Loneliness & Loneliness

A poem in Vietnamese by Vũ Trọng Quang
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

An easy restful day

escape from the senseless Friday and Saturday

fed up with all the mindless conversations

necessary and unnecessary

familiar and foreign

escape Chi Pheo’s exhausting screams 

choking the cock crowing at first light

shaking a cockroach as flat as a sheet of paper

eager sewer rats in the kitchen

trailing sounds of scraps for sale

escaping the pitch black power

dropping from the attic

the cafe at the T-section waiting for you

a thief behind you stealing a page out of your opened book

they stole even your loneliness

Left a drop of coffee drifting in the park

summer burning up the bantering of riff raffs

a sticky pair of dark sunnies clinging to the back of your neck

clinging onto the loneliness

Noon, the loneliness is exposed at the tip of your shirt sleeves

the bedroom screaming, fully awake

someone stealing someone else’s loneliness in your bed

the piling loneliness

At night you swallow the heavy spirit

the creator detests the underhanded talks of brotherhood

sound of slurry swishing touching the bottom of all that loneliness

touching bottom of the pit of despair

Running away from retribution in a season

burning paper offering for the lost lonely souls

complicit burning cigarettes

ashes burning over the loneliness

June 2022



Ngày nghỉ thèm bình yên 

trốn ma mị giác quan ngày thứ sáu thứ bảy

chán ngấy trong tuần bội thực gặp gỡ

cần thiết và không cần thiết

quen thuộc và xa lạ

chạy thoát Chí Phèo quát tháo trong kiệt

bóp cổ tiếng gà gáy đá độ sớm

rũ con gián dẹp như giấy

chuột cống nhiệt tình lộng bếp

tiếng rao phế liệu bỏ đi

thoát khỏi cúp điện đen

nhảy từ gác xuống

góc quán ngã ba chờ

sau lưng có kẻ trộm chữ trang giấy mở

trộm luôn cô đơn

Rời giọt cafe chảy ra công viên

hè cháy lời mị dân cùi bắp

đôi kính đen bám sau gáy

bám luôn cô đơn

Trưa tay áo hở cô đơn

cào thức phòng ngủ

người này chiếm cô đơn người kia trên giường

chồng/chất cô đơn

Đêm xuống rượu mạnh

chúa ghét ly bàn bên ê tứ hải giai huynh đệ

tiếng nhừa nhựa cặn chạm tới đáy

chạm cô đơn

Chạy trời không khỏi mùa

tiền cúng vung vãi truyền đơn cô hồn

cùng những điếu thuốc đồng lõa

lửa rơi trên ngọn cô đơn 

Vũ Trọng Quang, the poet currently lives in Saigon, Vietnam.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.


  1. Thank you again Trâm for bringing us such amazing words of many poets. This brings me to tears.

    “the bedroom screaming, fully awake
    someone stealing someone else’s loneliness in your bed
    the piling loneliness

    How beautifully expressive and brings such sadness. Thank you. 🦋❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It makes me sad to read many of the poetic pieces you bring to us through your graciousness and kindness to your fellow human being. Often the pieces are sad but it doesn’t take away from the incredibly talented poets these artist are. Thank you again, love Joni

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t imagine that someone would not love to publish these works which are bilingual. The work you do (and I am also talking about your own beautiful work.) I wish I had time to read everything you publish. It has substance, real meaning in life, things that we should all read. I am going to say a prayer about this as I really would love to see you publish all of these amazing writers that you know and their experiences as well as your own beautiful poetry. I get so much out of each piece I read. Again, bless you for caring and giving these writers such a blessed gift. Love you too, Trâm, Joni

        Liked by 1 person

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