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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tran Wu Khang's "Gift of the Devil" from 2004,

as translated by me from the Vietnamese:

poets make poems—I terrorize
boys and girls make out—I terrorize
seamstresses enter factories, kids leave schools—I terrorize
they gamble—I terrorize
they bathe in the ocean—I terrorize
they panic, they’re injured, they die—
I terrorize churches, governments, hotels, markets, mad houses, subways
sunny, rainy, windy, stormy, traffic jams, the dollar fluctuates—I terrorize
priests give sermons, singers barhop, the ruling class oppresses, billionaires bilk funds, the poor starve—I terrorize

they make love
they procreate
they raise and educate each other
they praise or condemn each other
they deceive or are frank with each other
they worry about AIDS the black hole the green revolution the white death
I terrorize

no one terrorizes—I terrorize
it doesn’t matter if any person, group or party terrorizes or not—I terrorize
I admit to being a terrorist, whether or not it was me who terrorized
they protest and condemn me—I terrorize

mankind globalize or return to the caves—I still terrorize
I terrorize on earth, the moon, mars, the comets, I terrorize everywhere
on stars they’ll discover millions of years from now
dead in this life I’ll continue to terrorize into infinity in subsequent lives

happy—I terrorize; sad—I terrorize; neither happy nor sad—I terrorize
I eat sleep fuck piss just to terrorize
they make bombs, I buy—I terrorize
unable to buy, I make my own—I terrorize

it’s what I do, it’s my fate, my love and hate, my game and war, my promised land, my reality and void, my belief and passion, my heaven...
I terrorize I terrorize I terrorize
terrorize terrorize terrorize

v o i c e s

b i r d s c h i r p i n g s i n g i n g

s i n g i n g b i r d s c h i r p i n g
c r i e s f o r h e l p b e g g i n g

b e g g i n g c r i e s f o r h e l p

s o b b i n g


TRAN WU KHANG is the author of 16 poems and 5 essays on Inrasara wrote about him: “Tran Wu Khang is an amateur writer, with a few articles published around 1996. He disappeared for nearly a decade, then resurfaced in 2004. In my opinion, he has made three contributions worth noticing: 1) two pretty good poems, “Gift of the Devil” and “The Griefs of Criticism” 2) the essay “The Professional Amateur Critic” and especially 3) some essays that triggered discussions about younger poets.” Many people, myself included, believe that Tran Wu Khang is no other than well known poet Inrasara, a member of the Cham, a Muslim minority in Vietnam.

Poem is in The Deluge, my anthology of new Vietnamese poetry.

And here's Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl's Icelandic version of it.


1 comment:

x larry said...

very interesting and strangely moving (for some twisted souls like myself). from what you told me of the cham people, like the ainu and many many others, it's no wonder he has the desire to terrorize, much as they've been terrorized by this or that moronic, mean race (i mean mankind in general).


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.