My mother was the first of her generation to be born in America. Her father and mother escaped Russian pogroms when they were children. She was born under Sagittarius, in Brookline, Massachusetts. She didn’t know (or care) she was white and Jewish until her parents and friends learned of her Kenyan fiancé, and her mother staged an intervention. When she stepped off the plane in Nairobi in 1964, surrounded by black people, she stood dizzily in the hot haze. The runway tarmac trembled like a woman’s belly. Located in the heart of Africa, Kenya is shaped like a skull, from Mombasa in the East to Kisumu in the west, from Turkana in the North to Nairobi in the south. Nairobi is the mouth. Kisumu and Mombasa form the ears, and the eye sockets are lost in the northern deserts.
瑶池阿母绮窗开， yáo chí ā mǔ qǐ chuāng kāi
黄竹歌声动地哀。 huáng zhú gē shēng dòng dì āi
八骏日行三万里， bā jùn rì xíng sān wàn lǐ
穆王何事不重来。 mù wáng hé shì bù chóng lái
The Queen of Jasper Lake pulls back the damask curtains,
As the sad yellow bamboo melody shakes the earth.
Her lover’s eight great stallions travel thirty thousand miles daily,
Just how could King Mu not come back? 
Musical Interlude: Chopin Ballade No.4 Op 52 (Pianist – Mark Obama Ndesandjo)
What can one write about this piece, if not the world itself? In about eleven minutes Chopin covers the entire gamut of a life’s emotions: joy, love, pain, hate, glory… And yet, how many pianists treat it as a clinical study, with marimba sounding chords and melodies whose souls have been scrubbed clean – it is time to revive the romanticism of Cortot and his contemporaries! A late masterpiece of the romantic repertoire, the fourth ballade is perhaps the one work of Chopin I love the most.
 King Mu was a Zhou dynasty emperor notorious for his search for the elixir of immortality. According to legend he met the celestial Queen Mother of the West who resides at Jasper Lake.