Sunday, July 24, 2011

Year Zero

By the time my mother was 15
She had already lost both of her parents

Welcome, to the Year Zero
Where intelligence is sacrificed
For revolution
Shall stand together as a self sufficient country

A letter from myself dates back to my Grandfather
Tu ne peux pas t'figurer comme je t'aime
You have no idea how much I love you                           

Taken away like every pinch of blood the mosquitoes dance away with
Under the dark eyelids of despair
The clueless sky lit up by the crescent moon

They borrowed my mother’s father
Borrowed his brains for brawn
His wit for soul, his power for fright

She never saw him again
Only lived to taste the French Vietnamese blood every time she bit her tongue

Khmer Rouge
It’s French, for
Khmer Kahom

Read. Read. Literature. Intellect. Education. Glasses. Masses. Murders. Humanity. Vanished. Vision. Sight.
The red tears blinded Ma Yey
Cambodian, for

If the starvation didn’t kill her, the grief did
By the time my mother was 15,
Her mind was a battlefield.

Headlines now read:
Cambodia Reds are uprooting millions as they impose a Peasant Revolution

Left Left Left Right Right Left Left Left Left Left Right Away
They left their city home
Their books, their blankets,
Comfort so recognizable now became an imported item

Democratic Kampuchea: we are now a self sufficient country

City giants shrunk to ground ants
Red ants marched from suburban concrete to countryside killing fields
MY mother
Coordinated hand and foot to harvest rice
Coordinated hand and foot with ear and hunger
Her ears eventually grew hungry for the sound of a whistle
Starvation, she says,
Is the worst kind of inadequacy to ever live through

Welcome, to the Year Zero
"To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss."
You shall become New People
Change is inevitable
The only knowledge you seek is about farm labor
Everything else is forbidden

The story of Adam and Eve
God fashions a man from the dust and blows the breath of life into his nostrils,
He plants the Garden of Eden

In the center of the Garden was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

God sets the man in the garden "to work it and watch over it," permitting him to eat all the berries from all the trees in the garden except that one tree,
"for on the day you eat of it you shall surely die."

Forbidden fruit

My mother was responsible for harvesting apples
Sweetly and tenderly the green serpent lay on the ground
Bruised, but my mother still yearned for it
She kissed it with her teeth, but in the most innocent way possible

She had fallen in love with the forbidden fruit
Son of the Tree of Knowledge

The amount of agricultural knowledge the city ants possessed
Invented famine

Lack of food, lack of rest, headlines now read
Cambodia Reds, exterminating professionals and intellectuals

A letter from myself dates back to Brother Number 1
Tu ne peux pas t'figurer comme je vous hais
You have no idea how much I hate you

You yourself was a university-educated man with quite the taste for French literature
Not to mention,
Your tongue swam in waves of fluent French

You killed my Grandfather.

Welcome, to the Year Zero
Goal: Social engineering
Population: 2 million, dead


Patrick Henry: Give me Liberty or give me death
I would much rather be dead than live under your tyranny
John Locke: a man is by nature a social animal
We are all capable of harvesting the Tree of Knowledge

The blood of my unsung heroes seeped deep into my roots
My tongue bleeds a Red Cambodia but my veins scream the agony
My mother’s hands once feared

The year the Year Zero turned to dust
The dirt of my sacred ancestors remnants blow into the wind
The same wind that blew the forbidden fruit off the tree into my mother’s hands
The same wind that whispers the cries of separation my family once experienced
The same wind that wraps my grandmother’s grief around my heart
The same wind that blows through my traditional black hair
Cools the same light skin I inherited from my Grandfather

Tu ne peux pas t'figurer comme je t'aime
You have no idea how much I love you

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