A Lit Match to Burn What Your Country Doesn’t Remember

Spread the Fire

“massacre”, honey syllable-rich.
dissect the word and you can see
bodily fluids smearing like sewage
on the drainage ditch. cut the word
open and you can see the organs,
Vietnamese bodies spiced with
blood-congealed liquids. the pillaged
village opens just like a usual day,
pork loins these days of scarce subsistence,
sliced briskets you can only eat once a month
suddenly gulp bubbles to sleep on the streets.

i try to pluck my cô dì chú bác from
their endless dreams. their breaths,
smelled of newly-damned artilleries,
their mouths, stained with tiết canh red-bright.
“con đi tìm em đi” a Ma says to me
in her cradled-pulse lips. the Em,
he is circling the American soldier ferally.
his back-a coin embellished with
blood-leaked veins turning into
gibbous ribbons. come come here
and see how they’re playing:
the American soldier feeding
that newborn child of mine
with urinates-colored candies,
so many candies he looks as if
his mouth was fleshed from
toothless diabetes.

no longer spoon-fed the amber child,
the American soldier himself rummages
for new heads to shoot off. his eyes peruse
unmutilated breaths, his fingers beckon
unwaxed prey. rupture of corroded air
begs to kiss the barrel of the AK47, a kiss
[startled] startles the town into dozen coffins
being no coffins.

come come here and you can see a
famished family, too hungry
the mother’s tongue feeding itself
molasses-like gunpowders.
the 14-years-old girl’s body,
bruised with white bleached molts,
the 14-years-old girl’s body,
bleeding into blades
of sea-scented white sands,
the 14-years-old girl’s body,
a ghost. his fingers-a colony of ants
tearing away her cloths of legacy.

she turns a body no longer a body,
deformities displacing legacies.
the 14-years-old girl and now
she is no longer the 14-years-old,
the 14-years-old girl and now
white men manufacture her into a body
forgetting the crime of having a body.
she, unbaptized not being an animal
they want her to be.
she, they say her to be baptized
with the cums of white men-holy water to a body
being a nobody. she, breastfeeds him like how
massacre breastfeeds my country.

Spread the Fire is a Youth Speaks workshop series facilitated by YS Poet Mentor, Hieu Minh Nguyen. The series aims to demystify the publishing side of poetry. In the workshop, poets learn how to refine and prepare their poems for publication. The fire you spit on stage, can also scorch the page. Burning down the borders between page and stage, poets learn how their poems can gain a new life by accessing a readership through publishing. 


the world is a
symphony & I only see birds,


The only life in sight: the “E” flashing in the exit sign a few feet above my eye line.

Years Left

we will take and take until there is no more
and then what?