Hai-Dang Phan

Toss your sandwich into the pond:
it will still be there next week, promise.
Give $5 to the vagabond, who says,
"Hey, Man! How you doing, Man?"
When the clouds reach max capacity,
they unload their sad cargo all over,
and if the tree crashes through your
window, well, then, the tree crashes.
What do you know about the soul?
Or the brief history of the neutrino?
When the alarm sounds, and the news
is bad, real bad, rise up and go out
into the everyday and its aftermath.
Truly, the traffic lights are sweet
when they're all going your way,
and it's nice to catch a solar storm.
But say average lifespan increases,
and you're a free radical charging
through a beautiful, failed city,
remember, woeful days are aplenty.
Tomorrow will call you out
by your true name.








Though I went to Sunday school growing up, I never learned all the names of the books of the Bible, let alone read them, and while I was confirmed in a Lutheran church, the only thing I remember vividly about my confirmation was the stale smell of alcohol on the breath of my friend’s father as he vigorously shook my hand after the service. Yet years later I find myself writing this self-portrait with Ecclesiastes 11.1, towards the end of my program era as a creative writing student, and feeling strangely, undeniably, to use a word that shocks my heretical tongue, blessed.