Postcards from the End of [the] America[n Empire]

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Bernie Sanders supporter with Communist flag--South Broad



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 8


Monday, July 25, 2016


America Was NEVER Great--South Broad



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 7

Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 7 (detail)



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 6



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 5



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 4



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 3






Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad 2



Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad

Bernie supporters on 7-25-16--South Broad (detail)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Obscured American: J.J. the Ex-Pizza Man and Young Lord

As published at Unz Review, 7/25/16:

Responding to my recent articles about race, “Marx Karl” comments at Intrepid Report:

What is Asian racism? In Africa Indians brought by the British to Africa to fulfill middle management posts or run small enterprises treated the whites as superiors and the Africans as inferiors. So in Europe and the US some Asians play Uncle Tom and identify with whites against blacks other Asians who have been on the receiving end of white racism side with blacks […]

I reply:

Marx Karl,

You display remarkable racism and a very poor understanding of human nature by thinking Asians need whites to condition them on how to think about other races.

You obviously have no familiarity with any Asian society.

By thinking that whites are the catalyst to everything, you are in fact a white supremacist.

Believing racism to be strictly a white disease, many progressives conclude that all “people of color” must be in solidarity against whites. In their cartoonish world view, racist and predator whites are pitted against victimized and prejudice-free blacks, browns and yellows.

It has never occurred to these progressives that any man, of any color, has a complex and evolving range of opinions about all races and ethnicities. By sight alone, he will react differently to different types. No one is color blind. Even a slight shift in accent will transform the listener.

Few things are as pathetic, comic and infuriating as a progressive striving to show “a person of color” that he’s not racist while referencing, nearly nonstop, to that person’s race.

Racial assumptions are often complicated, challenged or refuted through direct encounters, however, and that’s why I’m an alcoholic. (Just kidding.) Going to my local bar, I’m presented with individuals, not types, for as soon as I talk to a man, he’s no longer just some Italian, Irish, black or Chinese guy, and J.J., whom you’re about to meet, is certainly no stereotypical Puerto Rican. He’s just J.J.

All these pizzerias are going out of business. It’s the yuppies. They don’t want regular hoagies and pizzas. It has to be whole wheat this, gluten-free that. Regular pizzas just ain’t good enough for them.

I’m a Chinese food eater. I worked in Chinatown, New York, from 70 to 73. I grew up right there, Canal Street. I’ve eaten stuff no American people would eat. “Oooh, what is that? It moves!” What the fuck, just eat it! You know, jelly fish and stuff like that, and it’s fuckin’ good. I’ve eaten seaweed. I was eating kale before kale was popular. Now, everybody wants to eat kale. You know these people have eaten this stuff for thousands of years, and you’re just discovering it?

My first job, I worked for these two Irish brothers on Canal Street. They sold fruits and vegetables. I was playing hooky from school, so they asked me, “You want to work?” I said sure, so they gave me a fly swatter. I was like, “What? Am I supposed to swat flies?!”

You know how people always grab and squeeze fruits so they would get bruised? My job was to swat people’s hands.

On top of my pay, the brothers also gave me food stamps. They would give me, like, thirty or forty bucks of food stamps at a time. The fruit business was just a front. They made real money selling heroin.

One of their partners was this old, Chinese mobster. This guy would only take gold for payments, slips of gold, and he would take diamonds from the Jews. You know those Jews with side locks? It’s a hundred degree out and they have those long coats on. Yeah, these Jews would bring diamonds to the Chinese guy in exchange for heroin.

The Chinese guy said to me, “I’m going to ride the black horse as far as I can, to the very edge, but before I get there, I want to have a well of gold.” That’s what he said, “a well of gold”!

Later, I had a job at a pizzeria in North Carolina. It was by the freeway. The place was busy as shit. This Sicilian guy, Joe, was taking in 40, 50 thousand dollars a week.

One day, this kid showed up, and he was like, “You like to smoke pot?” “Yeah, yeah!” This kid was, like, a crazy redneck kid. I said, “Wow, this is good stuff. How much do you want? How much for an ounce?”

“Ooooh… ten dollars?”

Ten dollars?! I’m thinking, In New York, we’d be paying 75, 80 dollars an ounce, and he’s saying, “Ten dollars”!

His father was the sheriff. He wasn’t the one growing it.

I asked the kid, “What about a big garbage bag?” He said, “Sixty bucks?” I called New York right away, “Yo, come down here and bring the car. We got baaaags! Marijuana, all you can get!”

There’s a secret in this country they don’t tell you about. Have you heard of R.J. Reynolds? They and the other tobacco companies were the ones growing this shit, and the sheriffs in those states were protecting them.

You know that the sheriff in every state has more power than the FBI? The sheriff can go everywhere. The FBI can’t.

You hear all that shit about the KKK and sheriffs… they’re all together, they’re the same people. All that redneck, KKK, sheriff, state police, they’re all together, they’re all related. Cousin Joe, cousin Bob, ba ba bee ba boom!

