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Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Contemplating life
over a hot bowl of soup,
my mindful mentor
passed me
the pleasure of oyster
to mix in with
the pain of chilies
stirred together by
chopsticks held in my hands.

There he taught me
the lesson of humanity
and the person's potential,
pointing at me
and then back at the bean sprout,
fiddling it in his chopsticks
as if he were God,
mentioning to me
"This sprout and you have plenty alike..."

"What do you mean?
How am I like a vegetable?"

He smiled and nodded to disagree,
"Life is not always physical.
Think for a second,
open your fragile closed mind.
Imagine this soup not just a bowl
but instead a cauldron,
the mixing of different elements,
sensations seared by heat
to create the luxuries we call
the world where you
are a mere bean sprout."

Looking at the small, colorless
tasteless, inferior plant,
I wondered, confused and asked:
"Am I so inferior in this world
that I cannot compare
to the rich flavor of beef,
to the nurturing noodles,
to the accenting spices,
but instead am no more
than a flavorless root?"

Yet my mentor laughed,
and patiently passed:
"You worry too much young one,
too much on yourself you blame.
Instead, take upon consideration
that the bean sprout is small,
fragile, tasteless like water;
there is nothing you can change
other than size and color,
but lower it into the soup
and patiently stir,
allow it to soak up the world
and obtain its potential."

I repeated his actions,
placed myself in the world,
sat patient and absorbed its essence,
and then removed it,
placed it to my lips.
Surprised that what I later discovered
was not a bland taste of disappointment arose
but instead what lingered to the tongue
was the sweet taste of near perfection.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
read consistently,
learn diligently,
and write profusely

so that beyond lifetimes
of persistent practice
produced from painful,
arthritis-stricken fingers
may you birth a humble book

in its eternal years,
as many mute manuscripts,
it shall collect continents of dust
until it finally bares relevance
due by your unfortunate
final, unheard breaths.

but near such justly demise,
you will rage and reach forth,
to hope an innocent youth
may learn the many mistakes
collected and condensed
from one life to years to weeks,
summarized by your trembling hands.

yet I fear, as you may too,
that as we fade from existence,
our voice echoes lost;
our words unread forever,
to exist untouched
as a decorative piece
on a pretentious bookshelf.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Parody of A Red, Red, Rose" by Robert Burns

"A *****, ***** Cat"

O my Boop’s like a *****, ***** cat,
That was newly born last year;
O my Boop’s like the father’s fear
That’s constantly exposing her rear.

As cute art thou, my pillow case,
So damp in ****, am I;
And I will throw thee far, my pet,
Till a' the sheets air dry:

Till a' the sheets air dry, my pet,
And thy heat melt wi' the embrace;
I will ne’er sleep still, my pet,
While I rest, her **** frozen in my face.

And spay thee soon, my noisy Boop,
And spay thee soon tomorrow or now
Yet I will forget again, my Boop,
And be cursed with thy deathly meow.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Each year when time
changes forward,
I intentionally forget
to switch the old,
reliable clock,
finding comfort each morning
when reading its deceptive hands
to appreciate that
there is always
an extra hour left
to live,
to sleep,
to experience.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
If I were to ask
"who are you"
would you take the time
to have a conversation
with me and share your:
likes and dislikes,
loves and fears,
dreams and worries,
and strengths and insecurities,
becoming closer
as we had set out to be?
Or would you remain
my anonymous acquaintance
and simply share
only your name?
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Through sweat-filled labor
and unrelenting love,
my patient parents
meticulously molded
strong shoes to fit,
making each effort efficient
and all materials durable
so that if I were to walk
the path full of broken glass,
my skin would not tear,
my spirit not diminish,
and through their sacrifices,
prevent my blood
from staining the street.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Many of the most profound pieces of poetry
May not have been dreamed and transferred
In particular manners professional,
And many of the most practiced writers
May not have been as noble nor indicative
As their readers would imagine and preach.
This concern thus produces a humorous conclusion
That through probability, possibility, and realism,
Many of the greatest and most inspiring words
Passed down to our misguided generation,
May have been conceived, scribbled, and explored
From the humble origins of atop a toilet.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Multiple beautiful faces,
immaculate complexions,
and precise, practiced grins.
It's easy to understand
why it makes me thirsty;
they invented bottled bliss,
eagerly and professionally selling:
beauty, happiness, companionship---
all for the price of $1.50 with tax
at the cost of only my dignity.
Affordability and availability,
it's no wonder it's high in demand.
The American success story:
to sell simple desires
to the lazy, naïve man,
who believes he can't
obtain them otherwise.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Call me the butterfly maker,
for I the distracted crafter
often carves irregular squares
from changing planes of vision
into visual planes, flying
as monarchs migrating home.

