Archive: Leaving Ha Noi


For Jacqui
In a season made for wandering,
colours and corners newly uncovered
are more alive for being found
on soon-departing feet.
Following tangled wires
down shuttered lanes,
grappling twisted weeds
to unearth secret mansions.
Farewell photos against fading numbers
of time-worn xe-ôm drivers.
No need of them,
feet press on.
A park, our very own lake,
coconuts and shuttlecocks and
Five in a row
with uncle Hồ,
Smile sweet but eyes afire
with time-honed killer boardgame instinct.
We lose, in game terms,
but our feet must move on.
There are ladies running rings around Lenin, backwards.
In Hà Nọi
some days
like Moses parting the mopeds
everything goes your way.


Thong Nhat Park, Hanoi

Benevolent Uncles Ton Duc Thang and Ho Chi Minh

From here on December 12th 2011.


Archive: Notes from the cliff face

Portrait of Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh, good at using the internet even before it was invented

Teacher: Does anyone know any older people who can use new technology?

Students (in unison): Alcohol!

Teacher: Alcohol?

Students: Yes, do you know alcohol? Alcohol is known in Vietnam, always use new technology! All Vietnam peoples are know him!

And then the penny dropped.

The moral of the story? Never underestimate Vietnamese students’ ability to turn any given conversation to Uncle Ho.

From here on October 5th 2010.