Category Archives: Writings

the first of many nights

The neighbour took a shower, and the sound of flowing water echoed so loudly through the thin and hollow walls that it suddenly woke me up.

It is the late nights waiting for the last bus in the chilling drizzle.
It is the moist cold that the carefully sealed jacket can’t prevent.
It is the insistent calls that won’t get picked up.
It is too many missed calls,
until there’s no call.

It is the heart that won’t stop twisting.
It is the chest that won’t stop aching.
It is the body that won’t stop shaking.

It is the hands that forget the spaces between their fingers.
It is the back that forgets how to lean on itself.
It is the skin that forgets how to breathe alone.
It is the one that forgets how to think about itself as one.

You say that deep sorrows expressed in secrecy,
hidden from the sight of the beloved,
guardians of reliable promises.
But darling, the tears that I shed
are only the countable part
of an uncountable set of pains.



Em không thể nói với anh về
sự tuyệt vọng này. Em yêu và
cô độc nhưng điều đó
chẳng còn nên thơ.
Mỗi chuyến xe đêm
mỗi đêm thao thức
mỗi giấc mơ
cuốn vào
giấc mơ khác
cơn khát
bừng tỉnh
em rơi xuống
một cái hố rất sâu
dưới chân em chỉ là
khoảng trống.

Em không thể nói với anh về
ngày đầu tiên của năm mới
em nhìn anh rời đi
trong giấc ngủ
anh ở lại với em được không
Em không thể nói với anh về
những ngày dài nặng nhọc
em chờ đợi
một hơi thở
anh đây
Em không thể cầm tay anh
chỉ vào
là chỗ nó đau
Em không thể nói với anh về
sự thờ ơ của vũ trụ
ở phòng bên người ta đang nói
em gào thét
lặng thinh

và sự phi lý

và nỗi buồn
không được thở
nhấn chìm bởi câu từ
nỗi buồn chỉ nên câm lặng
như khoảng trống giữa các từ
giữa anh và em
quanh em
trong em
như không gian không chiều
như không còn gì cả
như không thể nói gì
về sự tuyệt vọng
hay tình yêu.


P., août
Rues désertes.
Meubles débarrassées.
Touristes égarés.
Fleurs fanées.
Pigeons écrasés.
Ciel fâché.
Flâneuse coincée.



Les nuages s’alourdissent à l’horizon
annonçant une exécution
la mort déversant.



A love letter to Tilburg

This is the kind of song that you listen to on a summer night when you feel lonely and the road is yours. You see a stranger’s silhouette that you mistake for somebody you once knew. The warm yellow light from the street lamps and the windows is in a perfect contrast with the twilight sky. The moon is a faint spot of light brushed away by a thin veil of cloud. The sun lingers on top of the trees whose thick and dark canopy forms a rampart surrounding the sunflower field, above which the sky opens up like a canvas painted in an oneiric blue, the shade of blue that you’ve only seen in Magritte’s world. You chase the night. You keep going until it absorbs you and you can’t find the way back. Time stands still as the bicycle’s wheels turn around, and time is infinite. For a second, you wish that you were truly alone in this world: that there was no one to miss, and that you were one and whole in the uniqueness of your existence, just like a prime number.

This is happiness. I could very live like this until the rest of my life, but I’d probably die out of boredom and frustration. Which makes it a happiness, because it’s not meant to last. I only love this place because it’s not mine forever, and so it’s mine, in this present moment. Once I realize that, I feel liberated from the burden of anticipated nostalgia. Everything that I’m experiencing right now is precious. That dead trunk on the roadside. Those insects that hit my forehead, my glasses and my mouth, giving me violent kisses. The summer air that smells of smoke, animal’s excrements and fresh leaves. This timeless town untouched by the outside world. It will cease to exist as soon as I step on the train that will take me away from it forever. It will hibernate in a corner of my memory.

I’ve found where I belong in this world. I’ve always known the answer, but never quite understood it. Now I do. In my dreams, there’s only one place where I belong, but it doesn’t have a name, nor a shape. It takes on different shapes in real life, therefore, I must constantly move between places. Because dreams can be eternal in their own territory, but will vanish when hit by reality. I only belong to somewhere as long as it remains my dreamland. As long as it doesn’t last. As long as I don’t belong to it.

I listened to that song on a summer night many years ago, back in my hometown. I listen to it now, and it instantly brings me back to that night. Or rather, it brings that night here. The past and the present fuse together. I time travel. I am one. I am whole. I am here. I am alive. I am infinitely mine.


love, at last

I love you like a poem
metaphors, and
soft-spoken, and
hidden meanings,

but also like a novel
a history book
a research paper
a scientific mag, and
on our reading list.



hơi thở

I want to take your hand and gently place your palm on my cheek
to let my whole being enclosed in the shelter of your presence
then timidly I shall clasp your fingers
but fear no force, for tenderness is my only strength
like spring petals caught in a wanderer’s hair
you wouldn’t even notice.

I shall steal a breath from your skin
then fill the space between your fingers with mine
for a breath is the only tangible trace
that I could keep of you in this physical world
where you will never be mine, but it’s alright
because the air you give
makes me stay alive.