Call me the snowflake cloud,
for I the cold observer
often molds objective droplets
from forgotten formalities
into memorable figures, coveting
as blankets embracing dirt.

Call me the stone sculptor,
for I the traveling poet
often lifts stone castings
from feeble footprints
into familiar portraits, beckoning
as mothers procuring peace.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
In the year 2015,
instantaneous expectations
condition behaviors exponentially
that veteran social media robots
efficiently reduce their average
characters in texts and posts
as often as the characters
who exist in their memoirs.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
I fear that my insight
will be interpreted as "deep"
and in a sense it may be true
since I can feel the loose dirt
being shoveled over my head
by critics and hypocrites
who passively preach
while staring down:
that to be a normal person,
one must close their mind
and rather than retaining
creative ideas,
they should bury them.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
A Haiku:

A child saw a man
dead, hanging from the gallows:
"He missed a letter."
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Parody of "l(a" by e. e. cummings

e(               j(               a(
me             de             pr
di               ad             op
af               bla            ert
air              ck             yd
ne              bo            am
ss)             ys)           age)
qua            ust           tten
lity              ice           tion
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Even through all the eggs

A reliable chicken can provide,

The farmer still takes the knife

For enough is never enough.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
                                                Lives live like lyrics
                                                From popular radio songs
                                                Where the guy gets the girl,
                                                The girl is the prom queen,
                                                And they party the night away.
                                                Seems to ****** those who fail
                                                Who go at such lengths to achieve,
                                                Yet what is it in its moment
                                                That feels so fine, taste so sweet;
                                                What does it truly mean?
                                                I stand still, watching them gain
                                                Again and again, repetitious,
                                                Always comparing the scale,
                                                Watching their side stand strong
                                                As mine catapult into the air?
                                                Many like them know the pain
                                                Of watching others win as I lose
                                                In this competition of competence,
                                                Where mine don’t measure
                                                To their minds complete.
                                                In the cars and the clothes
                                                As my cries contained creep
                                                From crevices and cracks
                                                That I hide through sinister smiles
                                                Conveying careless comparisons.
                                                Have more, you have it all,
                                                And in this picture, you stand tall
                                                As I shrink down to this little form:
                                                Invisible, unworthy, inadequate;
                                                To you:  I am worthless.
                                                Punches the powerless,
                                                Deepening bruises self-inflicted
                                                From this mind that cannot mend
                                                The idea that we are all different
                                                And success is deemed the same.
                                                I remain, sobbing still and silent,
                                                No action planned nor taken,
                                                Waiting for success to land in my palm,
                                                Focusing too much on the artists
                                                Instead of using such lyrics as
