Red Paint Hill

"In stanzas as flippant as they are philosophical, Vi Khi Nao shines light on the seasons of the body, its vastness, and the boundaries between genders. The Old Philosopher is an examination of the space between people, between organs, between tongues. Where does my body, my experience, my love begin––where does yours end?

 

This drama takes place in an intimate landscape where "the / tongue was like a hammock, rocking the mouth in the / heat, dividing the atmosphere & hemisphere & there / was snow between us."

 

With textural language so visceral and delicious that it lodges itself in ligaments and blood vessels, we learn that "The heart is a quiet mountain in the Northern Hemisphere of the Body." This pulsing reverberates from page to mouth to circulatory system. Each poem left me longing to taste language more deeply, more fully. In a five-page poem titled “My Socialist Saliva,” Nao invokes the connection between bodies across the terrain of generations: “My mother’s hair flipping through the pages of the air / The rubber trees tall and skinny / Whose backs wouldn’t break very easily.” Strength comes in loving, in standing tall, in finding home in the most unexpected of places."