• Free & Frugal ParisAn insider's guide to the City of Light
  • China Explorer: A Travel Guide
  • Bed and Breakfast on a French Farm
  • Morning Ceremony: Zhiyuan Temple
  • The Unsung Museums of Paris
Free & Frugal Paris1 China Explorer: A Travel Guide2 Bed and Breakfast on a French Farm3 Morning Ceremony: Zhiyuan Temple4 The Unsung Museums of Paris5
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Prayer

Posted in Uncategorized on July 9th, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

The night deepens.
A frog croaks, like a ticking clock
while a train to somewhere else
rumbles by.

As I lie down on the bed
I find her still half-awake
and I wonder
how is it that she can not sleep
without me by her side?

If she can not even cross over
for a night by herself
then no way
she’ll die.

And I place my ear
to her beating heart
as the frog outside fades away
holding on to that pulse
like a line in a gale
I pray
please, stay.

Passing by the Temple of Accumulated Fragrance (Wang Wei)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1st, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

Which way to the Temple of Accumulated Fragrance?
After several miles, nothing but clouds and peaks.
No trail that passes through old trees,
Just a bell that tolls, somewhere deep.

A spring’s gurgle in a jumble of rocks,
The sun’s light cold through green pines.
Empty by a pond’s twilit curves,
Quieting dragons of the mind.

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Jackson

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21st, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

Watching butterflies
flit by his nose, the old dog
lame in the meadow.

Letter to Céleste

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15th, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

If life was like a ladder
that you had to keep on climbing
for ever and ever
then you would be scared to fall
even once
and maybe that fear
would keep you frozen
and you’d never go anywhere
at all.

But life’s not a ladder
it’s more like a first dive
into a cold pool
there’s still a fear of falling
but it’s swirled together
with anticipation and
delight
the way that bitterness
is what makes chocolate
so sweet.

And the first time you are falling,
but again and you taste it:
freedom in flight.
You can twist your body
into some exquisite silliness
let loose a shriek–
you are flying toward
the water’s enveloping embrace.
A momentary glimpse of transcendence
that can be relived
again
just as soon as you pull yourself
dripping wet
up over the edge
skin your knee in the rush
run back through the hot sun
–who said anything
about being scared
now–
to fling yourself
high
into gravity’s arc–

It’s so much better
when you’re jumping into it
isn’t it?

So much better than tumbling
frozen in fear
from way up high
high at the tippy-top
of a make-believe ladder
that leads
to nowhere.

Letter to Elliot

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27th, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

My son wanted to know
if life has meaning.
I said, “Life has the meaning
that you give it.”

But how could he know
what it felt like
the first time I kissed his mother
over a pint of cherry ice cream
or the clap of thunder
that accompanied his entrance
into the world.
The way he looked at us
with eyes
that were but minutes old
and yet seemed more ancient
than words.

He’s not yet felt
the internal flight
of a friend with a guitar
or the power of a current
that sweeps a canoe
along the churning brown waters
of the Amazon
and the thrill of jumping out to swim
with piranhas and pink dolphins.

I wonder if
in some hidden corner of his mind
he’s contracting his muscles
already preparing for pain
at age 10.
If he feels childhood slipping away,
cynicism rushing in
to fill the hole that was once
Santa and pets that spoke to you
at midnight.

Hang on, I want to say,
there’s more to it than that.
The sun is just coming up
and its promising pastels
softer than your mother’s lips
are now brightening
the entire horizon.

Canyon Song II

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18th, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

You should be listening for
flocks of flamingos
midnight owls
or the song of a canyon wren.
Chasing the flames of a fire
before they become
a mere memory of light.

Can you hold those flames in your pocket?
That is why
you cannot wait.

Spring Thoughts (Li Bai)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11th, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

Grass ripples like jade-colored silk,
mulberry trees hang boughs of green.
By the time you long for home, dear,
my heart will have already broken.

Strangers with the spring breeze
what business does it have
parting my bedside curtains?

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Canyon Song I

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5th, 2015 by christofino – Be the first to comment

Sleeping on sand
with the echoes of the water
the sigh of the wind
watching clouds drift across
a sliver of deepening blue:
sadness spun from the air
and blown into night.

A tear holds on
to the lip of the waterfall
before
the plunge –
return to the river
and float from sight.

Lonely Planet Paris Wins Guidebook of the Year

Posted in Paris on November 25th, 2013 by christofino – Be the first to comment

Woohoo! Lonely Planet Paris won Guidebook of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards, held in London on November 20. Amid all the unsettling change in the publishing industry these days, this is a great moment to reflect on how many people it really takes to make a book a success.

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Free Paris: Top Five Picnics

Posted in Paris, Paris for Kids on May 31st, 2012 by christofino – Be the first to comment

The summer weather has finally arrived, and you know what that means – it’s time for a visit to the local market to stock up on the essential French picnic supplies: fresh bread, cheese, charcuterie, a couple of sun-kissed veggies and a bottle of wine.

Choose a destination from the list below, and don’t forget the candles, some sort of musical instrument, and a blanket.

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