Lưu Diệu Vân


if not well-versed in the art of poetry
do keep at it
until the day
you dare to mince the best pages from the manuscript
mould the confetti into bite-size bouillons of contention
discard the flavorless ones
serve the rest to the most demanding critic
the now fully-nourished poet

when a poem tosses and turns
it becomes lopsided

when a poem sleeps too much
it becomes self-absorbed

when a poem suffers from insomnia
it becomes interminable


stir the soul using a bamboo matcha whisk
add a touch of high-quality condiment of choice
contemplation, recollection, acceptance, denial, etc.
pour directly into a poem
drink up to the very last word
this concoction helps treat many emotion-borne diseases

ask a poem to a bar
leave it alone
sit at a distant table
watch its every move
while intoxicated
take another poem home

a must-try technique for injecting some real emotion and rage into an indifferent poem


undress a poem
locate all the moles, scars, aging spots
trace a map out of the imperfections with fingers doused in sunray
do it often, tenderly
until the poem feels comfortable in its own skin
to begin questioning every inch of its stripped rhythmical existence
for all consciousness begin with consciousness about


take the seed of a rare brainchild
break the irrigous logic soil,
plant it deep in a vacuous space of pluvial solitude
watch it grow into a poem
if it doesn’t
there was no life to begin with

don’t keep crying over miscarried poems
surely, one day, another of your own nucleus will reach for the light
respond to the signal of life
misshapen fontanels
bluish and creased
covered in lanugos
yet perfect on your newborn thoughtprint page

a good poem,
itself, is a perpetual time killer
for poets

{from Poems of Lưu Diệu Vân, Lưu Mêlan, Nhã Thuyên, Vagabond Press, 2013}

{artwork: Quan Steele}

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