A Ballad for My America

Nightline, Ted Koppel, October 14, 2004
One score and ten autumns since Saigon fell
ABC sent its news crew to the hamlet,
Interviewed the poor peasants at the riverbank
They still trust the intricate control of the Viet Cong. 

Vietnam scarred its S-shaped map in my heart, 
Flashbacks came alive with the late night interview:
The Iron Curtain, the rules of the fist,
The witnesses had no freedom with the foreigners present
ABC still trusts the intricate control of the Viet Cong.

A Vietnamese American returned home for a visit
He swallowed his integrity to be left alone at the airport
His proud American Passport sadly bent to the pressure 
A ten-dollar bill hidden inside for the gate official
The American media still trusts the intricate control of the Viet Cong.

A friend of mine came home to Hanoi last summer
Holding his Mother's cold hands for the last time
His family was in mourning,
But the local officials smelled dollars, they solicited...
The Americans can never comprehend the Viet Cong control.

My adoptive aunt whom I met at the tent city, Camp Pendleton
Has not seen her parents since the Geneva Treaty sent her Southward
"The local VC officials smelled my presence as if flies landing on a pile,
Trying to lecture me how great Communism still is, just sickened my head..."
The American news networks still haven't figured out the clandestine VC control.

I have not returned home since the day I became a teenage refugee,
Wandering on the grassy hills of the Marine Base, Camp Pendleton
My heart has been engraved with the words on the billboard
"Freedom Is Not Free"
Trust me, a poet: the American media can never outfox the VC human control...


Linh Duy Vo
October 14, 2004

Hi Mr. Vo,
The words of your poems are beautiful and hopeful. I am happy and encouraged
to know that there are people out there who dare to write as honestly as you.
Rebecca Isaacsor, Carleton College, 23 December 2004.

 

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