The Griffin Prize

            Chào Mặt Trời Xứ Của Tôi

Note: Bài thơ này, đã post trên và FB, nhưng nhờ FB nhắc, và độc giả “like”, bèn coi lại, thấy đầy lỗi, và không đầy đủ. Nay post lại toàn bài, cả hai phần tiếng Anh, và tiếng Pháp, và sẽ có thêm phần tiếng Việt. 

Đây là 1 bài thơ dài, được làm ở trong nhà tù. Gấu nhớ là, đọc 1 phát, mê quá, và quá mê nữa, âm hưởng của bài thơ làm nhớ tới thơ của ông anh TTT, bài Những cuộc tình duyên Budapest, những bài thơ trong tù làm thành Bi Khúc “Thơ Ở Đâu Xa”, thí dụ dòng thơ sau đây:

Tôi có cả hàng ngàn lý do để sống
Chiến thắng cái chết thường nhật
Hạnh phúc được yêu em
Đi bằng những gót chân của hy vọng 
Cái tít bài thơ mới thần sầu làm sao: Chào Mặt Trời Của Xứ Sở Mít Của Gấu

Cái này thì phải cám ơn FB!

Bài thơ là 1 trong số những bài lọt vô danh sách chót của giải thơ lớn Griffin mà Tin Văn đã từng giới thiệu. Trong số những người được giải này có Paul Celan, Charles Simic, toàn thứ cực kỳ dữ dằn. Và trong số những người lọt vào danh sách chót 2017, có nữ thi sĩ Hoa Nguyên, Canada, gốc Mít [giải này là của Canada, thế mới bảnh!

Vị Hoa Nguyễn này rất nổi tiếng, nhưng Gấu không đọc được thơ của HN. Post sau đây, 1 bài thơ của Hoa Nguyễn và lời giới thiệu của ban giám khảo.
Cuối năm, giới thiệu thêm tạp chí Thơ, số tháng Chạp 2018, trong có thơ của Nam Lê [tác giả The Boat], và Hieu Minh Nguyen, cũng rất nổi tiếng, và Gấu cũng không đọc được.
Bonjour soleil de mon pays
Bonjour soleil de mon pays
qu'il fait bon vivre aujourd'hui
que de lumière
que de lumière autour de moi
Bonjour terrain vague de ma promenade
tu m'es devenu familier
je t'arpente vivement
et tu me vas comme un soulier élégant
Bonjour pique-boeuf balourd et philosophe
perche là-haut
sur cette muraille qui me cache Ie monde
te chatouillant les côtes
à petits coups distraits
Bonjour herbe chétive de l'allee
frissonnant en petites rides opalescentes
sous la caresse taquine du vent
Bonjour grand palmier solitaire
plante sur ton echasse grenue
et t'ouvrant comme une splendide tulipe
ala cime
Bonjour soleil de mon pays
marée de présence annihilant l'exil
Que de lumière
que de lumière autour de moi
J'ai mille raisons de vivre
vaincre la mort quotidienne
le bonheur de t'aimer
marcher au pas de l'espoir 

Good Morning Sun of My Land
Good morning sun of my land
how good it feels to be alive today
so much light
so much light around me
Good morning empty exercise yard
you have become familiar to me
I cross you with a lively step
and you suit me like an elegant shoe
Good morning ponderous and philosophical oxpecker
perched up there
on the wall that hides the world from me
poking at your ribcage
with distracted little movements
Good morning sparse grass in the alley
quivering in opalescent flurries
at the wind's teasing touch
Good morning great lone palm
erect on your cross-grained trunk
blooming at your peak
like a glorious tulip
Good morning sun of my land
tide of presence abolishing exile
So much light
so much light around me
* * *
I have a thousand reasons to live
to vanquish day-to-day death
the joy of loving you
and walking in step with hope 
Tant d'années
a n'avoir jamais connu
la solitude ou l'ennui
tant d' etoiles filantes dans ma tête
La vasque de tendresse murmure
en plein chant
l' étrange bonheur du prisonnier
La nuit a laché sa horde de colombes
sur les forêts sensuelles du souvenir
Tu m'apparais
terrifiante de grâces et de promesses
puis c'est le rite
entrecoupé de détonations
de voyeurs hilares puant la cagoule
Je ne suis qu'à moitie homme 
* * *
L'eau coule dans ma main
Des gouttelettes irisées
absorbent gouhlment Ie soleil
Rêver n'est que le reflet
de ce presque miracle 
Le sourire éclot de lui-même
Je ne l'arrache pas à ma face
oubliée avec tous les miroirs
Sourire inextinguible
c'est com me ca que je résiste

