Teresa Mei Chuc

What the U.S. Calls Counter-Terrorism

The Phoenix Program

Not only did the U.S.
try to steal our native land,
it tried to steal our fire bird

Embroidered it onto
patches and gave
those who wore
it a job to assassinate

Calling anyone they believed
to be an insurgent
or Viet Cong or
protecting their own
homeland, a terrorist.

Former Poet Laureate of Altadena, California (2018 to 2020), Teresa Mei Chuc is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, Red Thread (Fithian Press, 2012), Keeper of the Winds (FootHills Publishing, 2014) and Invisible Light (Many Voices Press, 2018). She was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Vietnam War while her father remained in a Vietcong “reeducation” prison camp for nine years. Her poetry appears in journals such as Consequence Magazine, EarthSpeak Magazine, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Kyoto Journal, Poet Lore, Rattle and in anthologies such as New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press, 2010), With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, 2014), Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees (W.W. Norton, 2017) and California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology (Story Street Press, 2020). Teresa is a graduate of the Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program (Poetry) at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and teaches literature and writing at a public high school in Los Angeles. 

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