currently: feeling grateful, lonely, sad, inspired, productive, true, ready for more. nursing wounds, stories, friendships, this heart. thinking about love, feelings, writing scene, and gaza. if you’re in the sf bay area, there is a protest this weekend (link here.)
magical, introspective alone time. thinking of cycles and crashing, waves and rotation, the difference between alone and empty. thinking of the unique beauty of this side of the Pacific. glad me and my round thighs made it to kiss the sand and beach succulents. (@ fort ord dunes state park. near monterey, ca)
Good art provides people with a vocabulary about things they can’t articulate.
Since you’re all dying to know (I’m sure of it), what is being at a residential-based writing workshop? It’s like re-living college, years later, years smarter. It’s like having patience with yourself and nursing your emotions. It’s nursing your stories. It’s talking craft and process. It’s not putting on the freshmen-15. It’s having the wisdom now to find your WOC writers, sooner (or to find them at all!) It’s women writers offering to read your drafts and submissions just because, you know, you’re another WOC so you’re worth it. Offers to give you roadmaps to navigate whiteness in MFA programs. Encouragement and affirmation, strategies and plans. Reminders that this shit ain’t glamorous. It’s sitting down and writing, typing, recording your story, however you can. It’s knowing that you need a day job and small book publishers. It’s acknowledgement that you have to write the shit out of something for years, possibly to realize years later what other story you’re actually trying to write. Hey, it’s all a part of the process.
preparing to pack my worst clothes for international travel,
preparing for hand-washing and sun-drying.
I consider my family and once-upon-a-time home.
I consider my well-dressed cousins in knock-offs of Western fashion,
capitalism and judgments.
I say, Phuong, pack lightly your American-ness.
Because this is how capitalists are made—
give them 2 decades of U.S. embargo (1975)
give them 2 decades of a false free market (1995-present)
Lack without awareness breeds a lustful mind.
I walk—fuzzy-headed, drunk on love and heartache—down Sunday streets.
My own world. Safe. Undisturbed.
I feed myself easily on bread and coffee, get change,
watch a mother and daughter play,
peruse clothes I do not need but could purchase
should I choose to.
The bar next door erupts,
breaks out in moans and cheers.
Germany scores a goal against Argentina.
This is how a genocide happens—feed the masses enough, feed the masses soccer. Feed the masses distractions while we bomb Gaza, set chairs upon hillsides, cheer for July 4th independence, cheer for bombs against the Palestinian horizon, cheer for the soccer while we lose everything.
I listen to Toni Morrison read from Portland State archives. She says,
“Conventional history supports and compliments a very grave and very serious, almost pristine ignorance.”
I consider what ignorance breeds this kind of lust, blood for land, lives for things.
I consider the lack of writing. Where are the writers?
The country’s most acclaimed newspaper writes nothing since 4 days ago. 4 days of acquiescence. 4 days of silence embracing massacre. They say Hamas fired and Israel responded. They leave out the part on which rockets tear apart human limbs, human lives, and beating hearts.