1-IMG_1695Schucking oysters on this salty bed,
Popping open briny bivalves with my knife,
Their cold soft fleshy bodies sliding down my gullet.

My efficiency is astounding,
And the effect quite rounding,
Swallowing one after the other,
Until my belly is bursting.

My limit belongs in a zip lock bag,
But I store it in my greedy belly,
Why wait for the kitchen?

© 2013 M. Tsai


Tao of Fishing

IMG_2202Gone is my last drop of hope,
As I stand on this crack-of-dawn-boulder,
The sun shines high in the sky,
Above this raucus river.

Out of the blue you leap before my eyes,
Sleek chrome summer steelhead,
Jumping into the tail of this ancient pool,
Full of determined energy,
Right before my feet.

A childhood moment frozen in memory.

Every synapse of my brain lights up like a circuit board,
Adrenaline jolts me into frantic action,
In my haste I make a clumsy cast, and wrap my line,
The lure spins down like a tether ball,
At the tip of my pole.

Hands shaking, I deftly unwrap
The #2 Canadian Wonderlure and cannon ball split shot,
Casting my spoon a little higher into the pool.

You nail the silver spoon like a freight train,
My Mitchell 300 sings as the six pound test line
Whirs off my reel,
My rod dips wildly up and down,
I hang on with all my might.

Ferociously you rip across the emerald waters
To the opposite side of the river,
Under the dark green fir lined bank,
Cart wheeling wildly above the fast waters.

I work you back to my boulder,
Before you rip another memory into my soul.

The fishing Gods have given you to me,
My first summer steelhead,
And I will pursue you with respect and passion,
For a lifetime.

You beseeched me to chase you on ancient rivers,
Snoqualmie, Skykomish, Stillaquamish,
Satsop, Cowlitz, Puyallup,
And now the Green.

You promised me great adventure,
And you rewarded me well over the years.
You sacrificed your chrome rainbow body,
So I might find my own.

Standing on the smooth slick stones,
I find solitude,
Along this great river.

It is you who hooked me,
And pulled me into your eternal,
Ever changing waters.

Our sacred home.

© 2013 M. Tsai

The Battle Continues

Over a year after my liver resection, my cancer has returned in my spleen.  My surgeon will remove my spleen this coming Friday.  It will be another big abdominal incision.  The past year has been filled with many firsts.  First time I could not do a single sit up. First time I tried with all my heart to show my wife and daughter how much I loved them.  First time I read a poem out loud at an open mike instead of playing the fiddle.  First time I tried to reflect on my life and actions.  First time to blog. 

The trained engineer in me wants to analyze and build structure.  Words do not stream from my consciousness to paper.  I know I have more to share.  But for now my posts may become quite rare.  Rest assured that I will be doing a lot of reading during the weeks ahead on WordPress.  A place where I can meet amazing people, learn through our common struggles and joys, and also learn how to open up and express myself.


Sinking Ship

I have always thought I was not scared to die, but I was a lot younger back then.  Once I pranked my best friend who was chatting up a pretty girl,  we were on the roof top of our college dorm, and while he wasn’t looking, I stepped over the handrail, and yelled “Hey Gary!” and pretended to jump off the building, dangling 11 stories above the ground with my hands.  I happened to be going through some bad times back then, my mother had recently attempted suicide. Continue reading

Am I still Cancer Free?

One year ago I had a sharp abdominal pain under the right rib cage. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a very large tumor, liver cancer. Even though the tumor was twice as large as they normally will operate on, at 10 cm, I found a surgeon who convinced the tumor review board to allow him to cut it out. Otherwise he said I would be dead within the year as the cancer would spread to my lungs and brain. Continue reading