(ISSN: 1527-5467)
the magazine of Literature & Literature-in-translation.


JUL 2005














               MAI VAN PHAN



                  six poems by  MAI VAN PHAN

                              (translated by Do Xuan Oanh)



                 Arrow of darkness

From imagination

and deep aspiration

I pulled out arrows

and left to find aim for the day


Around me targets stayed motionless

Here lotus rhizones huddled in lake bottom

There naked children ran into me over forty years before

I vaguely gazed at the confused


Each arrow traced a rapid flying line

Through dimension of time and space

Through outlook of life and world

And I believed had hit the target


When stooping at the foot of twilight

Darkness was seen more piled up than before

Suddenly many holes were discovered

Lamps were just lit on the river


       Halt for thinking... a time when steering wheel failed

among those cars expired of validity

retina suddenly open to shroud death




where limit continued and ended

optimistic and lamentable

flashed my spirit swiftly escaped

bird wing glossed like sword threw into the air

like dust...


worst was when the body had to turn into

diamond or platic



suddenly bloomed in memory

where souvenirs cramped

flower couldn’t tear away from branch


fragrance called the soul of things

assimilated symbolic picture

twined so many beautiful matters

grieved and regretted

soft finger weaved to old hand

always weaved

always revolved without it fitted


too seductive

how could you bear it

carried you up

and squeezed tighter

coming to ore seam to explore memory

too far away

shivered dizzy of obstacles and dangers


imagined you understand me

to be loved

body had offered


       Screech from the door

Echo in the dream became thunderbolt

on the old bed

again returned the wide land surface

smell of rotten field raised gloomy rain

stuck to the sweat of mat and blanket

fate of stork

sunk in depressed screen

sloping furrow just rest

on pasted alluvium to fill ear hole

palm uproared of shrimp and fish

man walked to blow off earth and crumble bank

tried to keep cool and remind in delirium

before the sound of thunderbolt was that of hoe

and much before was tree catching abyss

sound of thunderbolt left without echo

to communicate with abyss nor a narrow path

screech from the door

paved the way.


       Prayer No 18

         (Excerpt from Prayers)


Wind swimming wide hugged butterfly wing flickered bird song falling frozen enlightened fragrance of motionless melody scented lips corner trembled dry blood effigy together with effigy shade turned into fossil.

Bottom of deep heart sucked corpse placenta unsuccessfully filled up space without signboard alternated altar hung bee hive stained of joss-stick smoke sprayed poison liquid blurred shade of saint gnawed concrete bottom to pieces corner confused lamp rhythm not off in time dimly lighted feet traces kowtowed and waited for rotten fruit to fall into regret.

Hanging about dark alley many looks of square moulded from jaw bone always in position to scream and oscillate single pendulum in narrow background percussion noise stopped itself without the cause was known hunted to terminal panic and turned head to pity the road that only knew how to trace aimless lightning without being able to tangle and burn.

Space dense of dumb thunder all motions had now been meaningless another life began to sprout from hard callous surface.

Shade struggled back into body eating up explanation open a time of requiem eyes spread soft corner suddenly appeared firmament from the way of looking at clock hand got into a fit of quiver even if screamed or remained silent no way of touching the sap of young fruit.


       Wish for resurrection

The sea behind border flared up

sung in nakedness, misled, bursting

tree congealed of resin

body without antibody

quietly died


All had no fear of death


Troubled pollen mixed with corpses of butterfly and bee

Eyeball exploded outside eyeglass

Teengirl tongue slept in artificial denture

The kiss returned to hunt empty space

Mouth bitter dry in choked laugh


Start moving

Start forget

Turned to bow the coat just hung on the rack


So stationary the submerged zones


Someone put hand on my forehead

in cool water


Like inadvertently let drop

or willfully break off.


                  MAI VAN PHAN




The Writers Post
the magazine of literature

& literature-in-translation,

founded 1999, based in the US.




Editorial note: Works published in this issue are simultaneously published in the printed Wordbridge magazine (ISSN: 1540-1723).

Copyright © Mai Van Phan 2005. Nothing in this magazine may be downloaded, distributed, or reproduced without the permission of the author/ translator/ artist/  The Writers Post/ and Wordbridge magazine. Creating links to place The Writers Post or any of its pages within other framesets or in other documents is copyright violation, and is not permitted.


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