Postcards from the End of America

Featured Postcards: Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose and Cheyenne .

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SUPPORT THIS PROJECT--Over 7,600 photos of Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Allentown, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Austin, Baltimore, Battle Mountain, Bellows Falls, Bensalem Township, Berkeley, Bethlehem, Bolivar, Boston, Bordentown, Boulder, Brooklawn (NJ), Buffalo, Burlington (NJ), Cambridge, Camden, Carbondale, Carmel, Cedar Rapids, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Cherry Hill, Chester, Cheyenne, Chicago, Claymont (DE), Cleveland, Collingswood (NJ), Columbus, Daly City, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, El Cerrito, El Paso, Emeryville, Ewing Township (NJ), Freemont, Gary, Glassboro, Glenside (PA), Gloucester, Grinnell, Haddonfield (NJ), Harpers Ferry, Harrisburg, Hoboken, Houston, Jackson, Jersey City, Joliet, Kansas City (KS), Kansas City (MO), Kennewick, Knoxville, Lancaster, Langhorne, Laurel Springs (NJ), Levittown (PA), Lindenwold (NJ), Los Angeles, Marcus Hook, McCook, Media (PA), Milpitas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Newark, New Harmony, Normal, Norristown, North Charleston, Oakland, Omaha, Orlando, Osceola, Overland Park, Palmyra (NJ), Pasco, Penndel, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Raleigh, Redwood City, Reno, Richmond, Richmond (CA), Riverside (NJ), Rutland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Bruno, San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, San Xavier del Bac, Sausalito, Savannah, Scranton, Somerdale (NJ), South San Francisco, Springfield (IL), St. Louis, St. Paul, Steelton, Stratford (NJ), Taylor (PA), Trenton, Tucson, Union City (NJ), Ventnor, Vineland, Washington, West New York, Westmont (NJ), Wichita, Williston, Wilmington, Wolf Point, Woodbury (NJ) and Youngstown, etc.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

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Chris-of-Double-Cross--Scranton








Chris, guitarist for Double Cross. Chris' day job is school bus driving.



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Classic-Rock-Fest-at-the-Hilton--Scranton-3









[Fab Three]



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Classic-Rock-Fest-at-the-Hilton--Scranton-2










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Classic-Rock-Fest-at-the-Hilton--Scranton








2nd Annual Classic Rock Fest at the Hilton.

"Back by popular demand….JZ Tours Classic Rock Fest. One night…THREE bands! Dance away your winter blues and enjoy something different to do. There will be food stations, beer specials, and plenty of room to get your groove on!
Event will take place at Hilton Downtown Scranton in the Main Ball Room, doors open at 6:30 pm, first band starts at 7pm.
Bands will include:

Fab Three – Check them out!
Wannabees – Check them out!
DoubleCross – Check them out!"



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Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Two-portraits-of-Kennedy-in-Dean's--Grays-Ferry








Dean's. When I lived in Grays Ferry 29 years ago, it was still mostly Irish. Now, it's mostly black and Dean's is one of the last Irish bars left. Two years ago, I took a photo in Tasker Tavern, catty corner from Dean's, but Tasker is now closed.

As for JFK, check out this article by Laurent Guyénot.

Finally, thanks to a $100 check from a repeat donor in North Carolina, I'm heading to Taylor, PA next week to spend a couple of days with Chuck Orloski. Last year, I wrote about Chuck's family and Scranton. About six months ago, Chuck was laid off but has found new work as a school bus driver.



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WE-ARE-POSERS--Point-Breeze










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Friday, November 14, 2014

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View-towards-downtown--Detroit-3








I fixed a bunch of old photos, deleted some lamer ones, and found the above, taken in July of 2010.



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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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Dean--Iowa-2








Dean bought his stash of Buds before boarding. On the train, each can costs $5.25.



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Dean--Iowa








57-years-old, Dean is from Holland, MI, but has lived in Ohio, Louisiana, California and Oregon. A ex-junkie and life long con man, he has been jailed for 10 years altogether, and when I met him on the train going through Iowa seven weeks ago, Dean had just been released from a Michigan prison. He let me in on some of the intricacies of barcode, check and credit card frauds, and said he's a kind of Robin Hood, "I give money to the poor. I'm stealing for Jesus."

"So how come he lets you go to jail?"

"Because sometimes it's good to go to jail."

Traveling on Amtrak, Dean would buy a ticket for the shortest ride, but stay in the lounge car or steal seat tags to ride for as long as possible, and he's almost never caught and kicked off the train. This time, he was going to Northern California to see some friends, then his 13-year-old daughter in Portland. Born in jail, Chelsea had never seen her dad and was living with an aunt.