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
The beauty of poetry
expands far beyond
the immersive imagery,
tongue-painted metaphors,
and whimsical similes
used to portray the artists'
vivid hallucinations.
No amount of consistent,
thorough editing,
no amount of precision
in thesaurus culminations,
nor the long-learned,
dextrous techniques,
fined-tuned throughout
fortitudinous refinements
undermine the essence:
the exact moment in time
where a poem is
experienced, engaged,
and ultimately conceived---
the epiphany.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Why is it easy
to casually disregard
the kind consequences
produced by
innate goodness,
that if a day may come
when a simple act
of honest, good will
would befall you,
that you would
so graciously accept.
Yet if provided
the opposite spectrum,
the few moments
of pain and betrayal,
would you assign
accountability to
the innocent majority?
Why is it that
when a good deed
is often performed, it is:
"Faith restored in humanity"?
As if we cynically
presume and accept
that the world is dark,
that all fathers abuse their sons,
that all mothers **** their daughters,
that all must fear at every second
as if good nature does not exist.
Do we take for granted
order and morality
up until misfortunate
consumes our souls?
Would it not be more appropriate
that amongst the immense
majority of good nature,
that a single occurrence
of negative circumstance
be dutifully deemed
a "Stain marked in humanity"?
I worry for those
whose perspectives
pervert and distort
the personal worlds
that there is a need
for faith to be restored.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Forbidden plant
Mixes with fire,
Inhaled deep,
Held within
Until it burns;
Cough it hard,
Raise the chin,
Sit up straight,
All change color
Of pinks and purples,
Yellows and greens;
Sights beyond
Fade to black:
Amateur cinematics.
Stumbling feet
Throws car keys
To the conscious smile,
Who drives at 55 mph
When the dash reads 15.
Sit and rest,
Gather those thoughts;
Pessimistics argue
Mundane topics,
As the mind wanders
Through dark skies,
Picking and pondering
The out of reach stars
Before awaking
With sleepy regret.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
A dear friend once asked
For memory's sake
That we share a picture.
Upon such request,
Camera in hand,
I intentionally left the cap on the lens,
And took the blank image
"Now you'll just have to remember."
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Dust settles on stones,
Turned and burned to gain
The gems grabbed in greed.
Then steal again, held in hand,
Hot from the heat of another---
Is really obtained in this pursuit
Of provisions, power, and pride,
Where “my mountain is bigger”
Beats “can we climb it together”;
One falls, the other wins.
You intend to leave a man,
Homeless and deprived,
Leaving outside a foreclosure sign
In such despicable design
To claim “what is mine”?
Fought and kicked down
Enemies, spitting at the body
To establish what once envied
Now become reality through
Knuckles bruised onto faces red.
All that you want,
Despite the taunted
That will haunt those who fell
To the ground underneath
Your powerful foot.
Less stressful childhood times,
Remember sitting during lunch
With a pack of gummy bears,
Sorting out shapes and colors,
Asking, “would you like another?”
Selfishness has grown greatly
Through each passing year
Planting the seeds of tomorrow...
Contemplating this newfound greed:
Is selflessness near its
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
In a universe of acquaintances,
My eyes happen to meet yours,
A smile forms from your frown,
As for a moment we recognize.
I watch you raise your hand
Like an alien lifting an extension,
Making a motion for friendship.
I follow your moments,
Afraid of breaking the norms
Set in place by confusing creatures,
Colliding two palms together:
Rough and brief.
Yet between the empty crevices
On our palms, wind blows through
Easily without obstacle.
So close, yet so distant,
And with that action, apparently
We are friends...
But I don't know you,
You don't know me.
We just share our obscure gestures,
Turn around, walk away,
Fulfilling a temporary satisfaction
That we are not alone.
I imagine this ritual strange
In the eyes of aliens,
Watching from a distance
Not as far as the space
Between our palms.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
If you build a wooden statue of my father,
I will break it down to pieces to build a home
and light a fire to warm my freezing wife.

If you leave food offerings for my mother,
I will collect and cook them to provide a feast
that will feed my hungry son.

If you commemorate a pond for my ancestors,
I will draw multiple buckets to cleanse wounds
and offer water to my thirsty daughter.

If you ***** a golden statue in my memory,
I will instruct my predecessors to smelt me down
into small pieces and spread wealth to my family.

