leaving hanoi

Leaving Hanoi

Hey, man
Could you tell me how
to get out of this place?

It ain’t easy, dude
I’ve been trying to leave for years
There’s thirty-six streets
and five gates:
One leads to Lao,
another to Cambodia,
one to China,
one to the ocean,
and one to nirvana
You’ve gotta somehow make your way
to one of those gates
and slip through

Thanks, man


So Scott shouldered his bag,
slung his guitar across his back
and headed down the road

♫ ♫ ♫

Upon reaching Guitar Street
Scott turned left
and entered the third shop on the right

Good morning
What can I do for you?

I could use some new strings

Regular or magic?

Magic, please

Just got these ones in
Made by a guitar wizard from Lao
With them on your guitar
you can go anywhere
Doors will open

What do I owe you?
Nothin’, man
Magic can’t be bought or sold
It must be given freely

Dude, you’re too kind

And take this magic guitar pick
Just hold it in your hand
and you will become a channel
for music from other dimensions
You won’t be able to choose
what is played,
but the Guitar Spirits always play
what is right
for the moment

Right on

And so Scott put the magic strings on his guitar,
took leave
and continued on his way,
leaving a trail of magic notes
dancing in the air
behind him
as he walked and played

♫ ♫ ♫

How much is a one-way ticket?
Scott asked

A few million

I’ll be back in awhile

Scott walked to Busker’s Lane
and soon a crowd had gathered,
drawn towards the music
as if an irresistible magnet
were at play

♫ ♫ ♫

Money rained into his guitar case,
and when Scott felt that he had enough,
he wandered back
to the station

I’ve got the money

Have you got a visa?

I didn’t think I’d need one

Things have changed
Now they only let in people
who can show that they understand
the importance of community
and that they can get along well
with others

And so Scott left the station

♫ ♫ ♫

And as he drew near
the town circle
Scott began to dance
to the rhythm of drums,
his soul syncing with the vibration,
which extended welcome

He joined the circle
and sat down,
accepted an offered drum
and began to play
a variation,
yet the same

♫ ♫ ♫

Hey, man,
that was nice
You fit right in

Thanks, brother

If you go to my website
in a little while,
you’ll find a link
to a recording of the music we just made

Cool, man

And then Scott wandered off
in search of something
to eat

♫ ♫ ♫

As he was walking
Scott became aware
of the scent of basil
He turned left
and went down a small lane
which was lined with hundreds of basil plants
of every kind

He entered a restaurant
and sat down

What can I get for you?

I’d like a pesto pizza, please

Coming right up,
said the waitress

And soon enough
a pizza found its way
to Scott
And then another
And then one more
The pesto was so delicious
that he couldn’t stop eating
He had become addicted
and felt he might never be able to leave

Hey, younger sister,
he called out
Your pesto is like kryptonite
It has weakened my resolve
to leave this town
Help me, please
I need to get out of here

Well, I was about to close anyway
It’s naptime, you know
Would you like to join me?


And so Pesto Girl locked up
and led Scott through a maze
of passages and tunnels,
arriving finally
at her home

Pesto Girl shared
herself with Scott,
and then they rested
and soon began to dream

♫ ♫ ♫

Wakening to the call of a drum
Scott rose and asked,
What’s that?

It’s 4.20
Every day at this time
music which was recorded earlier
somewhere in the city
is broadcast through loud speakers
on every corner
There’s one right outside my window

Thank you
for everything
I have to get going

Be well
You’re welcome back

And so Scott made his way
back to the station
accompanied by the sound
of drumming

♫ ♫ ♫

The girl at the station
watched the drumming video online
and then said, Okay,
I’ll give you a visa
There’s just one more thing
you need to do
before I can sell you a ticket:
You’ve got to write a poem
about where you’d like
to be

And so Scott took
a ticket application form,
thanked the girl
and headed back
towards the center
to a quiet place
where he could write
about living on the edge
of wilderness
and civilization

♫ ♫ ♫

As Scott wandered
around the city
thinking about the poem
he came to a dead end,
to a wall,
a division
between thought and reality
Writer’s block,
he thought
How am I ever going to get out
of this city?
I’m going to have to write my way out

He sat down
on a wooden crate
and leaned against the wall
He refilled his fountain pen,
took out the ticket application form
and began to write
what he had composed in his mind
thus far
And as Scott, the ink and the paper became one,
thought subsided
and insight and wisdom began
to flow
The wall began to weaken,
and soon it was no more
and Scott was on the other side

♫ ♫ ♫

Back at the station
Scott collected his ticket,
thanked the girl once again
and made his way
towards the gate
at Rainbow Bridge

And as he was walking down Rainbow Way,
a street paved with stones
of every color,
Scott heard the cry of a guard:

You can’t go this way
There are ten thousand things
you haven’t yet done

Dude, you’re just a dream,
said Scott to the guard
as he walked on by
And as he walked
he took out his magic pick
and he played them magic strings
on his guitar
The gate opened wide
and Scott walked through
and then across Rainbow Bridge,
as the Rainbow River flowed

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