All posts filed under: Visual Poetry

The Potomac is not the Mekong

The Potomac is not the Mekong. If I close my eyes, I don’t see eagles on the hunt Soaring over a river The color of muted grey clouds. I see fishermen below, Their bamboo rafts floating On a sunset’s golden reflection, The river shining and flowing Between me and Nong Khai. I smell not Wet pavement And overpriced steak But the aromatic pungent smell Of padaek glazed grilled duck Sold for 15,000 kip. If I cover my ears I don’t hear the deafening rush Of trafficked destined cars On Woodrow Wilson Bridge But the harmonic chanting Of Wat Sop’s saffron monks. I hear the sputtering motorbikes Of young lovers Riding through empty roads, Leaving echoes of laughter And clouds of dust In their wake At dusk. The Potomac is not the Mekong Just another chapter, Some river, In a once empty book. ~~ In A.Ou’s own voice:

Missoula, 1976

By: Bryan Thao Worra At 3 years old in Montana, I became a citizen on Flag Day During the American bicentennial. That and a cup of coffee gets you A cup of coffee even if you write A thousand poems for a million elephants. I didn’t stay there, of course, But in that city I met my first ghosts And dinosaurs, gorgons and ancient gods. I played with a young girl named Dulcinea, Discovered the family pigs eaten by a bear, And saw my first neighbor die, Crushed beneath a fallen telephone pole. I wish I remembered his name. Our family dog Dutch, in his tragic jealousy, Tried to kill me a few times. I still have one scar from it after 40 years. But I miss him anyway, Because that’s the way refugee memory works. Author’s Note: Based on a true story. This week, June 14th is Flag Day, which celebrates the adoption of the US flag in 1777 by the resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Congress first established it in August, 1946, …