07 December 2005

Death of a Salesman: Final Farewell to Nguyen Tuong Van

A Poem for Nguyen Tuong Van
By Ian Bui
Dallas,TX, USA

They carefully measure my weight
Then faithfully record my height
To calculate a string so straight
With which to stop my fall in flight

It is a most humane method
With a poetic sounding name
Officials call it the “Long Drop”
But in the end it’s all the same

They say my neck will snap so fast
Hardly will I feel any pain—
A “comatose asphyxia” blast
(If all metrics conform to plan)

Mother, forgive me for your grief
I never meant to cause you shame
Brother, my life – however brief
You’re not the one to take the blame

Let them who wealth and fortunes make
Upon the backs of mules like me
And them whose power to give and take
Is stained with blood which none can see

Let them who judge us by their book
Yet lie in proud hypocrisies
One day themselves be tried as crooks
Who are earth’s vilest enemies

When I am gone, please do not weep
Take up the fight where it belongs
I’ll give you all the rope you need
To set aright these onerous wrongs

My spine they’ll break from the gallows
Thusly I’ll pay my exit toll
When that sun rises tomorrow
Your love and spirit sheathe my soul

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