If you wish to remember good souls and actions,
celebrate them by giving to those in need.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
I lie awake contemplating,
an insomniac stricken with
the explorer's mind
that wanders in search for exciting possibility;
the revolutionary heart
that fights for an unknown positive change;
an ignorant soul
that believes that all is possible;
and a weak man's body
that takes the punishment.
The power is out,
the heating is turned off
as a dimming flashlight flickers
like the light of a flame,
but such shimmers onto
white, blank walls
provide the backdrop
of cerebral cinemas
playing blurry features
of painful pasts
where lessons are learned;
of the struggling present
where limits are tested...
I lie awake, contemplating,
a stomach empty, rumbling
because of forced financial responsibility,
a body aching from mandatory life labor,
silence from those I seek
for help, for comfort, for a voice
to aid these ears that
no longer can simply hear silence
but instead the loud shouts
of a conscious trying to persuade
a feeble mind into conformity
using what the eyes see,
what patterns the memory recognizes
as refutable evidence.
Would it not be so easy
to live the life of a normal man
or live the life of a normal woman,
carefree, to enjoy the youth
in ecstasy, without care
of the future?
Would it not be easy
to instead spread out
each M&M; to small hands
around and instead
empty each piece into my mouth?
And if I were to see a woman
crying on the bench,
would I choose to sit and sew
the torn fragilities of human vulnerability
to risk punctuality...
Would it not be easy?
To live life to oneself
to one's own need
to one's own desires
without care of the future...
But during these cinemas
on my dark bedroom wall,
I see poverty within the past,
I see pain through the present,
and because of that I fear the future
that maybe the precious time
spent on these late night contemplations
will amount to nothing,
that in time the mind withers
and ultimately dies
blank as it began.

Yet I wonder, to act on impulse
leads many to mimic
society that surrounds
the observant eye
who has a mind, but is afraid...
Am I a man who is different?
Or am I a man who is the same?
Or is it that in this finite spectrum
of infinite possibility of these
two questions: I stand in the center
unable to place a point
and remain stationary?

I lie awake contemplating
of personal practicality
that if these thoughts will impact
any eyes, ears, or minds
as separate as they can be.
I hope that in time,
these thoughts will be refined
after being confined
and eventually redefined.
Maybe then these poems will make sense,
or that any of these arrangements
of words taken straight from thought
will translate to normal English
for it is not the curve of a "y"
that should matter in the marking
of a name, but instead the name itself.

As the films end
in memories' credits
where people are listed anonymously,
the flashlight flickers,
the stomach growls,
the body weary,
and the mind drifting
but the eyes wide open;
with few thoughts
left in the darkness,
a paintbrush childishly
draws an insomniac
who contemplates his past,
who recognizes his present,
and who is afraid of his future
but faces it even as
the flashlight dies.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
I mourn not for the silent voices
whom hide behind practiced smiles,
but rather for the weeping authors
of anonymous autobiographies
where pages smudge and smear
by worn, overused erasers.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
I, the humble poet,
who counsels anonymously,
is cursed with complexity:
seeking endlessly
for structured simplicity,
trekking tirelessly
through modern mediocrity,
and examining closely
at psychological obscurity
and sociological hypocrisy---
aiming to teach attentively
to those who read closely.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Parody of Langston Hughes's "I, Too, Sing America"

I, too, speak “American”.

I am the yellow father.
They send me to entertain in accents
When company comes,
But I smile,
And learn quick,
And grow smart.

I'll preach at the podium
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Listen to his accent,"

They'll hear how articulate I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, speak “American”.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
it's an ironic pity
that in the culmination
of every second
I've wasted in
apathetic procrastination,
an ambitious child
of less opportunity
could have achieved
amazing feats.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Her love thoroughly coats
like cat hair on a black jacket:

encompassing from front to back,
tickling playfully underneath armpits;

overwhelming from tiniest to long,
armies of glistening lines on dark planes;

catching gazes close and far,
stigmatized for being so noticeable;

sickening to envious and hallow hearts,
allergic to solemn, broken souls;

and yet despite the nuisance
that comes with such fashion,
it is relieving, comforting, and pleasing
because it reminds me
that the house isn't empty
and that I am not alone.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Like father, like son,
baby Michael
had the habit
of leaving his empty bottles
all around the house,
crying as none
could hear his plea
for help.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
To: Thomas

Message: hey did u reed that bok
bout Chauser cuz i didnt
get it.  Its jus 2 hard 2
read n i dont kno y
we r doin this.
I meen we r good @ talkin
in our english so y r we
reedin all of this ol ****?

