105 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, July 23, 2024


In loving memory of the inclusivity and resilience of Maya Angelou

The Poetry

“Sai Khớp (Disjointed)”



The jade skies

Streaked with filth

Hold no more birds

The map says Ho Chi Minh City

My heart says Saigon

Robbed from me    suffocated in the thief’s bag


My girl

With lotus petal skin

Her pruned hands sifting

Through the reeds in the paddies

Her midnight eyes-

Hair framing the sides of her faces       like the aerial roots of a banyan

Hanging down with tender fingers    that brush the stony earth

The explosion of her touch in my weak heart

The drop of a grenade

My knees give way

I escaped with my life

Yet I live as an apparition bound to the barren sands

Where my love, my people, were buried alive

Still writhing







“Help Me, I’m Stuck in My Own Body”



My body is an airtight container.

Within it, my soul pounds at its one-way reflective sides

In an agonizing fervor.


While the pressure rises with the time,

I wonder how long I can withstand this prison

As the weight above me threatens to collapse

To crush my bones into a fine powder

Where my residue will be swept up by the currents

And spread out until the particles fade.


My body is a powerful guard holding me captive,

So I try to starve it of its energy

But my weakness bombards me with ravishing impulses

Seizing control of my being and forcing me to act

Only to hand me the reins back to my being

After my will has been broken and I have succumbed.


My mind is a hopeful parasite that feeds off my sickening dreams

Of another existence I could be living

Mere imagination that fuels me to continue struggling

Even though there is no treasure at the end of that route.

I feed my deluded dream by continuing to live

And it uses this energy to suggest to me a reward beyond a veil

That corrodes my hand if I ever so happen to try reaching past it.


I am a living, hateful creature within this container

With hands too tattered to force the lid to pry itself open.

I am a wretched being, bled and burned

Wrapped with delicate linen that unwinds itself at my feet

The more I thrash about

Leaving my skin vulnerable to the blistering, pervasive light

That shines through all the transparent sides.


I want so desperately to break free and transform this container

Until it ceases to recognize itself and I recognize me

To show that in this hopeless domain, I have some sort of power

Even if it only comes in the form of a short breath

In an insufferably long, slurred song.


I do not know who she is,

The reflection on the sides of this stronghold

She looks at me with empty eyes and I want to destroy her

But she is forever imprinted in material I cannot alter

And my soul sits back and weeps because

The undeniable truth of the matter is that

She is also me

Even though I wish instead; I was born He.





Dahlia Pham is a first year English major here at UC Davis who enjoys satirical writing of all kinds, writing snippets of words that ultimately come from nothing, napping, doodling on free spaces of worksheets, learning new languages on DotA 2 and responding to everyone’s messages. She often wonders if there should be more done with life instead of browsing the internet idly to stare at things. Aspirations include pursuing meaningful work, getting a shiny sticker in four years, not being a leader or follower (but still respecting both roles), not sleeping at 5 a.m. daily and being a true friend. “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend,” – Albert Camus





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Photo by Courtesy.
Graphics by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team.


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