Cleave poetry is who I am. A dichotomy. I am a Vietnamese boat person, a refugee in England. I am a doctor yet I see death everyday. I am a poet and an artist. I believe there is truth beyond what can be scientifically proven. Cleave poetry is a concept, a poetic form, a doorway - a paradigm shift in poetics opening up an unexplored land.
Rendezvous under a Saigon sunset.
I meet my husband under a nameless bridge in this brainwashed city. All identity is buried under the red of the sun.
Our memories return, hesitant and pregnant with guilt twitching under our skin like the tap tap of phantom sticks playing marching tunes. My skin is embossed with napalm scars, indelible maps, like our wounded land - healed but still wet underneath. Do you remember, the orange of the fires that burnt the ground, the naked trees that joined our hands waving at planes we called our friends?
you look, hot, my husband. Your shirt seems to sweat for you, was England that cold? Let me undo those cuffs that hold your wrists tightly crossed behind your back.
Do you remember how Mum used to simmer clear soup for hours then laid the carcasses beside the pho? Just bones drained of life, all the meat boiled off. Don't bring back the dead. Don't take me back to bed, where the names are still engraved. Leave them buried.
Heavy whispers sneak over pillows from lips to ears, refertilising the memories of our children slaughtered by the shrapnel of our broken promises.
He may be white inside, but he will always be yellow to me, no words can whitewash his skin.