Cột đèn sẽ thả lưỡi nói, “mừng đã về nhà"
taking a taxi to the Chinatown of Sydney
Author: Chris Song
Published on: 9/6/2016 3:14:15 PM

with some friends
and several Chinese languages
dragging the exhausted suitcases
we came out of the late airport
into strange bleakness

we hopped into a taxi
the driver Chinese
I pass the hotel’s address to him
we want to go to this hotel
utter a well prepared tourist sentence
the driver shakes his head and asks
shi bu shi tang ren jie na jian?
(did my accent give me away?)
shi de I said
he frowns and asks again
hai mai zeoi kan zung joeng ce zaam gwo gaan?
(Did my Putonghua give me away?)
hai aa, ng goi
he doesn’t say another word
drives
following the rows of street lamps
that dim into the constant dark

the ping-an ping-guo (solar safety apple)
       dulls behind the windshield
triangular amulet – yellow paper, red words
      swings under the rear view mirror –
great translators flew over the ocean to a foreign continent
solaced their countrymen with the mother tongue

friends sat behind
spoke of lost luggage
on foreign travels
I and the taxi driver in front
waiting awkwardly
for the next word
not to be said

- Chris Song
- painting by 
Sử Nguyễn

AJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJARAJAR