Swell

- 1967-
Swell     you can dream more   the earth
swells      seeds pop
I glance at the prize
eyes closed in the glancing

It's not a time to run
I wear soft shoes
and it took a long time
to walk here

Insects nudge me in my dreams
like the 5 honey bees plus
the strange one
Intelligent bee glances buzzing

to say   Let me out    The fake
lights confuse us
confuses the source

Worker bee buzzed my neck
directly   me not turning off
lamps fast enough

Please
     just open the door
to the sun

More by Hoa Nguyen

Autumn Poem 2012

Call capable
      a lemony
light & fragile

Time like a ball and elastic

so I can stop burning the pots

        wondering yes       electric stove

She is her   but I don't reme
mber                         remember
the ashes I obsess    She said

I was obsessed with
(not wanting to work with
ashes)

     Mandible dream
    says the street
& ash work

              because the scorn
and ions long
there   I wor   I woke up
in the overlooked dark

           I work
do that warp    twistingly
wrap the dead

Black and white like the
long-dead    starved pet rodent
eating the basement
        curtains and peanut shells


  I walk    I wal
I walks down sometimes
why the advi

abide    the advice was

not "Fair better"
but "Fail better"

Auto dish soap
½ and ½
Coffee beans

Bake the golden things
Rust colors
Rust colors

Haunted Sonnet

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

You pronounce Erinys as “Air-n-ease”
Alecto: the angry    Magaera: 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 shoot      wrangle silver
raccoon power          Forever a fought doll

She said, “What do you know about Vietnam?”
Violet energy ingots      Tenuous knowing moment

Ficus Carica Sonnet

Cinched belt tugged tight around the heart
5 or 6 aerial roots dangling      A strangler fig

Do homeless ancestors live inside the tree?
Child of noise    Hold the loosened ends    You

may miss the moon or fall in love with it         Embrace
ashes    I too am far removed    A thirst that wanders

thirsting     And I could never ask the name of the boy
who died     A baby boy who died but what could you do

and maybe words hang in sinew and care     Writer
of dead words or living words and life's hammer

Encase the host tree and erase it     I don't know
the folk songs on farms far from here    The dead buried

and gone    To dig the grave     Who dug the graves
Darling      The sea widens for you tonight      and deepens

Related Poems

Ground Swell

Is nothing real but when I was fifteen,
Going on sixteen, like a corny song?
I see myself so clearly then, and painfully—
Knees bleeding through my usher's uniform
Behind the candy counter in the theater
After a morning's surfing; paddling frantically
To top the brisk outsiders coming to wreck me,
Trundle me clumsily along the beach floor's
Gravel and sand; my knees aching with salt.
Is that all I have to write about?
You write about the life that's vividest.
And if that is your own, that is your subject.
And if the years before and after sixteen
Are colorless as salt and taste like sand—
Return to those remembered chilly mornings,
The light spreading like a great skin on the water,
And the blue water scalloped with wind-ridges,
And—what was it exactly?—that slow waiting
When, to invigorate yourself, you peed
Inside your bathing suit and felt the warmth
Crawl all around your hips and thighs,
And the first set rolled in and the water level
Rose in expectancy, and the sun struck
The water surface like a brassy palm,
Flat and gonglike, and the wave face formed.
Yes. But that was a summer so removed
In time, so specially peculiar to my life,
Why would I want to write about it again?
There was a day or two when, paddling out,
An older boy who had just graduated
And grown a great blonde moustache, like a walrus,
Skimmed past me like a smooth machine on the water,
And said my name. I was so much younger,
To be identified by one like him—
The easy deference of a kind of god
Who also went to church where I did—made me
Reconsider my worth. I had been noticed.
He soon was a small figure crossing waves,
The shawling crest surrounding him with spray,
Whiter than gull feathers. He had said my name
Without scorn, just with a bit of surprise
To notice me among those trying the big waves
Of the morning break. His name is carved now
On the black wall in Washington, the frozen wave
That grievers cross to find a name or names.
I knew him as I say I knew him, then,
Which wasn't very well. My father preached
His funeral. He came home in a bag
That may have mixed in pieces of his squad.
Yes, I can write about a lot of things
Besides the summer that I turned sixteen.
But that's my ground swell. I must start
Where things began to happen and I knew it.