Hiếu Minh Nguyễn: một thi sĩ nổi tiếng Hoa Kỳ gốc Việt

St Paul, Minnesota: Nhà thơ Hiếu Minh Nguyễn, ở thành phố St Paul, tiểu bang Minnesota đã được xem là một trong những nhà thơ nổi tiếng nhất Hoa Kỳ. Một trong những tập thơ được người ta đánh giá cao trong năm 2018 vừa qua là tập thơ “Not Here” của nhà thơ họ Nguyễn.
Nhà thơ Hiếu Nguyễn sinh vào những năm 1990s, và khi còn là học sinh, anh đã tham dự vào nhóm học sinh trình diễn tại các rạp hát cộng đồng. Anh tham dự vào viết các vở kịch.
Tập thơ đầu tiên của anh Hiếu là tập thơ This Way to the Sugar được xuất bản vào năm 2014, và đã được vào chung kết giải văn chương the Lambda Literary Award và giải the Minnesota Book Award.
Tập thơ mới xuất bản Not Here đã được thư viện New York chọn là một trong những tập thơ hay nhất ở Mỹ trong năm 2018.

Một bài thơ của Hiếu Minh Nguyễn

Again. Again.

—perhaps I do want children

for reasons other than to appease my mother

give me a boy, a real boy this time, she says

either to me, or the chain of incense smoke

thinning into the realm where my grandmother sits

chewing on betel leaf, her teeth stained black

& I’m sure it’s not, but maybe my mother’s desire

for grandchildren has something to do with lineage

or maybe it has something to do with regret & how

for the longest time, she knelt in front of a shrine & asked

to be blessed with a daughter & here I am: the wrong

monster; truck stop prom queen in his dirt gown

I think: If I had the answers I could answer

but I don’t—I only have a number to a man

who will come, hopefully, in the next hour

to pin me to a map of hunger, stick his knuckles

into my mouth & call me his sweet boy

Sometimes I think I could be a good father

if I don’t consider myself.

How can I love something that isn’t ruined?

Y’know most parents want the best for their children

& I’m sure I would too, if the child were real

but he isn’t.

Each morning I send him to walk the durian orchard.

Each morning he climbs the tallest tree, picks the ripest one

& carries it home to me. The fruit’s thorned shell sinking

into his bare arms. Each day, when he returns

he is covered in holes. I stick a coin in each one

& send him back out for milk.

—attaboy —ay!boygoodjob-buddy ol’pal ol’chip-off-the-ol’

—likefatherlike sonofagun-bang-bang-pop-pop

—hey!batterbatterhey!batterbatter-how old are you?

—hey bartender, lemme getanother-getanother

—good ol’boy from the sky. good ol’boy from the far east

show me what the Midwest did to that rice-blood.

—waytogoCharlie! That’s how you do it. That’s how you shine

like a rocket. That’s how you get all the ladies.

Spit out the dip tucked behind your lips

& let daddy teach you how it feels to win.

—the child, too, like all dead things

is an offspring of touch.

The child hates me, but who could blame him.

We sit in silence, across from each other

at the dinner table, stripping wires

from old alarm clocks with our teeth.

Like all agony, there are pleasant moments

but only when we forget

what carried us here.

& in those moments I catch myself

being a desperate father, asking the boy

who looks too much like me

to be me, what he wants

what will make him less miserable

anything, anything you want & it’s yours

usually it’s nothing, some sunlight, maybe

but this time he takes a knife, runs

the blade across my stomach

& calls forth his siblings.

Sometimes it’s just a spider crawling up my leg

& not a hand, or the thin edge of a flame

that wakes me, or sometimes it’s my mother

on the other side of the city, talking loudly

on the phone, I think my boy is sick & I want to be better

at lying, or at least, for heaven’s sake, feel a strand

of hair graze my arm without the world around me

turning into an empty classroom, an endless row

of desks, a woman swaying at the end, her face pressed

against the chalkboard, but let me start the story over

for someone once told me that “touch” is too soft

a word to describe what happened to me & maybe

they’re right, so maybe it started earlier, the woman

spending her whole life without hands, an egg

at the end of each wrist, so let’s say that’s true

let’s say, the eggs hatched & found the closest thing

to call home & here I am, today, years later, the host

of touch, a boy who lets the spider crawl onto his face

before smacking it dead.

—the children (& there are thousands

now) in order not to wake me

take turns dropping a single grain of sand

on my body. They do this for hours, days

lost in a valley of rot.

I’m afraid

if I say it out loud

I will cast a curse.

People

I’m not sure who

but people

who are smarter

than me, talk

about a circle

—a circle

of violence, or

a violent circle

or a birthday cake

with a child’s face

or a carousel

of hands

or a castle

of hands, an entire

mountain, maybe.

I’m told to be open

to the possibility

of not being

a monster, not a thing

rummaged

from under a bed.

Who knows?

Some spells take years

to cast. Some men

don’t know

they’re hungry

until they eat