coming / going come
letter to a young poet
Author: Phạm Vũ Văn Khoa
Published on: 9/21/2015 5:04:10 PM

You hear something idle.
Sit down and write everything, or find a hangman’s noose.

Think about a cocktail glass and
the rain in September, a thread
on the collar and a stolen
look, some billow of clouds and

disease, an insane man and
Schubert’s music, solitude
and Rene’s paintings, a pebble
and the anxieties of ants

fractured mounds of color and
the reticence of a wound,
eventually a thought
hovers over the coffin

without a lid, even if words are
recklessly strewn, doomed
metaphors then their parting
is also their lingering

though it’s just a desperate shedding
on sentences of disjointed
words, phantoms and roof-
top stories, don’t be so concerned
with the story in the coffin
because life is also just
a large coffin without walls without
the smell

of wood, I’ll tell you
of illusory lives
when we lie in the coffin
contemplating the rectangular moon

You hear something idle.
Sit down and write everything, or find a hangman’s noose.
_______
* title of a work by Rainer Maria Rilke



--translated by Đoàn Tuấn ĐứcKaitlin Rees

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