#about giving up

When you say it like that, you make it so believable.

– And Even If Love Was Lost, Unknown Chapter –

When you say it like that, you make it so believable, I say.

I can still remember the scenery.

The sky is blue, the sunlight passes through you, and the faint shadow of summer leaves

make me think that for a moment, perhaps time had stood still

for us, for the youth within us and the youth outside of us.

The world is still young.

When you say it like that, you make it so believable, I say.

Your voice’s timbering on the canal of my ears.

The sweet sound of the rain on the tin roof.

I sit inside the house and look out –

the baked earth evaporates into these small fragments of the things I’d lost.

And in this country, you already know that the rain never stops.

On and on, the sweet sound of the rain on the tin roof

has been timbering on the canal of my ears.

When you say it like that, you make it so believable.

That we will have another life.

That we will have time to make up for it, no matter what it is.

That we will have lives.

The world is still young and honey, perhaps we were not made for it.

We were not made to last – no human is.

We were not made to stand still while time is moving on

and trampling all over us.

We were not made to endure the pains and the sufferings.

But on that very night – on the night that separation filled the air,

on the night that the rain ran the air until morning,

on the night where the songs kept playing on repeat,

on the night we learned to lean on a fragile shoulder,

when you say that we will be passing through,

that you will be here, and I will be here,

and for a thousand years,

the waves will not erase what has been carving on the sand –

Your vigor, and the night is still young.

Honey, when you say it like that –

you make it so believable.

#leave a message

I will call you back next week.

K.

I will be checking my mailbox more often.

M.

She’s a wolf.

When the moon strikes at midnight and its blue light paints a shadow of pain,

she turns into this hideous creature

moving along the shops’ window panes:

her claws leave red blood on the pavements and her hair falls down the well;

is it her blood or someone else?

And even if she knows the answer, will it make any difference?

She’s a beast.

Her heart grows as big as the old fairy tales.

Perhaps when she was born, a witch left a curse on it.

A curse that looks like a red claw mark of the wolf looking at her:

His yellow eyes still haunt her dreams.

I will call you back, he said;

I will check the message you left, he said;

She doesn’t know what to do when she hear words like that,

because the wolf always leaves in the end.

She’s the moon.

Though there are hollow abysses and craters on her face,

she still manages to ride through the waves,

and when her beauty shines – once in a while – on the full moon night,

she brings the silver ocean to his lover, the shore:

She knows that now and forever more,

there’s no love for a moon that’s a thousand hundred miles from it.

She’s a girl.

Broken and destroyed and rusty – you name it.

She wasn’t born this way, she promised you that,

but the rest is as old as time, and she never mentions it.

Of course she knows lies when she hear them, she said,

but how can one give up on hope?

And when she asks you that, you will be stunned.

You don’t know if she can distinguish truths from fiction,

or whether she sees through your facade.

You wonder what she wants: loyalty or another hurtful breakup.

Perhaps it will help your conscience when you know that

she’s been long used to both.

I will call you back, you said,

And I will check my mailbox more often, you said.

She smiles through and through, I know.

She’s a human.

In A Coffee Shop

I drank a cup of coffee

to outgrow my madness and sadness;

Never know whence they come

nor when they’ll leave.

You ask me, What’s wrong

with a little sadness?

And I say, Honey, if the human condition

means the sadness will never leave or let me be,

I refuse to be a human

or half a human.

I heard the trees’ conversation: Love is in the air.

It’s hard to believe in them though, when you see they can’t even keep

their leaves.

I look out the window of the coffee shop.

It seems the people all have their place to be,

A place to call home.

What do you consider a home? You say,

and I wanted to make a remarkable answer

to sweep you off your feet.

But your nimble fingers on the straw

and your red lipstick print fading out on it

keeps me from thinking seriously about any matter at all.

I don’t know, I say, What is a home to you anyway?

The bustling street outside keeps you occupied

and my question is thrown away in an ocean

of noise. Of life. Of you and me, being nowhere near each other

than the start of this conversation.

Will you still be here, I say, when your lipstick completely fades out?

What nonsense, you say, Of course I will be here:

After all, I just need to retouch my lipstick.

And I feel like crying then, No, it’s not like that.

But amidst the slow drizzling outside the coffee shop windows,

I find myself to always be a constant nonsense.

Never mind that, I smile, wiping off your lipstick, Put it on again,

and let’s stay for another minute.

Because you will never understand

the loneliness of being human, and it will be fine

to stay another minute

while your lips are still red.

Fare thee well

Fare thee well

It’s been a long battle, and

I thought we could be more than comrades wearing the same scars and

the same little memorandum on our forehead

saying we have lost.

Fare thee well

It’s been a long war.

A meaningless, gruesome war

where you grow on your comrades’ corpses

and there’s nothing else you can do

but to wonder when it will be your turn to fall down.

Really, fare thee well.

Go on home. The war is over.

And I heard that we have always been on the losing side.

But what does it matter?

You leave without a turn of the shoulders and in the torrent of rain,

I wonder if you cry.

I don’t know what to say, except that I hope you find it now:

your happiness and your wishes;

your dreams and your hopes;

because who else are out there in the darken field

but us two?

Fare thee well, fare thee well.

It’s been a long battle, and now

let’s go on home.

Since You’ve Been Gone

To M. and the memories we shared.

Since you’ve been gone,

I don’t even know if I’m outside more

or if I’m just staying inside and imagine that I’m still on the outside.

I visited the café at the corner – they’ve just opened;

the menus are all new and the chairs are made of old shaven wood

but all I can think about

is how you would enjoy the wooden decor and the hand-painted walls

and how we would talk on and on about how coconut milk is not

real milk.

Since you’ve been gone,

I don’t know if checking my emails each 5 seconds had, naturally,

grown to be my happiness;

or if I had simply let it become a part of my happiness, grudgingly.

I remember your habit of putting smileys at the end of each sentence,

how you always say I should treat myself better,

how you never care for an honorific at the beginning of the letter,

or how you just end the emails with a simple period

like the story of us.

Since you’ve been gone,

I adopted another cat.

No one in my house like him.

He suffered abuse and now he doesn’t know how to act around human:

Just like me.

I wonder if kindness will fix him up

because it surely didn’t fix me.

I don’t know if I should wait and see the final act of this theatrical story

or if I should just stand up and walk out.

Since you’ve been gone,

there is a lot of things I learn

but I couldn’t learn how to trust me,

or anyone else ever again.

A Rose for My Mother, Part IV

I wonder if you cry in the shower,

when you are left alone with your thought and

there was no one around you to put on a show for:

A show of strength,

of bravery,

of someone who is fearless of death

and fearless of victory.

I wonder if you cry in the kitchen,

when you are alone, preparing meals,

making thankless breakfasts, lunches, dinners,

and countless other thankless meals

that everyone around you takes for granted.

You put in the seasonings as you put out

the candles of your happiness.

You often talk about your dreams of being

a cai luong actress,

a chief,

a singer,

and any other roles in life other than

a mother of two sickly children,

a wife of an abusive and lazy husband,

a sister-in-law of an in-law family that consist of nothing but

gamblers and addicts.

I wonder if you cry in your sleep,

when your dreams take over and you see yourself standing on the stage,

finally being the actress that you are so dearly crave for,

and again, there will be no one around

to break the wall of the fragility of dream

and reality.

But the morning always come,

and Mother, you will always be burden with me.

I wake up from my seizure fit and see,

Indeed, it’s true,

you have always been crying this whole time and

I have never been awaken enough to see your tears

burning down time,

crashing through dreams,

tearing down walls of strength and the fragility of being human,

to save me from being me.

Indeed, there is no one here and you don’t have to put on a show.

And even if there is a crowd here, why do you even need to put on a show?

Who will see it? And what will they do?

But as I lay there in the madding crowd, Mother, there is one thing I believe,

If there is only one true God in this World,

My one true God is You.

A Rose for My Mother, Part III

I don’t know what to say to you, Mother,

to amend your sadness and sorrow.

Apologies and gratitude, Mother,

seems so useless and meaningless now.

The other day you told me the story about my sister –

who had struggled to survive Autism on her own and

failing at that, is now just passing through her life in a breeze

of nothingness and shallow graves.

You said when she was still a young infant child,

she never slept; so you had to hold her up in your arm and

sitting up all night, worrying that

maybe the ghost of the war will take your child away,

or the ghost of the dawn will take you away.

You said it was a miracle that you hadn’t gone insane then and I thought to myself,

Mother, after all these years, it is a miracle

that you hadn’t, even once, fallen down the spiral of depression and

the curse of mental illness.

I collapse on the floor, tears falling down one side of my face,

and the first thing I see

is always you, there with me.

Wake up, honey, wake up, honey.

I muster the strength.

I gather the courage.

I unbutton the bravery and

I bring down the savage.

But Mother, dearest Mother,

the apologies are getting boring and

the gratitude can’t even getting nearer to what you had done –

what you had sacrifice to keep your two children alive – and now

at the age of forty-five,

you don’t need no apologies nor gratitude.

You only need to be free.

And Mother, you don’t know how much I yearn to have the power to grant you that wish.

#pretend

You say when you are walking out the door

that you will be back home when the tide hit the shore and honey,

I don’t know if I should believe in you or

if I should believe in the Schrodinger’s cat:

fearing the tomorrow that

you may or may not come home to where I am.

You say you are lonely and to be honest,

I should take that as a hint to leave because

no sane person would see the abyss and think to themselves,

I want to jump in.

But darling, I am the kind of person who

always dream of the me and you.

The kind of person who know that whether you come back or not:

it doesn’t matter.

Because my hobby is to hold on to hopes

that are far above my reach

and beyond my grave.

You say when you walk out the front door

that you will be back soon and furthermore,

we will get married.

But darling, seeing the suitcase in your hand,

and ticket of the plane you are taking,

I know better that to believe in

the abyss,

the hopes,

and the empty promises that you keep giving out freely to any girls you meet.


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