Your war in Vietnam was not ours. You did not
fight in our civil war; you did not lose fathers to
gunfire launched by your uncles, you did not
take the lives of your own cousins. My sisters and
I must “love you long time” because if we don’t,
we take a bullet to the heart just like our
forgotten brothers in the north.
We were condemned to destruction the
moment you took our war from us and called it
yours. America is so hungry for power that
it doesn’t think twice before drenching even the
flesh of their allies’ families in napalm and
frying us like their chicken. You lost your
boys; we lost our boys, our girls, our newborns,
our lands, our history, our future. Our rice fields
burned and yet you humiliated us for our lack of
food, our lack of immunity to the disease you
called communism – our lack of hatred for
the people we were once able to call our family.
And still you call your wars battles for freedom
when all you ever did was ensure its eradication.
Ensure our eradication from your history.
War crowns no victors, but at least
you were not the losers; at least you did
not have your blood mixed with an endless
list of ingredients into a cocktail whose name
clubbers can only pronounce half the time –
The other half, they just order a Silver Bullet.
By Do Nguyen Mai
My name is Do Nguyen Mai, written last name to first in the traditional formal style, like the way most Vietnamese poets sign their works. I am a Vietnamese-American student living in the Los Angeles area who spends too much of her free time singing old, war-era Vietnamese songs. More of my poetry can be found at lotuscrowns.tk