Say autumn despite the green
in your eyes.
daylight. Say you’d kill for it. Unbreakable dawn
mounting in your throat.
My thrashing beneath you
like a sparrow stunned
It’s World Mental Health Day, and I was reminded of this passage from Ocean Vuong’s poem “Trevor” as I read post after post about mental health and the state of our world today. #mentalhealth#poetry#poem#OceanVuong#writing
"...But I was a boy then. Which meant I was a murderer of my childhood. & like all murderers, my god was stillness. My god, he was still there. He looked like something prayed for by a priest with no mouth. The green-blue lamp swirled in its socket. I didn't want him. I didn't want him to be beautiful - but needed beauty to be more than hurt gentle enough to hold. [...]"
At @bricklanebookshop in the early Summer, I was so incredibly lucky to stumble across this stunning collection of poems 'Night Sky With Exit Wounds', by the unfeasibly talented Ocean Vuong. That afternoon I was flicking through an assortment of poetry books and pamphlets, searching for something new, unique and inspiring. When my mind leapt and skidded on the very first poem in this book, I knew it was something special worth a place on my shelf... in my bag... on my bedside table and now in my heart. One of my very favourite new poetry collections alongside 'To Sweeten Bitter' by @raymond_antrobus, 'Loop of Jade' by Sarah Howe and 'Physical' by @andrewpoetry. For me it doesn't matter whether print of ebook, do yourself a favour and make these part of your personal library. ...Oh, and after my first full read of the Ocean Vuong's collection, I discovered it was a signed copy! A real treasure.
"I dreamed I walked barefoot all the way to your house in the snow. Everything was the blue of smudged ink and you were still alive. There was even a light the shade of sunrise inside your window." Whenever I'm feeling down, I read @oceanvuong's poetry and feel a little bit more alive.
"Poetry is what happens when nothing else can"
Up on my Wordpress blog: Top Five Poetry Collections. Check it out :) link in my description!
Q: what's your favourite poetry collection?
Hearty congratulations to #OceanVuong on winning the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Ocean spoke to #SebEmina about that very collection of poems, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, in the 25th edition of Fantastic Man. Portrait by #BrunoStaub .
Il mio contributo sul giovanissimo poeta di origine vietnamita e americano di adozione #oceanvuong
La parte più bella / del tuo corpo è ovunque / si proietta l’ombra di tua madre.
Milkflower petals on the street
like pieces of a girl’s dress.
May your days be merry and bright...
He fills a teacup with champagne, brings it to her lips.
Open, he says.
Outside, a soldier spits out
his cigarette as footsteps
fill the square like stones fallen from the sky. May all
your Christmases be white as the traffic guard
unstraps his holster.
His hand running the hem
ofher white dress.
His black eyes.
Her black hair.
A single candle.
Their shadows: two wicks.
A military truck speeds through the intersection, the sound of children
shrieking inside. A bicycle hurled
through a store window. When the dust rises, a black dog
lies in the road, panting. Its hind legs
crushed into the shine
of a white Christmas.
On the nightstand, a sprig of magnolia expands like a secret heard
for the first time.
The treetops glisten and children listen, the chief of police
facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola.
A palm-sized photo of his father soaking
beside his left ear.
The song moving through the city like a widow.
A white...A white...I’m dreaming of a curtain of snow
falling from her shoulders.
Snow crackling against the window. Snow shredded
with gunfire. Red sky.
Snow on the tanks rolling over the city walls.
A helicopter lifting the living just out of reach.
The city so white it is ready for ink.
The radio saying run run run.
Milkflower petals on a black dog
like pieces of a girl’s dress.
May your days be merry and bright. She is saying
something neither of them can hear. The hotel rocks
beneath them. The bed a field of ice
Don’t worry, he says, as the first bomb brightens
their faces, my brothers have won the war
The lights go out.
I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming... to hear sleigh bells in the snow...
In the square below: a nun, on fire,
runs silently toward her god
Open, he says.
#Aubade with Burning City" By #oceanvuong#japan 2012 post earthquake by #jamesnachtwey#art#artist#artistoninstagram#author#desire#image#love#photographer#photograph#photoshoot#photooftheday#photo#poetry#poems#poetrybook#poetrycommunity#poetsofinstagram#poet#poem#poetsofig#portrait#time#words#writer#writersofinstagram
(Re)reading Ocean Vuong's utterly stunning poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. 'I didn't know the cost
of entering a song- was to lose Your way back.
So I entered. So I lost. I lost it all with my eyes
wide open.' #oceanvuong#nightskywithexitwounds#poetry#igreads
Instead, the year begins
with my knees
another man leaving
into my throat. Fresh snow
crackling on the window,
each flake a letter
from an alphabet
I've shut out for good.
Because the difference
between prayer & mercy
is how you move
the tongue. I press mine
to the navel's familiar
whorl, molasses threads
devotion. & there's nothing
more holy than holding
a man's heartbeat between
your teeth, sharpened
with too much
air. This mouth the last
entry into January, silenced
with fresh snow crackling
on the window.
& so what - if my feathers
are burning. I
never asked for flight.
Only to feel
this fully, this
entire, the way snow
touches bare skin - & is,
Ocean Vuong's debut collection is a work of raw beauty. Both personal and masculine Vuong's poetry chronicles modern love and childhood trauma against the backdrop of modern America haunted by the ghost of Vietnam. With line-breaks that make my heart flutter and scraps of journal entries that will speak to so many, Night Sky With Exit Wounds is the best book of poetry I've read this year.