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Apr 2 · 446
The Summer of 1945
Today, hunger is staring at me gauntly
Always at my elbow as I cradle my baby
Standing by my bedside when I wake up empty
Tapping on my shoulder while I pray on crooked knees
Holding my hand with every swaying step

Today, hunger is staring at me gauntly
Hunger that stops the movement of life
Hunger that taunts while I gnaw on roots and bark
Hunger that makes sense of what was once senseless
Hunger that watches the corpses pile up in the fields

Today, hunger is staring at me gauntly
Shaking each breath from my body
Face reduced to shadow, arms outstretched
I swallow my saliva and vow someday
That I would end this hunger of mine

Today, death is staring at me gauntly.
Apr 2 · 379
the sopor
breathe in…breathe out…

poison in our waters, our lands
poison in our wombs, our mouths
when is daylight? when is nighttime?
i no longer taste, see, feel
the separation
but you can’t take me.

breathe in…breathe out…

i once had a thought
forget what it could be
something subtle
distant motion, hushed voices
a pungent stench
clenched fists, a declaration
no, my memories are a cloud of ash.

breathe in…breathe out…

i desperately fear  
and desperately need
the tainted oxygen
of gray smoke
dancing through nostrils, lips,
my blackened lungs
a dance that mocks my mortality
as i slip back into the darkness
of my mind.
Apr 2 · 460
Free as Ghosts
Light and smoke
blossoms from the barrel of a gun
as they lay waste
to the only home I have ever known
and stake their claim on this land
where my ancestors toiled under a smoldering sun,
wrinkles on face,
sweat on back,
callouses on hand.

Stolen plunder
rots in gold and marble jars
while I watch my children collapse
from hunger
and my husband hang himself
on that old tree,
watered by the blood
of generations
gasping for air
under the banner of the unfree.

Tonight, I cry out
to Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle,
since the voices of my children have dried up
and my husband’s body has returned to the earth,
but I stand, an emaciated shell,
nonetheless standing
with one more scream,
one last sob,
another step,
I shall carry this banner until we all become free.
Feb 3 · 705
My city sings like a siren
Its brash tenor, an incision 
Fading into mundane life

My city rises like smoke 
From a freshly lit cigarette
Until the sickness sets in  

My city mourns like a lover
Begging for more time
Before the flame subsides

My city trembles like a sinner
Before a god 
Indifferent to her pain
Feb 3 · 475
My country meanders like a stream
Guided by impartial terrain
In search of open sea

My country reaches like a vine
For a source of warm light
Having survived winter

My country thirsts like a lily
Laid over a burning pyre
White petals wrinkling into ash

My country crumbles like a sandcastle
Fastened by childlike fantasy
Oblivious to the nearing tide
Feb 3 · 87
in your silence
i hear myself loudest
and i don’t like
what i hear

in your absence
i confront the fullness
of my longing
to know you

in your uncertainty
i pave a road
straight and narrow
and run to you

in your weakness
i encounter the immensity
of who i am
and who i can never be
Feb 3 · 79
as it were
i  b r  e    a      k
full of wasted grace
making the dry dust
that remains
my instrument
writing all the wrongs
new lyrics
for an old song
time lost
to an arcane rhythm
m      a  d
from the absurdity
of this life
that I suffer
in verse

through crescendo

and endless

Jul 2020 · 430
Tran Thuy Anh Jul 2020
Angel of dominion
Nothing drips from your mouth
More placidly than the marrow
You have indulged of me
Leaving behind a dusty vessel
That entreats to contain you
And be refilled by you

Angel of enchantment  
Tracing spirals before my eyes
With the tips of your fingers
Decaying from holy water
Pulling me higher
Towards your Cimmerian heaven
I gasp for oxygen
A lamb to cosmic slaughter

Angel of eternity
In the vacuum of your dreams
Deep in a boreal void
Where dwells a monstrous slime
I make my bed
And recite my prayers
The body dies once
But the soul, a thousand times
Mar 2020 · 443
the god who wasn't
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
your words, warm
my blood and the atoms in
my DNA, shatter
me as you lay your pious hands
upon me, gaze
passing through like fire
over water, lies
ever so still and apathetic
through it i meander, sleep
patient to possess the senses
while i crawl inside myself, and weep
slowly and elementally because
you cannot, love
me the way i need you to
Mar 2020 · 450
the pattern
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
this aching

     strikes so abruptly
     trapping me inside
     a cavernous cold

     nurtures so tenderly
     i forget i exist
     apart        from you

you tremble
with lust
and loneliness
as i fumble
for your hand
and wonder
how much longer
before i fade away
before you erase me
watching you bend
              the time
      and space
between us
but not to bring us



my vision blurs
staring at the expanse
                                               from the edge of it
and yet, i remain
where you place me
but grounded
like a tree in autumn
in case there comes
a season
when you might want
to rest
in my shade
Mar 2020 · 552
Some Questions and Answers
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
Why do I exist?
But for the promiscuous chaos
Of stardust pirouettes
And tumbling atoms
Their attraction fathomable
Through the gravity
That weighs heavy
On my heart

For whom do I exist?
But she who crumbles me
Within her palm
Into fine powder
And blows me
From her fingertips
As I evanesce
Into air

For what do I exist?
But to seek the infinite
Because the finite
Is crushing
Where I sit alone
Waiting for an end
To being alone
Mar 2020 · 346
square one
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
footsteps echo
through the high ceilings
of stony chambers
in my mind
their rhythmic paces
like a metronome
in perpetual motion
a revelation

but the cacophony
of thoughts settle
into dust
and the flames
inside my chest
the realization
that nothing is new
in this life
Mar 2020 · 613
A place
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
Take me to a place
Where clocks tick backward in time
And rust settles on churning gears
Where we fall out of synthetic love
And into sober delirium

Take me to a place
Where we trot upon petrified clouds
And reach up to a boiling sea
Where daisies bloom from lying mouths
And we bury the living amidst laughter

Take me to a place
Where everything visible is unknowable
And nothing simple is clear
Where we are birthed into extinction
And die just for somewhere to belong
Mar 2020 · 356
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
In the first light
I part the sleepy haze
Searching for you
Even though
You’re long gone
Not even your scent
Calling your name
And only hearing
The echo
Of my own voice

In the last light
I massage my limbs
Which ache from another day
Of climbing
But never quite reaching
The peak
To see from a distance
Where you have hidden
So I retreat again
Into the hollow
Of sleep
Mar 2020 · 363
Years Later
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
Years later
With every record played
And every page turned
When fine strands
Of silver hair
Drape limply
Over her shoulders
And the thin lines
Carved on her face
Remind her
Of all the moments
She has laughed
And languished
As she sits in her chair
Of faded green
And her thoughts gather
In a pile of dust
In the corner
Still, she waits
And finally she hears
A knock on the door
And turns the ****
With bated breath
Heart leaping
Then heart falling
Expecting someone
But finding no one
Standing before her
Years later
Mar 2020 · 288
Tran Thuy Anh Mar 2020
a poem
is like a breath
that forces itself
the harder you try
to keep it

a poem
comes from love
of life
or death
or another
as your heart spills
before your feet

a poem
can never be
to teach
of disappointment
and the unattainability
of all things

— The End —