An American poet and essayist, Ocean Vuong is the recipient of the 2014 Ruth Lilly/Sargent Rosenberg fellowship from the Poetry Basis. He was awarded the 2016 Whiting Award, and the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry.
In immediately’s publish, we can be studying a few of the greatest poems by Ocean Vuong.
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Poems by Ocean Vuong
Listed here are excerpts from 11 poems by Ocean Vuong.
“Your father is only your father
until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
won’t remember its wings
no matter how many times our knees
kiss the pavement. Ocean,
are you listening? The most beautiful part
of your body is wherever
your mother’s shadow falls.”
“We made it, baby.
We’re riding in the back of the black
limousine. They have lined
the road to shout our names.
They have faith in your golden hair
& pressed grey suit.
They have a good citizen
in me. I love my country.
I pretend nothing is wrong.
I pretend not to see the man
& his blond daughter diving
for cover, that you’re not saying
my name & it’s not coming out
like a slaughterhouse.
I’m not Jackie O yet
& there isn’t a hole in your head, a brief
rainbow through a mist
of rust. I love my country
but who am I kidding? I’m holding
your still-hot thoughts in,
darling, my sweet, sweet
Jack. I’m reaching across the trunk
for a shard of your memory,
the one where we kiss & the nation
glitters. Your slumped back.
Your hand letting go. You’re all over
the seat now, deepening
my fuchsia dress. But I’m a good
citizen, surrounded by Jesus
& ambulances. I love
this country. The twisted faces.
My country. The blue sky. Black
limousine. My one white glove
glistening pink—with all
our American dreams.”
“When we left it, the city was still smoldering. Otherwise it was a perfect spring morning. White hyacinths gasped in the embassy lawn. The sky was September-blue and the pigeons went on pecking at bits of bread scattered by the bombed bakery. Broken baguettes. Crushed croissants. Gutted cars. A carousel spinning its blackened horses. He said the shadow of missiles growing larger on the sidewalk looked like god playing an air piano above us.”
“God have to be a season, grandma stated, searching on the blizzard drowning
My footsteps on the sidewalk have been the smallest flights.
Pricey god, in case you are a season, let it’s the one I handed by way of
to get right here.
Right here. That’s all I needed to be.
“Inform me it was for the starvation
& nothing much less. For starvation is to provide
the physique what it is aware of
it can’t hold. That this amber mild
whittled down by one other struggle
is all that pins my hand to your chest.”
“It’s more like the sound
a doe makes
when the arrowhead
replaces the day
with an answer
to the rib’s hollowed
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As an alternative, let it’s the echo to each footstep
drowned out by rain, cripple the air like a reputation
flung onto a sinking boat, splash the kapok’s bark
by means of rot & iron of a metropolis making an attempt to overlook
the bones beneath its sidewalks, then via
the refugee camp sick with smoke & half-sung
hymns, a shack rusted black & lit with Bà Ngoại’s
final candle, the hogs’ faces we held in our palms
& mistook for brothers, let it enter a room illuminated
with snow, furnished solely with laughter, Marvel Bread
& mayonnaise raised to cracked lips as testomony
to a triumph nobody recollects, let it brush the new child’s
flushed cheek as he’s lifted in his father’s arms, wreathed
with fishgut & Marlboros, everybody cheering as one other
brown gook crumbles beneath John Wayne’s M16, Vietnam
burning on the display, let it slide by means of their ears,
clear, like a promise, earlier than piercing the poster
of Michael Jackson glistening over the sofa, into
the grocery store the place a Hapa lady is prepared
to consider each white man possessing her nostril
is her father, might it sing, briefly, inside her mouth,
earlier than laying her down between jars of tomato
& blue packing containers of pasta, the deep-red apple rolling
from her palm, then into the jail cell
the place her husband sits staring on the moon
till he’s satisfied it’s the final wafer
god refused him, let it hit his jaw like a kiss
we’ve forgotten the way to give each other, hissing
again to ’68, Ha Lengthy Bay: the sky changed
with hearth, the sky solely the lifeless
look as much as, might it attain the grandfather fucking
the pregnant farmgirl behind his military jeep,
his blond hair flickering in napalm-blasted wind, let it pin
him right down to mud the place his future daughters rise,
fingers blistered with salt & Agent Orange, allow them to
tear open his olive fatigues, clutch that identify hanging
from his neck, that identify they press to their tongues
to relearn the phrase stay, reside, stay—but when
for nothing else, let me weave this deathbeam
the best way a blind lady stitches a flap of pores and skin again
to her daughter’s ribs. Sure—let me consider I used to be born
to cock again this rifle, clean & slick, like a real
Charlie, just like the footsteps of ghosts misted via rain
as I decrease myself between the sights—& pray
that nothing strikes.
