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The Cough of a Man Moving towards the Wall




I come back just to hear your voice
a woman’s voice which is thick and hoarse
and sometimes turns into a cough pill

a cough pill wrapped in a piece of newspaper
that’s your voice
that’s my ears
it is really normal when ears need taking pills
together with being lost in the darkness of the memories drawer

I come back whole with my lover
we both cough, sing and
wish we will be deaf in order to not hear anyone else

I hear your voice without any arrangement
the way of a bird nest in the dark
only monologues remain in each of our hearts
regretful of things we lied to each other

all partings are a crippling journey for an individual
and here is the utmost truth
when the house behind the wall is no more
with bird chirps still clinging to my ears, with the wind thrashing the door
you know I am born just to hear your voice
the drawer of memories opens leading me to the wall

my cough goes towards the wall
the crowd’s language makes us shiver
the old ideas we still hear have been rusty
we have known public opinions of the most inane kind
people who speak of freedom and morality the communists’ way

you are no longer here to see how rude I am
as I cough for a long stretch on the wall in hoping to meet you
you are no longer here to know how crude I am
assembling a sentence with a chewing gum and standing there waiting for you

there is no deadening that can find you again
there is only the shout of one who coughs constantly that can
the cough
               the fever
these reactions are up against the disease of being healthy and lying
the curses
                the folly
these defenses run away from the crowd that has lost all hurt feelings

now dear
I wish to be deaf in order to not hear anyone
before the barber in the name of revolution makes your voice bleed from my ears


* Translated from the Vietnamese original “Tiếng ho của một người đi về phía bức tường” (first published on Tiền Vệ)





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