Dignity is a measure of your pride? 

Dignity is a measure of your pride? 

My busy predisposition could not confine me 
to the walls of the room 
no matter the glimpses of the glorious South China Sea 
or lively metropolis. 

A diet of watery rice and a runaway gut 
hit with the curse of bleeding 
I planned an escape on the tarmac

A few steps onto the uneven footpath, 
flat on my stomach 
my dignity exploded across half a mile radius. 

The kindness of people helped me up 
while my pride lay forlorn on the concrete, 
alone I stood up and thanked them… 

Eo tròn mông tròn… 
tôi vẫn bước tới vôn vớt dành lại một tí tôi.

I hope I've managed a smile on your face 

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.

A time of Age

Published on GOBBLERS & MASTICADORES

A time of Age
a bomb

In the wind your cool adage
upon dusk 
the sorrow of your dying light

In the specks of falling dust 
your power, your might

Into their lungs, they inhaled it
Covet it
In copies and repetitions
They hate you, but you’re their religion

The sincerity of a pounding waterfall
The realization at dawn

You are the spawn
of the soul
you’re bold
your story told
the stories so old

In their reflection
they’ve totally forgotten.

january 2021


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.

Nè cậu con trai

Nè cậu con trai

cậu là con nhà ai 

mà dám yêu

Đời tôi là con sâu ngoài đồng

nhai hết lá non nhả ra lá vàng

yêu nào nỗi lòng của những chú ong

vườn hoa đã úa

còn đâu lúa 

chín và múa

Tôi là những giọt nước mắt của mẹ

những giọt máu hàng tháng của con

xương thịt của một người đàn ông

Ô kìa con trai

cậu là ai?

August 2021


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.

There are things like torn paper

There are things like torn paper
best thrown away
today
 
burn them, the letters
it matters, no
 
In all things,
the freshly painted wall
the scent of you
the dissolving suds
the imagined touch
 
The excruciating ache
the bee sting,
it made me cry
just that once, my pain
your laughter
the rising of a sun
 
I wish then,
We have 
never met
 
(yet)
 
 
 
 
May 2021
Có những thứ như giấy rách
tốt nhất
dục thùng rác
 
Đốt chúng
những lá thư
cần gì chứ
 
Trong những thứ
như
bức tường
sơn mới
mùi anh
bọt xà phòng
tan từng ngón
 
Nỗi đau
tột cùng
ong đốt
làm em khóc
đau đớn một lần
ôi bình minh
tiếng của anh
cười khúc khích
 
Em ước
ơi, ta là
những người dưng
 
(chăng)

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.

The owner of my dignity

How could you? 
How could you begrudge me 
my ignorance?
I am not of your world
(I care not for it)

You laugh at how much little I know
The eyes of a bewildering child
My view of your world
Mine alone

My willingness to be alone

In the world of Men
How small I am then
Small small small

I am not the person you see
How then possibly do you see me

The owner of my dignity
The mother of my children
I am me
(No one’s property)


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.

40 years in Australia

Forty years marked by the passing of Shani, my joy, my canine best friend. What makes it more poignant than to live a life of pure love and joy. I often forget my place in the universe, but she is the one who has reminded me of who I am, my place in the world. I am 50, and I am the 10 years old of 40 years ago in her eyes. I am playful, I’m no longer the lonely 10-year-old on a beach at a refugee camp in Thailand.

How would one note one’s life in the flicker of eyelashes, through the tears, and the years in passing? My then 30-year-old parents, now grandparents to successful adult grandchildren, have adopted Shani too into their family. Shani, insistence on popping in to see my parents through Covid-19, her stubbornness the joy in a moment of my parent through their window. 

What would break the human spirit, the hopelessness of never being whole again, the homelessness, the exile, the foreign places one could never belong. But, I did for a short time. I belong to her, I was her trainee, I learned not to fear the darkness around me, and I learned how great it was to get caught in the wet, and walk in the rain, though she believed me to be crazy wanting to tread through an eminent thunderstorm. No one could wish for a better companion, a guardian angel through the darkest storms. 

I am paralyzed with fear and grief upon my broken body and Shani walks through the door with favourite ball. Bark at me for being so weak, bark at me for missing out on football on the pee-bleached lawn – do you not know how great it smells out there in the world, there’s not a single shadow of a cloud! 

40 years exiled, 40 years a refugee, 40 years in the land of my adopted country. 40 years, and I have been loved.

March 2021


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.

I’m an orb in a box

so you saw
behind the makeup
smeared foundation
those freckles
pass the smile
pass the thrilling laughter
you saw

I'm an orb in a box
rolling rattling splintering

shattered when I
saw you.

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.


	

Alienation

Alienation is demoralising, the isolation crushing, especially under all the moist damp spit and pity. What can one do? Sit and cry, sure, I’ve done that. I’ve wept so often that I wonder if it is menopause or post traumatic stress syndrome from a war that’s almost half a century buried in oblivion. I ask myself daily why I do anything at all. Why? 

I am from a lost generation ignorant of my roots and culture. The garbage generation. I am accused of not being able to read and write my native language, I am accused of not being able to spell in my adopted country. I am accused of living in the past. I am accused of drowning in my own pity, let alone more pity from any privileged outsider. How do I identify myself? If I can not, what will happen to my children, the making of my flesh and bone? Pity is reserved for those who relish in dishing out pity. 

Don’t get confused between pity and kindness. Kindness is an act of love without words. Kindness is a joke to make someone laugh in the darkest hour. Kindness is to ignore someone’s poverty and simply listen. I am the recipient of such kindness. It is a love that is undefined by words. 

If you are in the mood to be charitable, be kind, and help a child(like me) learn to read and write. Then maybe one day they will be your boss, they will build your schools, your hospitals, the pavement you walk on every day.


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.

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