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Author: Ky-Phong Tran
Age: 30
Location: Long Beach, California

Ky-Phong Tran was named after the wind, the original earth element that fears no borders, which is fitting for an exiled child of the Vietnamese Diaspora.

Raised in Long Beach, California, he is working on a novel, napalm's children, and short story collection, 562. A founding member of the Vietnamese Artists Collective, he is a Graduate Fellow in UC Riverside's MFA Program in Creative Writing.

He writes to breathe and dares to imagine a better world.



Guernica, Vietnam

I know how Guernica
felt
the day
she returned to Spain

it must have
been like
the day
I flew to Vietnam

both of us
refugees
exiles
castaways
of long ago spats

she taken down from
NY's MOMA
released from her taught frame
rolled up
boxed into a crate
shipped off by jet

my dad drove me
to LAX
released from my taught frame
packed into my seat
buckled in
shipped off by jet

she had
applause at the
Prado

I had
hugs and kisses
at Tay Son Nhat Airport

did Guernica
sniff the Spanish air
like I did Vietnam's?
hear the rise and fall
of our mother tongue?
taste an ancient past denied us?
see our shadows for the first time?

did she
feel complete
like I did?

as the Cortes
and masses
and Gernika herself
yearned for
her

my dead ancestors
my living cousins
Vietnam herself
yearned for
me

we were both
meant to be back
home
(though neither had ever been there)

born on foreign soil
she in
Paris, France
and I in
Huntsville, Alabama
nonetheless
both
vehemently
Spanish,
Vietnamese

I know how the
horse
feels
twisted, writhing
my mother holds
anguish
to the left
and the bull watches
apathetically

Guernica
knew me before I
was born
an oracle to
My Lai
and Saigon
and Long Beach

her
black and white
gray and blue oils
press palm prints
on my
cheeks

as I write
stories
for a new age
with her
as my muse



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