I know a good six or seven L&I and LCB, licenses and inspections, and liquor control guys. I went to eat with an L&I guy, and he pulled out a thick roll like this. Hundreds and twenties. I asked him, “Why do you have to show me that, man?” But you know how it is, they become your friends, they have to impress you.

When they take you out to eat, they take you to places where nobody else eats.

Right here, I know lots of Vietnamese guys who pay. It’s like, Hi! Hi! They’re hugging and kissing like they’re family. You can have some food on the house, and this is for you to take home. The inspector goes home. There’s some noodles, and something extra at the bottom. Oh yeah, here’s a couple hundred dollars! He gets number five to go, and there’s a little extra!

Happy birthday! Here’s a birthday card, and in the envelope, there’s a couple of hundred bucks. This is for your daughter’s birthday. How’s the family? And they’ll look at you like, ha ha, but they’ll take it.

If you don’t pay, they can come in and, you know, there’s something wrong over here, and something wrong over here. They can close you. You can get fucked up.

In New York, it’s like that. Here, it’s like that. Jersey is like that. I’ve been in places in the middle of nowhere, it’s like that, so don’t let anybody tell you…

Here, you have to pay Brady a hundred grand to become a judge. The Democrats have run this city for, what, fifty-one years now? The Republicans control the liquor board. It hasn’t been audited in 45 years.

What’s a fundraiser? What’s a charity event? It’s just a loophole, another way to pay. Pay to play, that’s what it is.

Listen, in every culture, in India, Asia, everywhere south of the border, in Jamaica, Haiti, it’s like that. It’s everywhere. Here, too.

Then there’s the civic forfeiture law. That’s when they take your house because somebody sold drugs in it. You know they’ve never been audited? Nobody knows where the money goes, if it’s the cops, the state or whoever.

Trump is a gangster. People have no idea. First, to build anything with concrete, construction, you have to pay off and be involved with those people. You have to sit down with them. That’s Mafia. You’re in the casino business, goddamn, you’ve got to deal with those people. When he was in the casino business in Atlantic City, he was involved with two of the biggest Asian mobsters in the world, then he broke away from them, because they were getting him hot. “Listen, we can’t be partners no more.” He sold a hundred million dollars’ worth of properties to this Russian guy. Dmitry R… I can’t pronounce his last name. It turned out this guy’s one of the biggest mobsters in Russia. So, Trump goes on TV and says, “I can work with Putin.” Yeah, because he knows all of them! “I can work with China on trades.” Yeah, because he knows all of them!

Hillary gets caught, but they don’t indict her. She’s paid everybody off. She’s got all the judges. If you and me do that, we’ll go to jail. That’s why people hate her.

They have computers and models, they know the people in this country are not happy. They know they’re going to have a revolution, what with the cops killing black kids, and even white kids.

Hey, man, you’ve got to stop this. We have you on video. You’re a murderer!

Now cops got shot, so the cops are thinking, we better cool out! They’ll have to. From 65 to 68, this country burned. You know, they killed Martin Luther King, Kennedy… but then they forgot! That all I need is lighter fluid and a match. Fire is a motherfucker. Make a lot of smoke, you can’t see. You can have robots and drones, but you can’t see through smoke.

If I’m a friggin black leader, a radical, I can use the computer to text billions of people. I can say tomorrow, Wednesday— that’s the landing on the moon, right?—I can say, tomorrow, in celebration of the moon landing, you can find an abandoned building or car, and burn it! Just go to Home Depot, nonchalant, black kids, just go buy some lighter fluid. At five O’clock, everybody gonna light it up! Boom, boom, boom, boom!

Firemen can’t see. You put a car in the middle of the road, like we did in 72, with the Young Lords. Abandoned car, right in the middle of the road. Bottles coming down from the roof. Cops won’t come near because nobody wants to get hit with a missile.

Back in the day, when we were gangsters, fighting, when we knew the other gang was coming, we’d fill these bottles with water or with sand.

We’d have a garbage can. We would drag it up six floors, full of bricks, bottles, everything. They’re missiles. If you hit somebody with one of those, from six floors up, you’re killing him. Fill a bottle with a bit of gasoline, make a little wick, it’s a cop killer. Boom, boom, boom, boom. From 65 to 68, man, this country was in a revolution.

Johnson was like, We have to pacify everybody, so he started welfare, food stamps, free lunch. All the radical blacks and Puerto Ricans, they went into city hall, they came out with a job.

All these friggin guys. Geraldo Rivera was a Young Lord, Puerto Rican Jew radical. Pablo Guzmán, the newsman from New York, another one. Eddie Acosta. All them guys went in, then came out with jobs. Same thing with the black guys. They went in, they came out with jobs.

They pacified them. They drugged them.

Timothy Leary was a CIA guy. They told him, “We need you to go in there and start the counter-culture bullshit.” LSD, tune in, drop acid, drop out. He did what they told him, and they gave him millions of dollars.

They got people high on marijuana and hashish, and sex, free sex. They said, “Hey, go suck dicks, girls! Go show your tits! Peace! Love!”

Girls want to be naked.