My grandmother kisses
as if bombs are bursting within the yard,
the place mint and jasmine lace their perfumes
via the kitchen window,
as if someplace, a physique is falling aside
and flames are making their approach again
by means of the intricacies of a younger boy’s thigh,
as if to stroll out the door, your torso
would dance from exit wounds.
When my grandmother kisses, there can be
no flashy smooching, no western music
of pursed lips, she kisses as if to breathe
you inside her, nostril pressed to cheek
in order that your scent is relearned
and your sweat pearls into drops of gold
inside her lungs, as if whereas she holds you
demise additionally, is clutching your wrist.
My grandmother kisses as if historical past
by no means ended, as if someplace
a physique continues to be
You’re standing within the minefield once more.
Somebody who’s lifeless now
advised you it’s the place you’ll study
to bop. Snow in your lips like a salted
reduce, you leap between your deaths, black as god’s
durations. Your arms cleaving little wounds
within the wind. You’re one thing made. Then made
to outlive, which suggests you’re someone’s
son. Which suggests should you open your eyes, you’ll be again
in that home, beneath a blanket printed with yellow sailboats.
Your mom’s boyfriend, his bald head ringed with purple
hair, like a planet on hearth, kneeling
by your mattress once more. Air of whiskey & crushed
Oreos. Snow falling by way of the window: ash returned
from a failed fable. His spilled-ink hand
in your chest. & you retain dancing contained in the minefield—
immobile. The curtains fluttering. Honeyed mild
beneath the door. His breath. His moist blue face: earth
spinning in nobody’s orbit. & you need somebody to say Hey… Hey
I feel your dancing is beautiful. Somewhat waltz to die for,
darling. You need somebody to say all this
is way back. That one night time, very quickly, you’ll pack a bag
together with your favourite paperback & your mom’s .45,
that the surest shelter was all the time the ideas
above your head. That it’s truthful—it needs to be—
how our palms harm us, then give us
the world. How one can love the world
till there’s nothing left to like
however your self. Then you possibly can cease.
Then you possibly can stroll away—again into the fog
-walled minefield, the place the vein in your neck adores you
to zero. You possibly can stroll away. You might be nothing
& nonetheless respiration. Consider me.
“The most beautiful part of your body
is where it’s headed. & remember,
loneliness is still time spent
with the world.”
“Rush-hour on the A rain. A blind man
staggers forth, his cane tapping flippantly
personal the aisle. He leans towards the door,
raises a violin to chin, and says I’m sorry
to hassle you, people. However please. Simply pay attention.
And it kills me, the phrase sorry. As if one thing like music
ought to be forgiven. He nuzzles into the wooden like a lover,
inhales, and on the first sluggish stroke, the crescendo
seeps by way of our pores and skin like heat water, we
who don’t have anything however locations, who dream of sunshine
however descend into the mouths of tunnels, looking.
Beads of sweat fall from his forehead, making darkish roses
on the instrument. His head swooning to every chord
exhaled by way of the hole torso. The lady beside me
has put down her ebook, closed her eyes, the infant
has stopped crying, the cop has sat down, and I do know
this practice is just too quick for dreaming, that these iron jaws
will all the time open to swallow a smile already misplaced.
How inadequate the reminiscence, to fail earlier than demise.
how will hear these notes when the practice slides
into the yard, the lights turned out, and the track
lingers with breaths rising from empty seats?
I do know I’m too human to reward what’s fading.
However for now, I simply need to pay attention because the practice fills
utterly with heat water, and we’re all
swimming slowly towards the person with Mozart
flowing from his arms. I would like nothing
however to place my fingers inside his mouth,
let that prayer hum by way of my veins.
I would like crawl into the opening in his violin.
I need to sleep there
till my flesh
turns into music.”
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That is all we’ve on as we speak’s submit on one of the best works by Ocean Vuong. That is, nevertheless, not an exhaustive listing, and if we have now missed out on a few of your favorites, then please be happy so as to add them within the remark part under.
Till subsequent time!
Featured picture supply: Instagram
Kissing In Vietnamese And Other Poems By Ocean Vuong
In at this time’s submit, we will probably be studying a number of the greatest poems by Ocean Vuong, who was awarded the 2016 Whiting Award, and the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry.
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