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August 08 , 2010

The Quintessence of Dust


These poems and brief essays were collected while I live in China. I was a single father for many years, and I devoted my life to my three children. My kids were seven, five and three years old when we got divorced and I was given custody.
Being a single dad was a joy, and an enormous responsibility. I suffered some serious health issues due to stress and nearly died from a stroke. As I lay on the couch, sipping small breaths as if each would be my last, I shouted out to the darkness - into the divine void – pleading to let me live. The pain eased. My heart’s rhythm became regular, and I felt myself being embraced in serenity. I cannot say what answered me; some may call this God, the divine, the great mystery of mysteries. I just know that I was saved and given a second chance.
I stopped smoking. I changed my diet and lost over seventy pounds. I meditated each day to strengthen my mind and calm my spirit. My body grew healthier. My kids entered high school and college. I felt my heart yearning for another to share my life.
After years of being alone the Universe blessed me with the reawakening of romantic love. I was thunderstruck from afar. With much soul-searching and long discussions with my marvelous kids, I left America and moved to China to be with the woman I love. I will live part of the rest of my life here. The journey to this point in life has inspired my writing and changed me forever. I am now and will always be an incurable romantic.
My Chinese name is Zhuang Daobai庄道白, which was given to me by my wife. The derivation of my Chinese name is: Zhuang - Zhuangzi – the great Taoist sage; Dao - Dao (or Tao) the great unknowable path; Bai - the immortal poet Li Bai whose artistry inspires me.

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