So many years
without ever knowing
solitude or boredom
so many shooting stars in my head
The reservoir of tenderness hums
in plainsong chant
the prisoner's peculiar happiness
* * *
Night has released its host of doves
into the sensual forests of memory
You appear to me
terrifying with grace and promise
then comes the ritual
punctuated by explosions
from elated voyeurs stinking of the cagoule
I am half a man only 
Water runs onto my hand
Iridescent drops
greedily gobble up the sunshine
Dreaming is merely a reflection
of this near-miracle 
The smile breaks out by itself
I do not wipe it from a face
forgotten along with all mirrors
An inextinguishable smile
my way of resisting

Les camarades dorment
La prison a cesse de tournoyer clans leur tete
Ils naviguent a cceur ouvert
en haute mer de nos passions inedites
Ils sont beaux dans leur sommeil 
C'est encore loin le temps des cerises
et des mains chargées d'offrandes immédiates
le ciel ouvert au matin frais des libertés
la joie de dire
et la tristesse heureuse
C'est encore loin le temps des cerises
et des cites emerveillées de silence
a l'aurore fragile de nos amours
la fringale des rencontres
les rêves fous devenus tâches quotidiennes
C'est encore loin le temps des cerises
mais je le sens deja
qui palpite et leve
tout chaud en germe
dans ma passion du futur
Maison centrale de Kenitra, I978

The comrades are asleep
The prison no longer twists and turns their minds
They are sailing with open hearts
on the high seas of our extraordinary passions
They are beautiful as they sleep 
The temps des cerises is still far off
along with hands bearing gifts freely offered
a sky open to the new morning of freedoms
the joy of speech
and happy sadness
The cherry season is still far off
with its cities enchanted by silence
the fragile dawn of our loves
the hunger for encounter
the mad dreams become workaday tasks
The cherry season is still far off
but I feel it already
palpitating and quickening
a warm growing embryo
in my passion for the future 

Kenitra Prison, I978  


Violet Energy Ingots

Hoa Nguyen's poems tread delicately but firmly between the linear demands of narrative and syntax on the one hand and between registers of speech and forms of address on the other. There are spaces for breath, and asides hovering in parentheses. There are also the slippages in language, in the slide from, say, "staring" through "starving" and "starring" to "scarring." Everything is at once tangential yet surprisingly direct. This is where the pleasure and depth reside: in the off balancing of the language and its pure, uncalculated tone. What are the poems about? Many things, often simple and direct, like food, or sex, or rivers, or sickness. The poems are packed with fine precisions and particulars. But there is politics, too, sometimes startlingly straight, as in the poem about Andrew Jackson, or sharp-edged, as in "Screaming." Violet Energy Ingots is a fully mature work in that it is confident of both its voice and its readers' alertness. It makes its own space. It demands it and holds it.

Haunted Sonnet 

Haunt lonely and find when you lose your shadow
secretive house centipede on the old window

You pronounce Erinyes as "Air-n-ease"
Alecto: the angry Megaera: the grudging
Tisiphone: the avenger (voice of revenge)
"Women guardians of the natural order"
Think of the morning dream with ghosts
Why draw the widow's card and wear the gorgeous
            Queen of Swords crown         Your job is
to rescue the not-dead woman before she enters
            the incinerating garbage chute            wrangle silver
            raccoon power             Forever a fought doll
She said, "What do you know about Vietnam?"
            Violet energy ingots    Tenuous knowing moment 


January long light
Janus    I see you
God oflocks and doorways
two-faced looking in Capricorn
Capricious like the snowy owl
We fear heavy body collisions
January   time of doors
time looking back on itself
God of gates
spelt and salt
They say when you
walk through a door
you can forget what
            you came for


Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Even though it's May & the ice cream truck
parked outside my apartment is somehow certain,
I have a hard time believing winter is somehow,
all of a sudden, over - the worst one of my life,
the woman at the bank tells me. Though I'd like to be,
it's impossible to be prepared for everything.
Even the mundane hum of my phone catches me
off guard today. Every voice that says my name
is a voice I don't think I could possibly leave
(it's unfair to not ask for the things you need)
even though I think about it often, even though
leaving is a train headed somewhere I'd probably hate.
Crossing Lyndale to meet a friend for coffee
I have to maneuver around a hearse that pulled too far
into the crosswalk. It's empty. Perhaps spring is here.
Perhaps it will all be worth it. Even though I knew
even then it was worth it, staying, I mean.
Even now, there is someone, somehow, waiting for me.


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