Poem-a-Day - from "Begin Again" by Truong Tran

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January 4, 2022 

from “begin again”

Truong Tran

                                  it  used  to  be  that  i  would  write  to  enact  a
                                  desire  for  isolation.   it  was  a  way  to  say.   i
                                  want  to  be  left  alone.  to  my  thoughts.  with
                                  my words.  i  want you to leave me alone.  cant
                                  you see  that im trying.  im trying  to write.  im
                                  thirsty. im  writing  these  words to quench my
                                  thirst.  i  write alone in the hopes  that i  would
                                  write  myself into exhaustion.  into sleep.  i did
                                  just that. and that  was  when  you came to me.
                                  carrying   water   in   your  mouth.  you  leaned
                                  into.   you  passed  it   along   from   mouth   to
                                  mouth.  our  lips  did not touch. this was not  a
                                  kiss.   a kiss would not  have led me  here.  you
                                  woke  me  from  sleep by  quenching my  thirst.
                                  this  lasted  but  a  minute.  i  am  thirsty  again.
                                  today  im  writing.  its  usually to someone.  im
                                  writing  something.  i  want  to hear it read  out
                                  loud.   i  want to see it on a page,   in a book.   i
                                  want to see you inside  these words.  where are
                                  you. i am thirsty. how are you.

Copyright © 2022 by Truong Tran. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 4, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“I have been trying to write a poem that is not the fated poem. What is the fated poem? It is the one poem that is written and rewritten in an effort to write oneself out of silence and back into existence.”
Truong Tran

Truong Tran is a Vietnamese poet and the author of Book of the Other (Kaya Press, 2021), and co-author with Damon Potter of 100 Words (Omnidawn Publishing, 2021). The recipient of grants from the California Arts Council, the Fund for Poetry, and the San Francisco Arts Commission, he lives in San Francisco.
Book of the Other
(Kaya Press, 2021)

“Like, Comma, Like” by Kay Gabriel
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“The Sentence” by Nathan McClain
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Thanks to Joseph O. Legaspi, author of Threshold (CavanKerry Press, 2017), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Listen to a Q&A about Legaspi’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year.
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