Monday, February 20, 2012

[Poem] Lady Xoc

Jesus marimba, lady, your noble rite
Leaves me with nightmares.
Jack the Ripper and Doctor Lecter
Have nothing on your offers
Of paper, blood and flame
From your well-traveled tongue.

The taste of midnight thorns from
Fragrant Yaxchilan shrubbery
Are regal semaphore flags 
Fluttering for the coldest heavens.

Shield Jaguar with his raging torch covertly 
Averts his stony gaze from 
The barbed stingray tail dangling within 
Your delicate hands, struggling not to wince.

"It is the smoke," he mutters.
To blanch: Unbecoming of a warrior king.

My department says I’m an ethnocentric brute 
Who understands nothing
Of the demands of power among the Maya.

My American judgments have no place
Amid your holy incantations, and I will be
Ostracized like Socrates for suggesting 

Our First Ladies should be grateful 
Things turned out this way
And not the other.

From BARROW, 2009
February 20th is Presidents' Day


edouard dupas said...

Very pleased to get to know about an american laotian poet and enjoying his art !

I myself run a french website dedicated to poetry and translate poets from all over the world.

May i translate one of your poem into french to introduce your work to a french audience ?

best regards


Bryan Thao Worra said...

Mais oui, you are welcome to translate any of my poems you wish with my blessings. :)

edouard dupas said...

Mister Thao Woora

thank you for the answer, i will then select some of your poems and translate them. Do you actually speak french ? Then maybe you could assess how poetic and faithful my translations are !

I hope we will be able to exchange more about poetry. For instance, which poets do you consider as your guides in writting ?


Bryan Thao Worra said...

My French is passing, and I have several colleagues who would also be able to appreciate the musicality and excellence of a particular translation.

I might suggest some of the poems from "Between Souls" at

Those are particularly well suited for translation due to their relative ease of structure and brevity. :) If there is anything I can assist you with in the process, let me know. :)



edouard dupas said...

Thank you very much. I have paged through the poems of the "Between Souls" book and some of them really caught my attention with their images and suggestions.

I will try this week to translate one for a start

Don't hesitate to tell your french speaking friends about my website ehe


edouard dupas said...

Dear Bryan,

I have started to work on the translation of your poems "from between souls" and i delighted with it.

But actually, I think I could go further than just translating and handful of your poems.

I think I could handle the translation of several of your collections of poems and ask some french publishing houses to publish them. This could definitely enlarge your audience and allow french speaking readers to discover your works and get familiar with it. Right now i am thinking about several publishing houses : Gallimard, Buchet Chastel, etc.

Would you be interested in this ?


Edouard Dupas

Bryan Thao Worra said...

I think there can be an excellent case made for this. There's a significant body of Lao living in France, as well as those with experience there, Edouard. :) Let's explore the possibility. :) As always, a delight to hear from you. You can of course also e-mail me at if you have questions. :)