Feb 5, 2021 | Writing

a painting at a house party in NE D.C.

by

a painting at a house party in NE D.C.

by

This D.C. poem by Andy Tran begins, "hi there, my name is Andrew Tran / my friends call me Andy, or sometimes / asshole, or sometimes a painting"

—for my Mama, for Dad, and for Victoria aka lil Goat, for A-Team

hi there, my name is Andrew Tran

my friends call me Andy, or sometimes

asshole, or sometimes a painting

at a house party in NE D.C. / i live in VA,

right off Braddock rd by a shopping center

named after a King, but I think it’s artifice,

these days, i can’t tell what’s concrete,

and what’s fake, but i know what’s true

is that i worry about my friends in D.C.,

constantly, it’s at this time perpetual,

like my mom’s lower back pain that began

when she fell off her blue bicycle as she rode

down the street away from my cul-de-sac

towards my old elementary school,

when she skirted off the sidewalk,

down the street, to the other side

where there was a forest trail,

and a house with a MAGA sign

stabbed into the front lawn,

grass cut from a man who looked tired,

lonely, desperate, as he sucked 

his red striped straw, slurping 

on Coca-Cola (presumably),

from a Styrofoam cup, his eyes hollow and red,

my mom’s face smeared and wet from a puddle,

each of them refusing to look at each other, 

and in ways I realize this scene

may seem dramatic and strange,

in ways that i realize

may seem indecipherable,

but with language, don’t we try to capture

the essence of what is the moment,

which is the experience, revealed through time?

my friend asked me what an arbiter was,

and i told her to look at her phone screen,

and check her reflection, so she could realize

the power she had in the eyes of her own.

Discover more work by Andy Tran.
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