Friday, March 9, 2012

Have Mantra, Will Travel

What happens in Azerbaijan stays in Azerbaijan. It’s my mantra and I depend on it every night to mumble me to dreamland.

Peggy started all this as a way of falling asleep. With Honduras as her mantra I chose Patagonia where I might be close by yet real gone. When she learned of the prison conditions in Honduras and all the violence, the associations sent her packing.

Her next stop was Morocco. There is something about three-syllable words with the emphasis on the middle one that she claims is essential. I yield the floor to my Mantra-In-Chief who knows far more about such things. Following her tri-syllable rule, I choose Kyoto which has vivid images for me even though I’ve never been there. As I drifted off I pictured myself in some sort of kimono nodding off beside a footbridge over a pond under a blizzard
of petals from a cherry tree.

I could use that scene for my next MRI but I must confess it never got me to sleep. Maybe my waking brain refused to cede it to my snoozing one. I had to relocate again and that’s how I landed in Azerbaijan. Before leaving, I offered Kyoto to Peggy who jumped at the chance to get out of Morocco. I traded my kimono for a fez she picked up in a Casablanca Kasbah.

And now I shall tell you my hard-earned secret. It’s not the images of place, however soothing they may be. It’s the sound of the word. Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan. Already my lids are getting heavy. I particularly love the zh, as in Azerbaijan. Unlike Kyoto, I have zero associations with the place and that is good. It is a blank mind I’m after.

A blank mind is actually my default position; but only in the living room in late afternoon with a book in my lap. Kyoto works, even Patagonia would do. Some day a PhD thesis will be written about the transformation which happens between rooms; how tiredness does not translate into sleepiness. It must be the glut of factoids chatting away inside my head. When I read in bed I can feel my brain getting recharged. My only passport to zzzzzzzzzzz is A Z E R B A I J A N.

And what happens on that blasted plain. It rains, it rains

Not exactly. The sky is azure as in Azerbaijan. I can report that my recurrent dream of missing the bus or plane has not been dreamt since muttering Azerbaijan to myself. I decided one night that it’s OK to miss the damn thing. No problem! I’ll stay wherever it is I’ve been deposited and call it home. Amazing what a night in Azerbaijan can do for a person.

Anyone wishing to use Azerbaijan is welcome to it. Just write me check for forty cents on any Azerbaijani bank. Maybe I’ll see you in my dreams.


  1. Good writing as usual. No thanks to Azerbaijan. I would stay awake all night trying to pronounce it. Mantras don't work for me. I imagine a space in the top of my head with a wooden floor. To get all the thoughts out I imagine myself sweeping out the thoughts and keeping my mind blank (which some friends say is my natural state.) Then every time a thought tries to enter I sweep furiously. I drift off to sleep when all thoughts are gone or I am exhausted from all the sweeping.

  2. I would probably have a sneezing fit with all that dust. Why not forget about the broom and just have a trap door to let it all empty out.
    In fact, I think I'll start a booth and sell these in Azerbaijan.

  3. I tried the trap door idea last night.
    Everything dropped into my sinuses.