- Tạp chí Da Màu – Văn chương không biên giới - https://damau.org -

out there the sky… * haunted season * new year’s eve


out there the sky turning grey and winter


mad twenty years old
denied a place to plunge into the sea
I sat still like a portrait
the dockland of mine smoky-grey

no longer here the ailing brownish-red sun
night like a bar of syrup-ice melting, dripping
a song, blue and single, a song from the dark foliage licking it open

a revived season for many a bouquet of flowers in the laundry at dawn
the banging and thudding loud noise of devils hanging low under the garden’s clusters of light globes
I stuck my teeth into the edge of this rotting suburb of grey ash that pulled one in like opium

distant stars like a flash of lightning
upon small altar-cups, the unblemished souls now haemorrhaged on the rooftop
of the district-cathedral
let me be with my prayer on the icy-cold sidewalks

I closed my eyes, resting my head on my own shoulder
resembling act of holding and caressing that youthful  love once upon a time
the street lamps were being soaked in dripping purple rains, late evening
I was leaving the ship-cabin, an empty seat


haunted season


a ghost grinning
sleeping rough an outlying district dogs yelping
I take myself out of the drooping ribcage

let the vultures have a meal on me
beasts dropped dead in the bowels of stretching fields of grass
in the sobbing of overhead constellations
the olive groves hiding their faces

and the formidable angels
their hair like rising fires
they arrange love and death on the offering plate
with prayers for a rite of passage

I tremble facing the icy cold aurora above an horizon that forms like a blade
Spring, a shade of many ancient oases far and remote
a horselaugh on a damp-dumb-dark beach


new year’s eve


from the unnourished brown
a patch of grass, a sidewalk pensive and quiet
a flock of bird breaking up black

solitude, measurements
without a sign
only a premonition, of faint stars behind the snow

and farther still, a jumbled drift

behind the kitchen door swinging
the moon is a pot-au-feu
ages ago, faint scents of green onion
time-imbued with darkness

the new year is a secret
like the winter and its carriage of lanterns
the last passing shadow of a bird who is turning into a street banner



* Translations by Nguyễn Tiên Hoàng from the Vietnamese originals “Ngoài kia trời xám màu đông,” “Mùa ám,” and  “Giao thừa” as published on Da Màu.

bài đã đăng của Nguyễn Man Nhiên