‘The Weight of Our Living: On Hope, Fire Escapes and Visible Desperation’ by Ocean Vuong

This early piece by Ocean Vuong uses the symbol of a fire escape clinging to the outside of a New York building to consider our relationship to danger, fear and hope. Through the lens of his uncle’s suicide, he considers what it means to be able to communicate that which is unsayable, and the role of art and writing in providing a language which can pull us out of the dark. He writes, “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world, says Wittgenstein. And if we continue to censor our most vital dialogues, our world can only grow smaller. And here, the poem does not necessitate admittance to anyone’s dinner table. It speaks to whomever chooses to listen, whomever needs it. But mostly, it avoids the easy answers, the limited and stunted, convenient closures.”

First published in The Rumpus, 2014. Available online here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s