Are You Still the Same?

for my “LL” group

Taking a stroll down memory lane
Are your voices still as sweet
Are your hairs still as lustrous
Are the waves still as soothing
Are you still the same?

Are you still the same?
The fun we had playing game
during Tết dinner party;
The shocked reaction you took when I
crushed your sand castle at Vung Tau beach;
The day you asked me when
I would come back and
all you heard was
but a moment of silence
while the fragrance of plumeria
was overwhelming in the air

Are you still the same?
Despite an ocean and over a decade away
Despite the dreams lost or materialized
Will you remain the same for me
when I come back home?


I was inspired to write this poem after listening non-stop to this song:

Em Van Nhu Ngay Xua

Tết / Vietnamese Lunar New Year

Từ Lâm Temple. Feb. 2018

This morning
I was walking in the park
Thinking about the lunar new year celebration

The yellow apricot blossoms
The sticky rice cakes
The áo dài flaps swinging in the air

And the 17 students shot
At a Florida public school yesterday.
Life is an endless cycle

I stared at the pink cherry blossoms
And the amazing blue sky
Reflecting in the creek
And I said to myself

Happy Tết 2018!

Nancy G.

for my mother-in-law

And just like that you were gone
When the rain was crying hard on the street
It’s convoluted like the darkness
Engulfing our souls and our hearts

Where’s the beautiful lady
Bright and shining on the wedding day?
Where’s the caring mother
Who cooked and worked and took care of her five children
Until exhausted and passed out?

Your “Leopard” is still roaming the forest
Your freshly baked blueberry muffins
Left a warm and sweet taste on my tongue
But you’re gone
Like the grains of light I reach out
To grasp but I catch nothing.


Dream On

Closed until further notice
Says the disappointing sign in front of the brilliant park
at the end of the narrow road in the woods

The breathtaking red and yellow leaves
scattered alongside the waterfalls last Autumn
are glowing vividly in my memory

To what use could I put words I’ve been hunting for
when life’s erosion of feelings and inspiration
seems like just a matter of time
like the faded fall foliage in the forest

Dream on
Dream on

Anniversary 2017

for SG

If time in this world is infinite
I will ceaselessly swim in your cadences
Let your impeccable sense of direction
lead us to every sunset over the mountain top
and your amusing sense of humor
rub off on me

If time in this world lasts only a day
I will treasure every minute with you
every rose I get, every word you utter
every yearning, every gaze, every chance
to spiral your soul and unwrap
layer after layer of it

If time in this world stands still
we will be caught in a passionate hug
I listen to your rhythmical heart beat
Inhale every particle emanating from you
while the fragrance of roses suspended in the air
we are locked in an eternal frozen embrace


This Summer the pear tree bears no fruit
The lemons don’t seem to be wiling to ripe
And the lakes are all dried up

You told me the things I wanted to hear
but did not initiate any change to that
My words fell into the void

Haunted by the dreaded future,
I heard my screams floating in the air
And the wind carried my fear to infinity

I’m Good Enough

Will you love me
Despite all my bad wont?
Will you like me
When I’m grumpy and clumsy?
Will you befriend me
Now that I expose my flaws?
‘Cause nobody is perfect
And I’m good enough

Describe to me
Your wildest dreams
Share with me
Your deepest thoughts
Connect with me
On the dark side of my heart
‘Cause nobody is perfect
And I’m good enough