Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Dream, The Poem and The Epiphany (March 9, 2004)

I believe that dreams have messages for us. I had a dream while in the rain forest of Bolivia that lead to an epiphany that my next major objective must be writing a book.

I was attending a poetry night at friend’s locale in Charleston, SC. There were no more than 20 people in what appeared to be a small cafe when the owner asked if I would read something. I agreed, and he told me that I would be up in an hour in the next room.
In the mean time I sat at a table familiarizing myself with the poem he gave me.

Forty-five minutes later I am escorted into a larger room packed with at least 50 people facing a stage on which a jazz quartet is tuning their instruments.

The DJ/owner asks the crowd to welcome me and another young lady to the stage. It dawns on me that I am the MC. So I thank the owner for setting up the affair, thank the band for providing musical vibes, thank the crowd for coming, and hype them up for a beautiful night of poetry and jazz.

The young lady begins to read the poem, but she is stumbling over the words, and the crowd is grimacing. I discreetly ask her and the crowd if I may take a crack at it. Everyone agrees that it’s alright.

Upon receiving the young lady’s copy of the poem I realize that there is an introduction to the poem, and begin to read it. But I am also stumbling through the words. Then I realize that this version of the poem is in Portuguese.

I beg the crowd’s patience as I search my pockets for the English version of the poem, explaining that while I speak Spanish and Italian, I do not yet speak Portuguese.

Finally, I find my English version, but just as I am about to start reading I wake up.

Normally I would consider this an anxiety dream having to do with my worrying about whether or not I am performing well (e.g. work wise, etc.), but I felt invigorated, despite waking up in the middle of the night in the jungle! The sensation was akin to the one I felt on Isla Pescado in the salt plains (See Salar de Uyuni & El Altiplano entry). This was a sign! God communicating with me! All of a sudden I realized that I had to write my book!

Isla Pescado, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia Posted by Picasa

REWIND: Thirteen days prior to this dream I found a poem that I had started 3 years and 1 month ago. It was a poem that I had never finished. After reading what I had started, the rest of the words came to me. (Peep the fact that 13 represents transformation, a new beginning.)

What was most interesting about this incident was the fact that I haven’t written poetry in quite a while, and that I was feeling particularly low at the moment that the words came to me…

FAST-FORWARD back to awaking in the middle of the night after my dream. Here’s my interpretation:

Chilling in the small café, I am vibing with the other attendees of the poetry night: I’ve been comfortable sharing my stories with many small groups (e.g. the one with which I am currently traveling) for quite some time now.

Being invited by the Owner to read something to a larger audience: The sensation I felt on Isla Pescado was that traveling is what I am supposed to be doing. That I should not doubt it, or fight it, but embrace it and roll with it. It is God saying “Travel, and share your stories with the world.”

My co-MC stumbling through the poem: I may be on stage with someone else, but ultimately this task is my responsibility, and I must see it through.

Not understanding the Portuguese: 1.) My travels are not done. I have other languages to learn. 2.) But right now, I must speak in my own voice. 3.) It’s an obvious reference to Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite authors (and is Brazilian).

Waking up before reading the poem: My own voice is the reality of this poem that God helped me finish, not a dream. Furthermore, I have to continue striving to make my dreams reality.


(February 25, 2004)
A work in progress

This could be a poem of despair.
Of living here,
and there,
but being nowhere.

I could speak of longings
and desires,
and smoldering fires.
Of being broke,
feeling sick,
and not having shit.

I could speak of places
I’ve never seen
and not meeting
the woman
of my dreams.
I could speak of racism,
and misogyny,
and of police brutality…

But I’d rather speak of travels,
mouth watering food,
and people with beautiful attitudes.

I’d rather speak of following dreams
and inspirational things
of the joys life brings.

How about sunrises
and sunsets,
and having no regrets?

Because truly,
I’m a happy brother.
Raised by a loving father
and mother
who instilled in me
AND serenity.
And the gumption
to create my own reality.

I can fly high
like a winged lion
in the sky.

So I will speak to you
of my personal renaissance in Italy.
And the fascinating waterfalls of Hawaii.
And of soaking in heavenly hot springs in Costa Rica
and skanking to reggae in Jamaica.

I’ll reminisce about Florence
and its magnificent dome.
And of finding a home
with Italians and Greeks
and Africans in Rome.

I’ll remember hiking the Inca Trail
to Machu Picchu and petting llamas.
And attending a Buddhist retreat center
in Australia
to learn about the Dharma

I’ll flash back to dancing
on the beaches of Thailand
under the light of the full moon
and how authentic Pad Thai
and Tom Yum Kung
made me swoon

I’ll treasure memories
of exploring Angkor Wat
and its crumbling halls.
And beholding the spectacular views
of China’s Great Wall.

I’ll recall Bolivia
and the mystical island
rising out of its great salt plains.
And of being 8 years old
and learning to take pride
in my name.

I can speak to you fluently
in 2 foreign languages.
And reveal
how not knowing the future
no longer
causes me anguish.

Ti puedo hablar
sobre cuanto
me gusto
viajando por Centro America.
O posso dirti
quanto mi piace
la cucina Italiana.

I will speak to you of the exhilaration
of snowboarding down snowy peaks
and the majestic wonder
of diving the ocean deeps.
And of playing soccer in 22 countries
and of having countless friends
but no enemies.

Yes, I’ve had many dreams fulfilled.
And I thank God
because I know it’s Her will.
She’s spoken to me many times
through many signs.
And I’ve vowed
to keep an open mind
and enjoy Her reason
and Her rhyme.

I have no time
for staring at closed doors.
Or falling into any kind of depression.
I’d rather thank Her for life’s lessons
and count my many blessings.

I am grateful
for Her loving kindness.

And I will ALWAYS light a candle
rather than curse the darkness.


OK, so it’s not a masterpiece. I concede that it’s still a work in progress, but when it is finished it will be the prologue in my book…

Graduate school and starting my own school are still in the future, but experiencing the joys of traveling again (and my experience on Isla Pescado) have me rearranging plans once more.

Here's what my tentative itinerary looks like right now:

Mid March - mid April: Peru
Mid April - mid May: Ecuador
5/17 – 6/23: DC-GA-SC-DC-Miami-Chas-DC road trips
6/23 – 6/28: Vermont, EIL leadership training
6/28 – 8/19: Italy (EIL)
Early Sept. – 9/14: San Fran, CA (LEAPNow training)
9/15 – 12/5: Fiji, NZ and Australia (LEAP Now)
Dec, 04 – Feb, 05: Ski Resort, US or Europe
Mar, 05 - ?: Japan, teaching English

Teaching English in Japan is looking more and more like option number one for the fall plans. I hear that the work is not mind consuming, and that you can make decent money doing it. I haven't seen that part of the world yet, so Japan could be a base camp to allow me to visit Malaysia, Vietnam, etc. And I could take that year or 2 to write my book and seriously research the next steps, something I've been putting off for a while due to high stress levels, lack of time and/or computer access, etc.

However, if LEAPNow (a program similar to the one I'm working now) offers me Fiji, New Zealand, Australia trip in the Fall (as they've indicated they will), Japan can wait until after that 3 month trip and maybe another season of working at a ski resort either in the states or Europe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your poem is beautiful. It's okay that it's a work in progress...we all are. Changing with every breath...we are all a work in progress.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azikwe your self realizations as you are traveling will all come together. I thoroughly enjoyed your travels and felt as if I was right by your side. I'm just finishing the book "Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Wonderful read and self discovery through travel. Keep up the good work.


11:43 AM  

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