Vietnam IV: Justice

Laden with memories on the way home
I saw the dusk slowly snuff out the sun.
A mournful cry echoed amongst the clouds.
And the birds still lingered in the forest
While tipsy winds were filled with blissful love.

November 16 | Hanoi

Wake up 6am, muddy room, stench of garbage second nature. George and I discuss investment and I lie about riding a motorbike, tell the truth about other things — I fall in love easily — but not anymore? And that song repeats through the park in the daytime, the lake in the night and, just a false memory, I spend a day on my favorite rooftop finishing one page, one beer, one thought after another. Feel a pang sitting here forever. Catch a late flight in rush hour traffic and once more I’m a child, I can’t say goodbye yet. I say goodbye anyway, because I’ve grown.

Is this the age-old fit of angst
That drives my soul deep down tonight?
Just as a wayfarer I am
I find no comfort in the dusky hues.
Taking my heart to be the woods,
Thinking my soul must be the cloud.

November 17 | Saigon

Wake up 6am, soft bed, light snoring, no sweat. Over breakfast I read about a woman eating her husband, and a book on independence. They’re the same book. I feel good staring into the streets one last time, so good I get a massage bones cracking with relief, visit the market for a last bowl stomach churning for another meal and now, here, it’s time to leave this place that’s comfortable enough, where a good bathroom is hard to find but where I found myself again and isn’t it something, wasn’t it another thing completely. This thing, well it makes me remember — so as not to forget.

Homesick I then light up a smoke
Letting blue puffs rise to the trees.

— “The Tree Colors Through Smoke,” Mầu Cây Trong Khói

IV of IV

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