Who needs it or even cares?

Canterbury Tales?  Mor lik
LOL.  its like 2 long but
txt me bk cuz I dont get it
n ned help 4 the test.
TTYL, busy day sooo gotta g

~<3 Becky

Sent at 2:00pm April 2, 2011
This poem was created in an experimental form: texting.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
"May These Words"

May these words in ink
live longer than those in breath
and endure the repeated age
where hypocrisy preaches
at the public podium,
shaking hands with Dishonesty
who covers the news.

May these observations on pages
paint brighter than hesitant eyes that fade
and illustrate the wrathful ghosts
that whisper false truths
on rain-coated sidewalks,
following Rage's footsteps
who vehemently scorns at children.

May these impressions on paper
dig deeper than those in spiteful hearts
and teach the patient students
who intently and diligently listen
within the congested parade's protest,
that screams for their master's attention
in exchange for their human rights.

May these humble reminders
be retained more often than my memoir
which reads euphoric epiphanies
commonly received as the norm,
learned from anonymous sources,
shared collectively by avid readers
who seek comfort in the man-made future.

May you forget my name, but quote my legacy
more as common sense than new ideas
for a poet's crumbled, graphite-soaked papers
change less than the actions of people
who march together, who sing together,
who work together, who smile together---
the singular entity worthy of remembrance.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
May your contribution
to the thread of life be more
than reminders of your vanity.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
I stay wary
of the winds and rain
which may sully my shoes.
I am not a creator of weather,
thus unavoidable, I walk forward.
Yet, the passing storm
is not responsible
for tying my laces,
that if I were to stumble,
trip and fall into agony,
it will be of my own doing.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
We all derive from the same paper
that which is forcefully folded,
patiently pressed and
carefully creased.

We all speak through the same pen
that wishes for stencils,
grimacing at unpracticed,
crooked lines.

We all take action with the same scissors,
cutting away from the whole
to create paper people
holding hands.

We all are constructed in the same accordion,
snipping away the background
that falls like snowflakes
to create identity.

We all fear severing the same sections
that conjoin one being to another,
waiting with knives in our hands,
anticipating to cut.

We all fall from the separation,
slicing the connections that bind us,
sacrificing our grip
that suspends us in safety.

We all meet at the bottom
of the same paper shredder,
lost in the screams of its blades,
obsessing ourselves to be
broken pieces of an individual,
but forgetting that we paper people
once all derived from the same paper.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Passion is:
Tea tree oil seeping through a crack in the bottle.
The opening guitar rift during a band’s first tour.
Your favorite spice spilt from a loosened cap.
The half-lighted dynamite stick within the glass body.
The timeless, physical tension before the first kiss.
A hundred, helium balloons held down by one string.
The hallucinating genius who trades sleep for progress.

Passion is the restrained ambitions of the insanely devoted.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Out all of the
of pistachios
that lay in the
empty crevices
of my palm, you
are the saltiest
and most bitter,
of which takes
the most effort
to crack open
that pale, thick
almost impenetrable
to obtain your
sweet nourishment.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
My teacher once
that if you placed
a brilliant diamond
before a clear mirror,
you would only see
the reflection of
that brilliant diamond.
With that knowledge,
I placed you
before that same mirror,
and asked why you
still argued against logic.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Let these words manifest,
collecting light particles
to form blinding orb pairs:
weightless, mysterious---
unrecognizable to untrained eyes.

Let these condensed suns travel
at their own patience pace
down the desperate path:
unaware, hunting---
aiming to impact with wanderers.

