5 June 2017

The very last gigantic

Something may flower once & die, but that’s

Not the way I understand the world. My own belly

Flowers, glowers under an arboretum of quickening

Sea trees when I feed it miscellanea, mitochondria.

the bearing

…a planet, the bearing of it, how much longer will we keep bearing it, every moment paired together, I hear a garbled muffling of human utterance, I hear a calm fading of human utterance, her body’s utterance, my body’s utterance, the voice of cold rain, something utterly heavy, utterly difficult, utterly trembling

một nỗi ôm mang

…một hành tinh, nỗi ôm mang ấy, mình còn ôm mang thêm được bao lâu, cả khi sánh đôi nhau, tôi nghe mơ hồ tiếng người, tôi nghe lặng vắng tiếng người, tiếng cơ thể nàng, tiếng cơ thể tôi, tiếng nói lạnh hơi mưa, cái gì đó nặng quá chừng, khó quá chừng, run rẩy quá chừng

“Love for a stranger:” A conversation with Kaitlin Rees & Nhã Thuyên

In September 2016, Tongue editor Colin Cheney had the chance to attend the A-Festival in Vietnam, organized by the editors of AJAR Press. While there, he interviewed the organizers of the festival: Vietnamese poet Nhã Thuyên, and American poet and translator Kaitlin Rees.

This conversation at Blue Bird Nest Coffee in Hanoi ranged from discussions of feminism in Vietnamese literature to how to define “contemporary” poetics to the joys and consequences of a close relationship between poet and translator. We’ll also hear a reading—in their original Vietnamese and as English translation—of two of Nhã Thuyên’s poems currently featured in Issue 4.

the mirror illuminating me

a boy dreams of finding treasure, a lonely man looks at his feet stepping on other feet that belong to his own shadow, faint marks of teeth pile on the shoulder of some strange girl who has come into the world before me, and my hand pressed against the mirror, from now on i know

nothing but beating

will someone still be waiting for me there, waiting for a lacking feeling, will someone miss me there, missing a feeling of missing, someone to love me always, someone to tumble around my tongue tasting of hot coffee, i can step out and step back in yes, how many times, or i never stepped out, someone turns the fever’s music up across my skin driving me insane and fragile, even the ashes still are crying to be burned once more, once more, once more

A Rendering

Here is a man’s chest inked with water and charcoal tapped into the skin with thorns. Here, look: a small frieze of X’s, another of arrowheads near the meeting of his ribs. And there: tessellations become snakes’ scales, then a wreath of shadows