are dark and lonely
And talk is often cheap and filled with air

Sure sometimes they thrill me but nothin’ could ever chill me
Like the way they make the time just disappear

Feelin’ you are here again, hot on my skin again
Feelin good, a thing I’d never known before

What does it mean to feel? Millions of dreams come real
A feelin’ in my soul I’d never felt before

And you always told me no matter how long it holds me
If it falls apart or makes us millonaires

You’ll be right here forever, we’ll go through this thing together
And on Heaven’s golden shore we’ll lay our heads

-Lyrics from Golden by My Morning Jacket

And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

-Poetry by Pablo Neruda

Photo taken in a city full of soul & rhythm, and one which I adore (minus the insanity of Bourbon Street, of course) – New Orleans.

Eiffel Tower

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.   -Ernest Hemingway

I’ve been on an adrenaline rush for about a week now. My sisters and I are taking are mom to Paris for her 60th birthday today! After months of planning and weeks of reading blogs and books, the reality has set in that we are indeed going to be in the city that so many artists, writers, and romantics adore.

Paris has always been alluring to my mom, since her days studying french as a young child in Vietnam. French culture has always remained a big influence on Vietnam, ever since the French colonized them. In fact, many Vietnamese went to Paris after the Vietnam War, in addition to America. I’m sure I’ll be bumping into many of my Vietnamese brothers and sisters in Paris.

Paris has always been alluring to my sisters and me because we grew up reading Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Stein-a few of the writers who formed the American expatriate circle of writers in 1920s Paris. We grew up with Monet hanging on our walls. We grew up appreciating the French baguette. We grew up hearing about Paris from our parents.

However, this trip is more importantly, our first mother and daughters, sister and sister trip together. And I can’t wait to soak in the sounds, the smells, and the sights-the moveable feast that is Paris.

 

Photo courtesy of Honey Pie!

Bon Iver by Mimi Phan

I was unafraid, I was a boy, I was a tender age
melic in the naked, knew a lake and drew the lofts for page
hurdle all the waitings up, know it wasn’t wedded love
4 long minutes end and it was over it’d all be back
and the frost took up the eyes

pressed against the pane could see the veins and there was poison out
resting in a raze the inner claims I hadn’t breadth to shake
searching for an inner clout, may not take another bout
honey in the hale could fill the pales of loving less with vain
hon, it wasn’t yet the spring

aiming and it sunk and we were drunk and we had fleshed it out
nose up in the globes, you never know if you are passing out
no it wasn’t maiden-up, the falling or the faded luck
hung up in the ivory, both were climbing for a finer cause
love can hardly leave the room
with your heart

- From “Michicant” off of Bon Iver, Bon Iver by Bon Iver

There’s been a lot of talk of Bon Iver ever since he won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards. I’ve actually been following Bon Iver well before he reached music mega-stardom. (Thank You to a friend that introduced me to “Flume” back in 2008.) My first Bon Iver concert was in December of 2008 at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. He was a mere 3-person band back then? It was the first concert I had ever been to in which the audience was dead silent. When I say dead silent, I mean you could hear a needle drop. It was that intense and mesmerizing. Four years later, my good friend Phomdaen and I travelled to Montreal from Boston to see Bon Iver (photo above is taken with my iPhone at the Metropolis in Montreal). The 3-person band has now tripled in size, but has remained just as powerful and even more dynamic.

Bon Iver may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but no one can deny the talent:

ranunculus by mimi phan

may i feel said he
(i’ll squeal said she
just once said he)
it’s fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

-e.e. cummings