Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

because i don't know what to say

Kỳ này dùng giấy khổ to hơn tí, nên nếu bác GM và bác Lừng thấy ưng tấm nào thì cứ lên tiếng hỉ!

When we went to the sea that day.

Tôi đứng đợi dưới tàn cây anh đào.

wish you were here

Friday, April 23, 2010

The O.R.

The operating room (henceforth, O.R.) is a hypnotic place. It’s cutting edge. It tears me in two.

Last week I got to see an open heart surgery (replacement of the tricuspid valve) and a whipple (the patient had pancreatic cancer, so the surgeons went in, cut out the pancreas, cut out a piece of the liver because the tumor had begun to spread there, and also removed a chunk of the large intestine).

On the one hand, I love the guts and gore of surgery. The surgeons are merciless—they hack and saw and rip away at the patient’s body as if it is the only right thing to do, as if the body-patient is made specifically and only for that purpose. That’s troubling, but I will talk about the troubles later. Right now, let’s talk about love. I love the instruments. They’re all so orderly and intricate; each have their own identity and function and place on that sterile field. No infringements of purposes; no excess of use. In the company of competent surgeons, they become extensions of dexterous hands and nimble fingers. There is a system for everything and everybody; each action has a purpose, no randomness exists. Don’t misunderstand, I think randomness is a vital force of nature. Serendipity is the opening of the universe, a chance to experience life and love larger than our selves. But sometimes, lack of randomness, oddly, also feels right (maybe because so much of nature is not random). And what I love most of all, most of all, is the mystery of the body (seemingly) revealed. It’s beautiful. It’s mesmerizing. I could watch for hours and hours and not get bored. It’s the ultimate voyeuristic experience. It’s spellbinding.

Unfortunately, the operating room is also Janus faced. While it fascinates me to no end that I can look so deeply inside the body, see where things are and how things rise and fall, beat and pulse, I also feel extremely uncomfortable at how quickly one can forget the patient who owns that body. It unnerves me how one can immediately be completely removed from one’s body. As soon as the anesthesiologist has you subdued, your body becomes a thing. Your face is covered, draped over, eyes taped shut, you are already sectioned. Then you become a piece of meat—that’s what I kept thinking when I saw the surgeons cut through the bones and tissues to get to the organs. And by consequence, I think, because you’re removed from the body, you’re also removed from participating in your health care. How much participation can there be if you’re knocked out and have no idea what’s being done? You don’t know that while the surgeons are cutting at your heart, they’re also taping their feet, humming a tune they’d heard on the radio this morning, and occasionally interject a joke about the pancreas? And everybody in the room is so casual about it, as if this cutting into your body is nothing more than wiping away spilled coffee. The circulating nurse may even do a little dance to the beat that’s radiating from the speakers in some corner of the room.

And then there’s the standing. So much standing. And standing in one place at that. Who likes that, seriously? If you have to stand in one place, you might as well stand on one leg, but that just may be my cut off point.

Je pense a toi

Nhờ vào nhà anh GM, tìm được bài này trên blog của bạn này , thích quá, post lên bên nhà mình luôn.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

đã quá đêm ứ đọng

không còn thời gian, đã không còn thời gian. sắp hết một đêm. đêm thứ mấy rồi nhỉ? sao tôi không nhớ ra được.

có bao giờ người ta khủng hoản chờ đợi?

làm cái gì cũng không đúng. phải làm động tác gì bây giờ? ngồi phơi mình trong bóng tối chăng? hay im lặng đong đưa trên hai gót chân? làm gì nhỉ? làm những gì có thể làm. hát chẳng hạng. nho nhỏ thôi. hát đi. it's very clear, our love is here to stay. not for a year, for ever and a day. it's very clear, our love is here to stay. not for a year, for ever and a day. it's very clear, our love is here to stay. not for a year, for ever and a day. ...

đã quá rồi. quá giấc. quá cơn điên. quá nhớ. quá đêm ứ đọng. như vầy lại nhớ tới anh. tôi muốn bóp chết anh. đập anh vỡ nát như đống chén dĩa trên sàn nhà kia. tôi sẽ quét anh vào một chỗ, rồi từ tốn ghép anh lại thành một cái mosaic, nhé. anh sẽ lộng lẫy rực rỡ gấp ngàn lần. you will become art, a surface for me to place my coffee cups. ừ, sẽ làm như vậy.

when i have nothing else to do but think of you

autumn of grass

one early evening

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

cool days of lavender

for those cool days in early spring. "with nothing to do/ but run around heaven all day."

Monday, April 19, 2010

letter to Mr. H

Dear Mr. H,

I write to thank you. Thank you for showing me how to be a nurse, and for reminding me that life always moves in one direction forward.

Even though I could not speak Korean and you do not speak English, we got along quite well and made a very good team I think. I am glad I was there when your daughter came to visit. She is very talented—only 22 and almost finished with pharmacy school. And very beautiful too—big Asian almond eyes that seem to turn whatever it sees into gold. I know you are very proud of her, Mr. H, and even though I have only met her once, I am proud of her too. She must be the reason why you keep on fighting, a quiet, unrelenting fight. I wish I could speak Korean, so I could ask you how you’re doing it, where you get that strength from, because I would like to borrow some of it.

Mr. H, I love you. I love you very much. I love you with the love I have but did not show for my father. I hope you did not mind me constantly watching over you, even while you were sleeping, always swinging in and out of your room like a pendulum. It just felt so necessary to be a hawk, you know? Because I am now a hawk that can see.

And if it seemed like I was constantly checking your heart and listening to your lungs and feeling your pulse, I was. Because I could hold your hand and help you up like I did not do for my father. I’m sorry if I keep bringing up my father, it’s just that I have found that actions done with love are transferrable, between different bodies, different times, even different languages. Love is like a fruit carried downstream--some miles down river it will land, take root, and sprout into a new tree. It doesn't need to stay in its place of origin. This transfer was done without my knowing, really, until after it is done and I realize that time has begun to move forward again as it should (instead of backward staccatos as it has been).

The sky is bright today, Mr. H. The air is clear. Winds are warm like my children’s kisses. Life is happening, and we are all alive. We will continue to live, won’t we, and live gloriously? We will try, at least. That is my promise. I will try, and you will try with me, because your daughter is so beautiful, and you have so much love, and because you are still alive, and spring is here, and even though spring will end in a few months, it will come back again. And we’ll come back too, won’t we? Because spring always comes back and love is transferrable.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

lilac wine

so i'm sitting here reading Dan Shapiro's "Mom's Marijuana". it's after midnight, everything is quiet except for the occassional car passing by. suddenly i smell a swift of lilac. where can it come from? it's too early for lilac; lilac doesn't bloom until summer. i want to follow the scent, find the source of this disruption, but it's too late, and i'm too tired, so i just sit here instead and revel in the pleasure of this sweet quiet scent. i guess it doesn't really matter where the scent came from, now that it's here. on a cool night like this, i'm glad to have its company.

it reminds me of Ha Long, an old friend from college. crazy sick dude. as in very funny and goofy. tall, lanky man forever in his teens. studied microbiology (i believe his dissertation was something about viral replication), taught himself the guitar, took motorcycle lessons and bought himself a second-hand harvey, loved to cook and eat and drink home-made beer ...made in his bathtub. i miss that crazy dude.

he introduced me to this other dude, who, here, sings about lilac wine: