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Soft Chaos

'There are two ways to go to the gas chamber,
free or not free.' Jean-Paul Sarte

Soft Chaos

I tie my fractured toe to the toe
next to it- after 8 planes, crazy Bali
traffic,2 lanes become 3,4, even 5,6,
motorcycles pass on both sides,

(I break my toe right in my own front room) ...

when I saw this mess, babies and children,
with no helmets, on motorcycles with their
parents, I was horrified- 7 days later
I climbed on the back of a motorcycle

driven by a woman who'd just given me a
heavenly massage for $4 ($10 tip) , her 4-year-old
daughter in front of her, me in a sarong, all of us
no helmets, young Balinese men yelling,

'Mama mia! ' as we zipped by, my sarong
flapping in the sensuous breeze, at the
corner we're almost hit by a bus, no one
gets angry, upset (no problem) , I'm

left wondering if my mangled body
would be cremated here with a grand
ceremony, or shipped back through
customs like stray baggage- then, I think

of all the people at the World Trade Center
falling falling falling flying, their final
choice, moments of freedom, rather than
wait like a prisoner for the fire to

eat them alive- I wept every
time they played it on CNN, now
I understand, I truly understand
their brief flight (I think I always

did) , but to have seen them
fall fall fall fly changed some
thing in me, some thing that felt safe, certain,
orderly. Now I must embrace the

soft chaos,
brief moments
of freedom,
trust.

Bali, October 2001

Submitted: Sunday, December 01, 2013
Edited: Monday, December 02, 2013


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I traveled to Bali less than a month after '9/11, ' surrounded by the largest Muslim population in the world...the tiny, so beautiful island of Bali. Trust. This poem is the title poem of my book, 'SOFT CHAOS.' I booked my tickets a year in advance and almost didn't go- one of my sons advised, 'If you don't go, Mom, you're going to be a pain in the ass.'And so, I arrived on my birthday during the Grand Celebration, which happens every ten years...when the Balinese create, dance, sing the world into balance. Trust.

Comments about this poem (Soft Chaos by Alma Luz Villanueva )

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  • Gajanan Mishra (12/1/2013 11:35:00 PM)

    soft chaos, god write, thanks.

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