Thank you Arlene Biala and the office of the Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County for putting together this inspiring project. About “Second Name” My journey started with the fall of Saigon when my family became refugees in a country that was once our home. During the decade of waiting and failed attempts to leave, … Continue reading “Second Name” by Samantha Lê published in the anthology Spring Mother Tongue, May 2017
Your half eaten apple lies rotten— a mutilated carcass— in our yellow fruit bowl. I can't throw it out, this oxygen-infested fruit, because you still breathe within it. And I haven't picked the fruits like you've asked me; your sun-burn apples and oranges still hang limply from their branches in our yard; waiting... as I … Continue reading Yellow Fruit Bowl
She is your daughter. Your tongue flaps, like a catfish dragged from muddy water on pointed hook, between her iron jaws. Jaws that snap shut into the flat line of your EKG the day your hairy heart stopped. Each time she smiles your cigarette- stained teeth grind me in the face, daring me to hold … Continue reading Dear Husband
“The Hanging Family Tree” employs what Robert Pinsky, in his book The Sounds of Poetry, calls “like and unlike sounds” in order to intensify the meaning of key thematic lines and to create shifts in the musical effects of the poem.
I. The voice of god stomps through centuries and blood baths—like persistent wild flowers sprouting through the cracks of fallen civilizations— to reach my ears. It is as soothing as a summer afternoon in the Arizona desert—with naked skin charred and scorched by blades of sun. His holy third eye blinks to reveal gray caterpillar … Continue reading Searching for Religion in Iced Tea
Oh, Mary Jane, your bitter, sweet taste still lingers in my mouth, as you curl and dance from my drunken lips. Your shapeless tongue licks and tickles my nose, like a saxophone reed that vibrates sadly inside this Paris tunnel, on a sticky August evening. I hang on to you, just to breathe you, like … Continue reading Mary Jane
…round, and round, and round again… summer drips from the cracks and hinges of our rented doors and windows, like runny ice cream between chubby, greedy fingers. … round, and round… the air inside our apartment swells with pregnant heat, even the fan labors as it turns… …round, and round, and round again. …up and … Continue reading Fresno Burning
Ai is the only name by which I wish, and indeed, should be known.
Ai constructs the experience of dread and pours it into the reader’s mouth. We swallow, “thinking it tastes like blood.”
“How free is a woman?” To be a woman is to be in conflict with one’s own desires, as well as society’s desires to put woman neatly away in her place. In contemporary poetry and literature, female desire is often viewed simultaneously as a force of mysterious power and as a source of evil and corruption. A woman’s desires and her identity are linked. This is her sense of self. The self in Ai’s personae is often broken, but is always present, dictating the direction in which her characters take.
Anne Sexton, a voice trying to define itself in a society where male voices have always been more powerful.