On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong

You will need to take this slowly, read again, ponder. The intense lyricism of the animal-related imagery, with wave-like repetition and crescendo, sets your mind off into timeless drifts. Perhaps the kind of drift that a young Vietnamese refugee descendant would use as a defence against racist and homophobic attack and the multi-faceted pain and loss of drug abuse.


And yet, even here, writing you, the physical fact of your body resists my moving it. Even in these sentences, I place my hands on your back and see how dark they are as they lie against the unchangeable white backdrop of your skin. Even now, I see the folds of your waist and hips as I knead out the tensions, the small bones along your spine, a row of ellipses no silence translates. Even after all these years, the contrast between our skin surprises me- the way a blank page does when my hand, gripping a pen, begins to move through its spatial field, trying to act upon its life without marring it. But by writing, I mar it. I change, embellish, and preserve you all at once.

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