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After Seven Days at a Hotel with T

I slept for seven days at a hotel with T

When I woke up I was a different person

I wanted to make money and I wanted to be a male bird

I wanted T to dive deep into my gullet

but she only swam back and forth like a fish

inside my mouth vault full of saliva

When I lay on T’s body I thought I was paddling

a boat on sand


the sun was burning and our feet were buried

among worn out symbols

Ah, the sun is only a red stub


Next to this woman I knew about hidden destruction

Like a person drinking endless cheap liquor

or an exhausted ropewalker who cannot sit down

normally I just cut the rope

There are too many things I cannot explain

the world is too small and conflicts are too great

I live alone near Hollywood

a nameless faceless person among the faceless

I fight time and boredom with bouts of lovemaking

After seven days I walked out of the hotel with T

a bird in the sky suddenly grew tired

and dropped on my head like a rotten fruit

T said: it’s nothing, only a case of mistaken identity

we need to go eat

The End.

Translated from the Vietnamese by Linh Dinh


Phan Nhien Hao

Phan Nhien Hao was born in 1967 in Kontum, South Vietnam, and now lives in California. The author of a collection of poems, "Paradise of Paper Bells," his work, translated into English, is featured in the anthology Three Vietnamese Poets (Tinfish, 2001). To order, send $7 to Susan Webster Schultz, 47-728 Hui Kelu Street #9, Kaneohe, HI 96744.

Linh Dinh is the author of a collection of stories, Fake House (Seven Stories Press, 2000), and three chapbooks of poems. He is the editor and translator of Three Vietnamese Poets.


The Brooklyn Rail

JAN-FEB 2002

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