The moon was bright red. My fingers in the dirt. The lumps of soft earth broke away, revealing a tongue that has disintegrated, turned black. My useless tongue. The tongue that could not keep its word. Then suddenly there it was, I discovered another tongue by it. It was tarried by the soil, but it was still clear that it was still fresh, its flesh damp with blood. I was very confused, for sure I had never buried such a tongue. Who’s tongue is this? Where did it come from? Why would anyone want to cut their tongue off and bury it as I did?
His eyes glossed over white, icy, opaque. The stranger, the father of my thirteen year old daughter. I had begged him- please forget her, I forgive you. He just laughed, the light never reaching his eyes- she, to you is the mother of my child. I had loved him, the love of my life. He had picked me to dance, me the awkward skinny girl, amidst all those tall pretty ones.
Love is a glance leaning
upon the cool surface of the lake
through the waves sowing
the vast storms within me.
what I’m discerning
each time I open my eyes
the world’s on fire
and the Sun’s a shadow that either follows or standing
at the border between dreams
and the ashen truth
of destruction and tombstones
head towards the Sun
crawl across the dark valleys
I’m steeped in the deluge
the arid sunlight, a new season
the longer we kiss
the trees sway, shook their head
you’re going to get hurt
you’re going to cry
You unsheathe the dagger on your hip. It gleamed. Sticking the blade at her throat. You asked: “Aren’t you afraid?” She laughed: “Why should I be afraid? I know you love me.”
As pure as a water droplet
She is a spectrum of colours
As fragile as a blade of grass
A verdant oasis in our soul.
In a moon ray
bloomed a flower
like in a dream
A couple of times I would wake up in the middle of the night, but this time I found a stranger next to me. “Can I stay here with you” – the stranger would quietly plead – “there’s no other shrub left!”. I asked: “Where are you from?”. “From the village” – the stranger replied, a little less shy. It was a girl, her voice crisp, kind and sweet. Naturally, as a reflex action I would have stood up straight away, but after so many days either laying down or on my knees, my feet were like jelly, all wobbly. I could not rise further than my knees, my arms raised in front of me, not sure why. The young woman grabbed my hands, her hands soft, gently pulled me down. “Sit” – she said quietly – “they’re nearly here!”. The scent of the young woman overwhelmed my tiny familiar grove of trees. My fears were somewhat suddenly lighter. Perhaps they will come. The four hands held onto each other, locked on tighter onto each other. We stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, as though it was a preordained meeting, two pairs of teardrops rolled slowly down the two pairs of cheeks to shatter upon two pairs of youthful knees. We grabbed onto each other, groaning in the deep darkness of trees.
How did you feel when she gave you the watch on your birthday?
No longer participating in any kind of social gathering and exchange, I am often alone looking out at the mead. Completely speechless, wordless, unless another person was nearby, and it is their words that would come out of my mouth. I had in submission surrendered my lips to the people around me, while I sat and waited, to see who would be the next person. Who will pass by with talk of nothing void of a beginning nor an end? I was watchful, as though for a burglar. And of course without warning, a stranger said: “Demons meet up there on the third floor, right next to the writer’s headquarters”.
Day after day, life continues at a rapid pace, always in a rush, where people leave to seemingly never return. There are the lonely nights, the mead in disarray due to some bloody war, the thrashing of endless living, the heartbreaking screams, the gratifying splattered blood and flesh across the horizon. In the end, as the sun rises, all is back in its place as it were, any evidence erased by the wind. Where we now live, is the residence of the night, of the conspiracy to harm, of the lurking agreements and handshakes in the dark. Hence, now and then the wind howls in bitterness, now and then, the clouds weave such laden pitiful images, and the flowers, the wild daisies silently carry their pain upon a patch of meadow bleached white in snow.
By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm I climbed down the side of the rock, the grey hair man followed me ten paces behind rapidly shortening our distance. Why would he not leave me be? The salty rock surface mixed in with pools of wet coral makes for a cocktail of impending clumsy falls, gingerly I […]
a cloud’s fingers through our hair
nodding greetings at canopies of ancient trees
branching covers of a home
upon a return after a long exhausting day
wiping the sweat off with the striped cuff of a sleeve
anxieties verging on tears
with no right guideline to follow
the drifting shadows of humanity like wild daisies
innocent colours without a need for thought
I rounded up seven rainstorms on Mount Chư Mang, layered them like an apocalyptic tsunami, did you see my love, would it be so hard to believe? The storm at the very end was of an age in shorts oxen herding, stealing potato roots smearing mud chewing wiping sludge off our eyes beneath the rain. The torrent a top achingly cold came solo from afar, heard the water seeping into bone pitied the tiny innocent heart, with all his paths leading into a barren desert. Placed above is the rain from a blistering land of sandstorms sweeping away the old trees. Then above an unexpected storm on the path to a nervous breakdown during that search for fun, in the half-light the four walls of the mountain pale white, chilling, lucky though, still in my hands the warmth of another.
The male sales assistant smiled: “Yes, my wife’s also itchy when she borrowed her little sister’s legs, busted the veins on her legs opening them too wide.” I frowned: “That’s your wife’s business, my wife has a pair of very lovely long legs.”
mid the night
in the small municipal of poetry
since the veil of mourning and death
in waves continues to crash into poetry
In the middle of all the digging, an abyss appeared beneath his feet. Unable to find his shadow in time for the burial, noon, in Mount Chư Mang, he had to bury himself.
He said: “Who are we burying? Why does it feel like we’re burying ourselves?”.
“Firstly, we bury our arms. The arms tired for how many seasons, now need a rest, to stretch out, to set free the clouds of doubt, love and loss.
Only ashes remain, after the fire. And the grappling hearts. It’s us, our hearts, the remaining pieces after the burning catastrophe, can you see, us all black and blue damp with blood in the endless rising smoke. Now, no longer human, I’m finally officially free, allowed to see deep into my own heart as an outsider.