Typical Gossip

did you see her?

oh, dear god, why
did she pull
the trigger?
where did she get
the gun?

she was sweet
and caring
and everything
but now she is
no one thought she was
the kind
who could take her own

did you hear
she left a notebook
full of her life secrets?

damn, I wonder
what she wrote
in it

do you think
it would explain

I wonder
what she was
that moment
when she was alone,
in her room,
with the ugly gun
staring right into
her heart.


sometimes I feel my words falling off me one by one and I cannot catch them and I can only watch them

like that rainfall that
cannot be stopped
over the roof of my apartment

and I get lost in
the growing absence of you
it consumes me

I keep
reaching out my hands
only to see fingers hanging in the air

you’ve never held them

I wish I could dream up the warmth of skin
but my imagination has its limits
I feel helpless in my crippled poetry

you are already forgetting me
and I, not sure what to do with my dying love for you,
get up around 3 a.m.
and make myself
a cup of hot milk

there is no tomorrow
only here, this warm whiteness,
sip by sip

the night drips
out of my eye sockets
contaminating my milk


I did not try to forget you.

At the end of my day,
as I was crashing on my bed,
your voice was resounding in my head,
Don’t fall asleep in your work clothes.

The scent of food you made in my kitchen
the aroma of your face, after-shave
the angle your lips formed with a smile
the long fingers tracing down my face
– they were still there,
as if you’d never gone away.

Why are you still thinking about him?
He wasn’t worth it

Of course he was the whole time we spent together.
Lovers know best how long is forever.
Those moments I had with him,
he was worth every one of it.

The streets, the highways, the mountains, the sea
Rain, snow, winds, moon, sunrises, sunsets
We walked, we ran, we drove, we flew through them all.
Until now I cannot get used to the emptiness
of my hands.

The blinds of my window haven’t changed,
you said you liked them, for they blocked
glances from those highly unwelcome.
Thus when we made love, they were never up.

They have remained there after you left.
Glances vanished,
and so did the sun.

And so did my attempt
to forget everything about you.
It does not concern me whether you are here.
To me you are a matter of fact.
To me you are intact.
To me you love me still.

A Happy Marriage

And no matter how much he claimed he loved her with every piece of his existence,
he was always busy between 6 and 8 p.m. every Tuesday

8:30 p.m. every Tuesday, when he got home, he would
go straight to the hot bath she had prepared for him. She would like him
to do that before seeing her and kissing her, so he
would smell like sweet lavender, and she
would smell like whatever served at dinner
that night.

Strength of a Woman

And Mama said children of strength never cried in front of others, for
tears proved a lack of control. I asked, did you not cry
when you saw me for the first time? She said,
no, I restrained from screaming, and I was
With a smile,

Ever since, happiness to me
is the emptying of a stuffed stomach.

A Different Kind of Eternity

in the swollen summer days, the pressure
of what is coming to an end, the silent chaos
of the surroundings, and
the strange comfort of the new wind
completely took over everything else.
hence the slow details of day-to-day occurrences.

for there seemed to be no transition between day and night,
and light was slowly dipping into darkness,
and darkness was gently unfolding on light.

the intertwined arrays of sunshine on the clouds,
the fading sunset,
the smoke fondling the moon
all happened. all vanished.

when the eyes closed and opened
they anticipated the same thing,
and so they were served.

the aftertaste of a night’s vivid creations was sweet
like honey
like tea
and lasting
like memories that were created to haunt for a lifetime.

what was remembered and
what was forgotten
all blended together.

thus past wounds were healed,
laughs were concealed behind lips,
and time was dissolved into air
to sink them all, to rise them all,
to sew fantasies seamlessly into reality.

and maybe the dream would last,
from the juxtaposition of breath to breath,
into eternity.

không có anh

Những con đường ở đâu cũng vậy
Những hàng cây khô ở đâu cũng vậy
Những viên gạch ở đâu cũng vậy
Những nhúm cát ở đâu cũng vậy
Nơi em vừa rời khỏi và nơi em mới đến đây
Không có anh
không có anh