Let this vehicle of literature
resonate earth and air
as they who stand before:
afraid, curious---
awaiting the damage yet inflicted.

Let the impact pass like typhoons,
thrashing warm winds and caressing rains
to sooth the fragile forsaken soul:
trembling, confused---
contemplating the value of their breath.

Let the moment remain frozen,
growing between forever and never,
sending important subliminals to foresight:
love, patience---
reminding the willingly forgetful.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
On dusty, aging shelves
rest countries of minds
drying in paper jars:
mummified in culture,
embalmed in ink,
reincarnated in conscience.

Go forth! Adorn walls and altars
to honor epitomes of thought:
precise rhetoric of Socrates,
vivid horrors of Dante,
articulate utopias of Moore,
cryptic lessons of Sa'di,
heroic voices of Shakespeare---
all epiphanies of poets
and projections in prose
collected together.

Yet if ignored and neglected,
such wisdoms are wasted,
and intellectual temples
aimed to inspire and instruct
remain silent, standing crypts.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Your commitments and word
Are inks stained on cold skin
Taken without pain sacrificed,
Easily washed away in water:
Simple imitations...
That at its essence
Mock the sanctity and identity
of actual tattoos.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
The curse of my life:
I, the man who seeks
to learn and educate
the intricate world around,
tends to channel
such impulsive energy
into meaningless apathy,
where efforts only mold
into clever epiphanies
that only entertain ears
who may listen
for but a second.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
In good nature
or a manipulative experiment,
I continued to devour
your last leftovers
from boxes signed
in your name,
as average roommates do,
cluttering the sink
with such vile remains
under murky waters, stagnant
from congested plumbing,
all in hopes to one day
hear your voice.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
If the shadows were not bound
by the sciences of light,
sometimes I wonder and fear
if it too would leave me behind,
because I do not fear
being separated in the dark
where mercy blinds the eyes.
I am instead terrified
that when the darkness lifts
and the world illuminates with clarity,
I will be standing alone.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
She cried throughout the night
with her eyes the painter,
her pillow their canvas,
creating the most beautiful
portrait of you.

How such inspirations
deserve such art
is the mystery of love.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Despite all my efforts:
of scrubbing off the oils
settling on my skin,
of dousing heavy colognes
to cover away the perfume,
of covering in ice water
to mask away the warmth,
and persistent use of alcohol
to sanitize germs left behind,
through every physical method
practical and possible,
I could not easily erase
the trace of your hand.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
In a random experiment,
I ask all to each bury a journal
about worshiping pandas,
thinking that in 200-or-so years,
when apocalypses come and go,
it will be taken from the time capsule.
And as they read the verses
I will hope for laughter
but fear them to believe it true.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
To create an ice sculpture:

Shave too little and none will notice.
Shave too much and it may break.
Wait too long and it will melt.
Wait even longer and you may forget.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
They aim to blind
through the hidden abuse
of pepper spray,
but they forget that
I've been punished
(wrongfully) before.
My body remembers
the fiery sting,
punches and kicks
from abusive
but they forget
that in due time
my muscles grow bigger,
my punch flies faster,
and I grow tolerance.
Whether such
produces patient
or conditions the body
to react in violence
depends solely on
where they aim,
what they project,
and if I remain still.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
To my child:

In your rash attempts
to fight and secure yourself
a piece of the pie,
I hope you may be patient
and offer to those
who have yet to taste it.
Hao Nguyen Apr 2016
Time, as the bookkeeper,
who is perfectly punctual
yet pays little attention to pace,
often lets sands fall quickly
in the eternal hourglass.

This patient negligence
turns material possessions to antiques
occasionally handled but not bought;
turns shrinking bodies to ash or dust
that settles beneath the infinite grains;
and turns short-lived words to quotes,
vividly and enthusiastically chattered
by our fragile grandchildren.

If a single sand could beckon to Time,
which would it beg to preserve?
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