Been a while since I’ve written poetry…

I was going to write this into the ether, but now I don’t have to. Thank you Vanguard. It’s about how the lens on the Vietnam War is still centered, turned and focussed on the US Experience, rather than the Viet experience.

Written on Black April:

Today is the day my family lost their country, 41 years ago.

+++When I say I’m a product of US Imperialism,
Conceived next to water, on a beach, in a refugee camp, in between borders, in between definite states,
With no nationality, papers, future:
I am asked “Why move here then?”
“My entire family lives in the States, I waited my entire life for a Green Card”
“Then why complain?”

I exercise my right to be a critical dissident resident of the USA.

+++When I say I’m a product of US Imperialism,
I am accused: “Our troops fought and lost their lives for a war that wasn’t even theirs.”
It wasn’t mine either, but no doubt I will never finish paying that debt.
I remind myself I don’t owe anyone anything.

+++Moving to North America:
Means catching the bus and seeing middle-aged men
Middle-aged men in wheelchairs or on crutches
See me.
Watching men recognize me –
Not me, but something in me, the shape of my eyes, cheekbone, skintone, black horsehair.
Projecting onto me their historic desires, exotic liaisons, or familiar victims.
Their trauma, their unanswered questions, their imminent reward,
Their expectation of gratefulness or familiarity from me.
Of pandering, of servitude, of interest.
But I am not the innocent farm-girl from the Delta, of 45 years ago.
We exchange a moment tenderness and violence
I hold a moment of carrying their burden, accepting their pain,
Then I cast it off.

+++If I let all the weights fill me, then my shape would become what they see me as,
But I am not the innocent farm-girl from the Delta.


~ by annavo on xxx.

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