And there I am. I recognize the (old) poem of mine because there are very few poems that I have ever written that have "Arthur Miller" and "Marilyn Monroe" not to mention “chẳng có gì cả" In them. And here is where I need your help:
What the hell is this, anyway? And who is it, and why do they love me, or hate me? I know what you are thinking. “Chẳng có gì cả.”
My sentiments exactly.
Still, I am not admitting to anything.
Please, somebody, help me!
But especially my friend "Dan." This friend–this "Dan" if you will–has exercised his lingo savvy know-how and kindly responded to my query regarding the mystery of Nghiên cứu văn hoá. Here is what my good friend, my "Dan", has said:
"Chẳng có gì cả" means "nothing" in Vietnamese. "Nghiên cứu văn hoá" means "cultural studies." Your poem "Cultural Studies" was translated into Vietnamese by Lê Liễu Chi. Mr. Lê appears to be a Vietnamese poet and translator living in Australia. The guys at TIỀN VỆ are trying to establish some kind of pan-media Vietnamese arts center in the Vietnamese diaspora. I think they put out Việt magazine as well, although I think it's only online now. If it is any comfort, no one seems to express any love nor any hate for you. The interest seems to be respecting your musings on poetry in popular culture.Cultural Studies
by RICKY GARNI
there comes a time in which, no matter how important poetry may be, it seems more important to go out and buy throw pillows. sometimes it even seems more important to watch television, although you could argue that poetry is more necessary, but in order to write it, television must be watched. that's possible.
"what's on tonight?" "nothing." well; it doesn't matter; it's still important. more important than poetry? no; the two cannot be separated, one might say, however, one might also say, if it is a particularly important day, or program, then yes, it is. if it isn't, or doesn't. I suppose it also depends on the poem.
of course, if there is a poet on television, reading a poem, that's when life can become difficult and decisions can be excruciating. it's not like going out in the ocean on a surfboard and getting all banged up and coming in and saying "forget it!" no, it is more complex. the t.v.? the poem? the throw pillow? all in one? totality? nothingness? eternity? etc.?
yesterday, arthur miller was on television. they never once mentioned his voluptuous wife, marilyn monroe. they talked about terror and fear. he seemed really old and tired. "do you believe in god?" "well, as I gaze out into the vastness of…" click. off goes the t.v. set. the little luminous dot in the center of the screen reminds me of everything that was good about childhood. even marilyn monroe. even throwing pillows. it is enough.
Originally published through 42 OPUS, some time ago. Thank you, 42 Opus.