Một phần trăm trước khi tuyệt vọng/One percent prior to despair


Một phần trăm trước khi tuyệt vọng

những tối như tối nay tôi không thể ở trong căn phòng mình, phải tìm cớ ra ngoài.
em gái viết bảo đau đầu. ghét khoảng thời gian này trong ngày. có cảm giác muốn chết.
tôi cũng có cảm giác ấy. độ bốn đến sáu giờ chiều. những ngày này, trời mau buông tối.
một người nói, bạn đừng đến thành phố của tôi những ngày này, nỗi niềm tê tái của bầu trời khiến người ta u buồn.
tôi muốn nói, thành phố của bạn có não nề bằng thành phố của tôi?
tôi luôn rảo bước nhanh, đôi lúc thoáng sợ những người xung quanh mình.
những ánh nhìn có màu xám, nặng trĩu, như thực tại giữa tôi và họ. khoảng cách giữa chúng tôi.
trái tim của chúng tôi dường như không có nét gì giống nhau.
tôi thủy chung cùng một ai đó, tình cảm dành riêng cho anh, không muốn nhìn ai khác, không muốn nghĩ về ai khác.
nhưng không yêu anh.
không thoải mái trải lòng cùng anh. cũng không thật tin anh.
từ khi mới thở, vốn không thể tin tưởng người khác hoàn toàn, nhiều lắm đâu chừng chín chín phần trăm.
vì một phần trăm đó, chưa bao giờ tôi yêu được một người.
vừa thoáng phải lòng đã thấy mình phản bội.
vì một phần trăm.
tôi gặp một người bạn, cười nói và ăn tối.
trước khi gọi món đã hình dung ra mùi vị của món ấy trong vòm miệng.
bất giác chỉ muốn nhắm mắt lại
quên đi tất cả những điều này.
có thể, sau sáu giờ tối,
khi bóng đêm tràn khắp,
tôi sẽ vui lên một chút.
góp nhặt một chút hạnh phúc, một chút hy vọng,
không cần những gì quá lớn lao,
đưa tôi từ giây này sang giây tiếp theo bình an.
vì một chút những thứ không rõ tên,
vì một phần trăm chưa thể nào trao gửi,
tôi đã cứu mình khỏi rất nhiều lần
trước những bánh xe di chuyển quá nhanh.
trước mỗi ngày trôi qua quá nhanh.
chỉ có cơn tuyệt vọng của tôi,
thật chậm


I wrote this piece in Vietnamese then translated to English myself. Sometimes I do it the other way around – write in English then translate to Vietnamese. This process is always challenging because of the differences between both languages, yet it mesmerizes me since I love them both.

One percent prior to despair

during nights like tonight I cannot stay at my place, must find an excuse to go out.
little sister wrote about her headache. hated this time of the day. felt like she wanted to die.
I have that feeling too. around four to six p.m. these days, the night comes quickly.
one friend said, ‘do not come to my city these days, the grieving sadness of the sky makes people depressed.
I wanted to say, ‘would your city be more melancholic than mine?’
I always pick up my walking steps, sometimes slightly scared of the people around.
the glances colored grey, oppressed, like the reality between them and me. the distance between us.
our hearts do not seem to bear any resemblance.
I am loyal to someone, devote my admiration to only him, do not want to look at anybody else, do not want to think of anyone else.
yet do not love him.
do not feel comfortable unfolding my heart to him. do not really trust him.
since my first breath, I cannot fully trust others, perhaps as much as ninety-nine percent.
due to the remaining one percent, never have I ever been able to love a person.
the first glimpse of love already comes with the guilt of betrayal.
because of one percent.
I meet a friend, laugh, talk, and have dinner.
before ordering food I already imagine its flavor in my mouth.
suddenly just want to close my eyes
forget about all of this.
perhaps, after six p.m.,
when darkness emerges,
I will be slightly more cheerful.
collect some happiness, some hope,
no need for anything extravagant,
bringing me from one moment to the next safely.
because of a little of the unnamed things,
because of one percent that has not been given,
I have many times saved myself from
the wheels that move so fast.
the every day that passes by so fast.
only my despair,
so slow

Thơ về Sài Gòn

Hôm nay tự nhiên đọc được bài thơ này trên Tuổi Trẻ Online. Đơn giản, nhưng rất Sài Gòn – nắng, bụi, mưa, đông đúc, và những hàng ăn đêm…

Sài Gòn



Sài Gòn nắng đến độ
Em phủ kín khẩu trang
Ta chỉ còn biết yêu đôi mắt

Sài Gòn mưa đến độ
Ta chưa kịp xòe ô
Em đã về nhà ai ướt áo

Sài Gòn bụi đến độ
Ta lạc mất mùi nhau
Sau một chiều kẹt xe vô cớ

Sài Gòn đông đến độ
Có quá nhiều dáng người
Ta sửng sốt… là em

Sài Gòn rộng đến độ
Mười năm ta xa nhau
Chưa một lần gặp em tình cờ trên phố

Sài Gòn vui đến độ
Ta không còn đủ buồn
Để đi hết những quán đêm