After zigzagging across an open field,
How did I ever learn so many words
I can't pronounce?
After hiding under so many beds,
How did I ever learn to paraphrase
My nose? Eyes? Boils? Scar distribution?
And who was it that taught me to rearrange my teeth?
In darkness, in privacy, I squat, tabulating
My special stink. My breath
Has been mistranslated. And yet,
I can still kiss its veneer, stroke its vinyl.
And yet, just this morning,
As I crossed a seven-span bridge, as I
Crossed a twelve-span bridge, going both ways,
As I crossed and recrossed a hundred-span bridge,
A flock of dun-colored pigeons serenaded me.
Now I will pretend to lug my thin rump homeward.
A Kafka, a Jew, a stowaway monkey: “Hello!”
Freeze dried, flash frozen.
[Written around 1998, and published in my out-of-print All Round What Empties Out (2003).]
Friday, July 1, 2016
- Linh Dinh
- Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, and have returned to my native Saigon. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems soon to be released from Chax Press. 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). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.