đêm kín lối quay về,
Hãy Chụp Giùm Tôi
khoe tôi, hỡi người bạn tài hoa,
khoe tôi hình ảnh một quê nhà,
khoe tôi những cảnh tượng xô bồ,
khoe tôi những yến tiệc linh đình,
khoe tôi cảnh tụ họp ăn chơi,
khoe tôi những con phố "bưng biền",
khoe tôi chốn thờ phượng nguy nga,
khoe tôi ảnh Hà Nội hôm nay,
khoe tôi những cảnh tượng giàu sang,
Bạn thân ơi, sao không chụp giùm tôi,
giùm tôi đàn thiếu nữ Việt nam,
giùm tôi đôi mắt mẹ, mắt cha,
giùm tôi số phận những thương binh,
giùm tôi hình ảnh những cụ già,
giùm tôi xác chết những ngư dân,
giùm tôi thảm cảnh những dân quê,
giùm tôi mốc biên giới Việt Hoa,
giùm tôi những nghĩa địa buồn đau,
Hãy chụp giùm tôi hết những tang thương,
thuyền con, ca nước lã cầm hơi,
người chóng nguôi ngoai,
Night clouds closed the path of return,
Colorful lights, how can we know where is home?
Take Pictures for Me, Please!
The photographs brought out from hell
Where you just returned travelling happily,
But where many people still suffer in shame.
Do not show off to me the photos of a homeland
That you think is on its way to "innovation",
Cities once tame like grapefruit flowers,
Now suddenly haggard in debauchery.
Do not show off to me the photos of busy scenes,
The depravities now incurable.
Fighting has been over for a long time ,
Why our country is more miserable than during wartime?
Do not show off to me lavish banquets,
Streets flooded with phony prosperity,
Where a few lavishly spend money like trash,
While poor people are without even rice porridge to survive.
Do not show off to me the gatherings for pleasures
Of those who once clandestinely,
Left everything behind, toiling alone in the dark night,
Trying every means, to get out of the country.
Do not show off to me “guerilla base” streets,
Unsightly advertisements, store fronts
Hotels with bright, colorful lights,
Shamelessly displayed to seduce far-away guests.
Do not show off to me magnificent places of worship,
Luxury villas blocking small alleys,
Colors of blue, yellow, black, purple, red,
Waving with the winds to catch a pervading perfume.
Do not show off to me photos of Hanoi today,
The city died on that day and month,
When forcefully covered with the color of red flags,
When millions of people had to flee to the South.
Do not show off to me the spectacles of wealth,
That you carelessly captured with your lens,
The photos enemies have well staged,
And want to disseminate to mislead others.
My Dear friends, why not take pictures for me,
Of the suffering of millions of Vietnamese;
Half a century spent in prison groaning,
Their resentment would not fade even after their death.
Take for me pictures of young Vietnamese girls,
Lining up naked and waiting to be selected,
Or children with the aroma of milk still on their faces,
Being sold into slavery in far-away countries.
Take for me pictures of mothers’, fathers’ eyes,
Where from springs of tears only blood comes out,
Crying for children and grandchildren gone that year,
Buried in the sea, thrown into the unknown abyss.
Take for me pictures of wounded soldiers’ fate,
For the country, they selflessly fought in the battle fields,
Now infirm and deep in their resentment,
They struggle in the strong winds and storms.
Take pictures for me of the old people,
Herded by the procurers to beg on the streets;
When night falls, they turn all the money in,
In exchange for tear-filled rice bowls, to survive.
Take pictures for me of the dead fishermen,
Killed many times by the Chinese over the wide sea
Or the coffins still open,
Of returning fathers and brothers who labored in
Take pictures for me of country people’s tragedies,
Barbarous beatings even of the innocent,
Or scenes of heroes who refuse to bend their knees,
Shouldering misery in their immense, dark prisons.
Take pictures for me of the frontier landmarks with China,
Encroaching on Vietnamese land, left by our forefathers,
Our highland wilderness
Offered in tribute to China by beastly, coward people.
Capture for me the sad graveyards,
That have been destroyed, their gravestones gone.
The living have no choice but to endure sufferings,
But why should the dead also endure the same things?
Please take pictures for me of all the misery,
The true pictures of an unfortunate country
Where you , a long time ago, a long cold and windy night,
Hatefully braved the wind out to sea.
In a small boat, with cups of water to hold on to life,
Risking your life on the forceful waves.
Then in exile in foreign lands,
Time flies and memories fade.
Sooner or later, we all find solace,
April has come, how many still remember?
California, the beginning of National Indignation Season, 2010
Translated by HH, edited by HVH