Poem: Pbouk Slew the Demons

This week we have a guest poem by Peuo Tuy, a Khmer American poet. A spoken word poet, creative workshop instructor, and community organizer, her poetry collection, Khmer Girl (2014), is inspired by the traumas of her life, including her family escaping the killing fields of their native Cambodia and enduring the inequities of life as immigrants in the United States.


Peuo Tuy  is one of the founding members and the Executive Director of the new Cambodian American Literary Arts Association, a non-profit literary arts association dedicated to the cultivation, visibility, and freedom of expression of emerging and established writers in the Cambodian diaspora. You can visit her online at www.peuotuy.com She was recently featured at WHYY for her poem “She raises her shovels and hoes high.”

Pbouk Slew the Demons

Shiva, Supreme Being, my ancestors revered you.
Hold in high respect your benevolence.
Living a severe self-discipline life,
you created a movement of outwitting the devil.

Rid yourself of
drugs, alcohol, gambling, abuse, abstinence.

Your yogi ways, in our contemporary culture,
we are unaware of your powers.
But I revive you because I need you to slay the demons.
And kill them with your kinetic energy –
through meditation and the arts.
When you finish slaying the demons,
we will roll out the golden-straw-mat,
look up to you to continue to be our protector,
transform our bad habits into Nirvana.

We see you walking…

Shiva, when I die, I want my spirit to be in solidarity with yours.
Take my hand and let’s travel back to Cambodia and India,
into a world where both our ancestors lived
through Hinduism and Buddhism.

Shiva, it’s because of you and Theravada,
my father rid his toxins and he slayed the demons as well.
He no longer drinks, gambles, smokes, or physically abuses me.

Ma and Pbouk merrily renewed their vows in the village of Chakai Koun.
I celebrate quietly as I watched the gleefully married couple.

Theravada and Shiva,
                        thank you for tying the white threads on my parents wrists all these years.


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