Ocean Vương: Time is a Mother

Ocean Vương’s poetic intricacy is beyond my comprehension for literary. What the fuck is “black as god’s periods?” Did he mean what I thought he meant? I wish someone could sit down with me and break down his poems line by line. One of his lines reads, “Because everyone knows yellow pain, pressed into American letters, turns to gold.” Yes, everyone knows, but me. I like the analogy though. I do understand a few lines: “Nobody’s free without breaking open.” And these:

I’m on the cliff of myself & these aren’t wings, they’re futures.

For as long as I can remember my body was the mayor’s nightmare.

The second line strikes the political chord. Of course, I knew these lines:

In my language, the one I recall now only by closing my eyes, the word for love is Yêu.

And the word for weakness is Yếu.

I like that Vương incorporates Vietnamese into his poetry. Without diacritics those two lines wouldn’t have worked. He even has a Vietnamese title for his book. He translates Time is a Mother as Thời gian là một người mẹ. If I get a chance to meet him, I wanted to know how he would translate: Time is a motherfucker.

I need to re-read these poems again in order to understand everything he has written; therefore, I bought myself a copy. Gotta support our Vietnamese-American talents.

Bonjour Vietnam