"Have you stayed in touch with her?"

"I've never seen or talked to her, but I sent her presents a couple of times."

"Is she angry at you?"

"I don't know."

"Does she know you're coming?"

"No."

Dean called a California girlfriend, "You always had the prettiest face, and I sure did look at it. I just got out of jail, yahoo! and I'm coming to play with you!"

When hungry, Dean would go to the dining car and beg the kitchen staff for food, and they'd give it to him, "Good stuff too. They'd just throw it away anyway."

Dean counsels, "You've got to use your brain. I've always used my brain. They steal too, so I steal, but I don't rip off the little guys. I'd never steal from you."

Dean's take on the current situation, "We're coming to the End Time. We have the anti-Christ as the Pope, and an African as the President."



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Monday, November 10, 2014

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Point-Breeze-bus-stop-in-9-14--Point-Breeze








Point Breeze, across the street from dead cat below. This is a 20-minute walk from my front door.



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Dead-cat-with-fly--Point-Breeze










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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Package

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When ma got sick, I returned home,
Became fat and slovenly, to take care
Of her until she died. Medical bills stacked,
Sapping my savings. Actually, I have
Always been full-sized, but round or not,
I worked my rear off. Working from home,
I edited and wrote for a financial newsletter,

Before they dumped me in 2011, thanks
To the crash of 08. It’s still crashing. When
I couldn’t make rent, my roommate covered
My ass for three months, before she herself
Had to move back to her mom and pop.
Homeless, I left Modesto and took refuge

At a cousin’s house in Glendale. Near
LA, surely I can find a job tutoring,
If not editing? I have a BA
From a crap school, but it’s still a BA,
And I’ve a paralegal certificate.
For six months, I interned for a judge,
So my labor was welcome, except
The system didn’t want to pay,
For why pay when you can get
The desperate to slave for free?

The longer you stay jobless, the more
Unhireable you become, since you’re
Classified by potential employers as
Inherently lazy, and it doesn’t help
To be obese, which is nearly unavoidable
Since you’re sitting home all day, depressed
And eating corn chips and frozen burritos.

With no prospects out West, I thought,
Why not try DC, where the economy
Is jerked around and thriving? I sold
Most of my books and electronics.
I also raised nearly $600
On Go Fund Me. I was aiming
For 5,000. Oh, well. Still, I had
Enough for a train ticket, one way,
Since I was confident. As for housing,
I’d stay at a residential motel in Laurel,
Which is a bus and two trains from DC.

Here, I would surely get a job, but first,
Some sightseeing! In spite of myself,
I felt my chest swell just looking at
All those marble columns and steps, plus
More mowed grass than I’d ever seen.
In front of the White House, I ignored
Some crazy old lady protesting something.
In the cold, she lurked from inside a tent.

A month later, I’m still jobless and
More hopeless than ever. I have
Three Fs against me. One, I’m fat.
Two, I’m over fifty. Three, I’m female.
But then again, who isn’t ugly, really?
If you’re unkind, everyone is grotesque.
Actually, if I was a young, skinny female,
Someone would propably hire me for
Tasks that might even require brains. Lying

On this large bed with extra pillows, I wish
I could be locked inside here forever.
The bedside lamp has a low wattage bulb.
The curtain slit has an immortal glow, and
Outside, it might even be sunshiny.
All would be fine if I didn’t have a
Package to feed, wash and keep warm even.




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Friday, November 7, 2014

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AMERICAN-LEGION-POST-13--Cumberland











AMERICAN-LEGION-POST-13--Cumberland-(detail)










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Thursday, November 6, 2014

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Old-man-on-floor-of-Union-Station-in-9-14--Washington










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Patriotic-suitcase-in-9-14--Washington










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Man-on-train-with-small-laptop--Illinois










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Woman-doing-a-handstand--Omaha










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FAMILY-BARGAINS--Osceola











FAMILY-BARGAINS--Osceola-(detail)










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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

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Hai-Dang-at-the-Waveland--Des-Moines








Hai-Dang Phan wrote the brilliant introduction to my anthology of new Vietnamese poetry, The Deluge, and he's also a poet, with a poem coming out soon in the New Yorker. He teaches at Grinnell College.



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Waveland-Cafe--Des-Moines-3








Waveland Cafe rules! Top is chicken fried steak, bottom is Mexican omelet.



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Followers

About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy and England. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.