If you told them that, tomorrow, they could walk around naked, the whole country, they would do it. All the women out here, fat, ugly, whatever, they will all be naked.

Guys would be like, well, I don’t know, they would be a little more intimidated. They don’t want to see another guy’s trunk. They don’t want to see some ugly guy, but all the women would walk around naked.

All women, all over the world, they love slavery. They love the system.

After the First World War, when Germany wasn’t shit, and their money was worthless, the women would fuck anybody who had money, because they had to eat. I get that. When Hitler came into power, they went with him. They didn’t care if he was killing gays, Jews, whoever. They were like, “Heil, Hitler!”

When the Americans won, they went with the Americans!

That’s women. In the whole world, it’s always been like that.

That’s very rare… great women. If you look at history, patterns, women will follow whoever is in charge, because they love to be in that system of slavery.

They want the government to take care of them because they’ve been told since they’re little, “You need a strong man to take care of you.” By their grandmother and their great grandmother. “Oh, you must marry a guy with money.” They’ve been programmed.

Now, it’s very rare a woman who wants to be independent, and the feminist movement, the neo-feminist movement, they tried it, but guess what? They were like, “Yeah! Yeah! We don’t want to wear bras,” but when they got it, they didn’t know what to do next. There was nowhere to go.

All these movements, they run out of steam after a while. Yeah, yeah, we want to get married! I don’t care if you marry a dog. If you love the dog, you marry the dog, fuck the dog, that’s on you, I don’t care.

I don’t care if two gay guys are fucking and sucking, or two girls are sucking. I’m not going to pay to watch it, but there are people who will pay to watch it. I’ll pay to watch two women do it live, OK, but they better be good looking. I don’t want to see two butch dykes do it.

Once they get what they want, then what happens? They don’t know what to do next. You got gay rights! Who cares? You got married!

In Orlando, my friend trains people shooting, so he opens up a school called Pink Pistol. They’re all gay, guys, girls, whatever, transgenders, but they’re learning. They’re filing to get the paperwork, so they can carry and have a concealed permit. He started it before the shooting, but it’s getting bigger. It’s going franchise.

All of a sudden, all these gay people are for Trump because he’s the only one who will speak up for them. Hillary won’t. So it’s fuckin… you see how crazy shit gets?

The Cubans in Miami are mad. They have citizenship, they’re in construction, and here come a bunch of Mexicans to undercut them. The Cubans also remember Elian Gonzalez. They’re going to make Hillary pay for that.

Louis Farrakhan is for Trump. He was interviewed by that crazy guy down in Texas, what’s his name, Alex Jones, yeah… Farrakhan is for Trump.

I can’t vote, I’m a criminal, but I’d go with a winner. They’re going to put Trump in. He’s saying all kinds of bullshit. Trump can kill somebody and they’ll still put him in.

I don’t take things serious. I’m sixty now. When I look at my cousins in their forties and fifties, and they all have white hair, it’s because they worry. I don’t have white hair. I don’t care.

Did you see Trump at the convention last night? He came out with all the smoke. It was like professional wrestling!

Trump is the white horse. They’re trying to play him like they did in the Bible. You know the Bible… there’s a white horse coming that will fix everything. Trump’s the sheriff. The sheriff always comes on a white horse.



Outside Friendly Lounge on 7-24-16--Italian Market


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rough transcript of argument between alleged Munich shooter and man on balcony


Man with gun (in perfect Munich High German accent): “Because of you, I was ganged on for seven years.” [Wegen euch wurde ich gemobbt 7 jahre lang.]

Man on balcony (in perfect Munich Bavarian accent): “You jerkoff, you asshole you.” [Du Wichser, du Arschloch du.]

Man with gun: “And now I have to buy a weapon to shoot you.” [Und jetzt muss ich hier Waffe kaufen um euch abzuknallen.]

Man on balcony: “You know what? Your head should be cut off, you asshole.” [Ja weißt du was? Dir gehört der Kopf abgeschnitten, du Arschloch.]

Man with gun: “Yeah, yeah, the idiots are here or what.” [Ja Ja , damit die Idioten hier oder.]

Man on balcony: “Hey, jerkoff.” [Ey, Wichser.]

Man with gun: “You shitty Turks!” [Ihr scheiss Türken!]

Man on balcony: “Shitty raghead!” [Scheiss Kanaken!]

Second man on balcony: “He has the gun. He has his gun loaded. Get the cops. He’s just walking around, the jerkoff.” [Er hat die Schusswaffe. Er hat seine Waffe geladen. Hol die Bullen. Er läuft hier umher, der Wichser der Alte.]

Man with gun: “I am German.” [Ich bin Deutscher.]

Man on balcony: “You’re a jerkoff! A jerkoff.” [Wichser bist Du! Ein Wichser.]

Man with gun: “You happy now?” [Seid Ihr jetzt zufrieden?]

Man on balcony: “You jerkoff.” [Wichser du.]

Man with gun: “I was born here. In a Hartz IV [welfare] area. Here in the Turkish section of Hasenbergl. I was in treatment. How is it my fault? I haven’t done anything.” [Ich bin hier geboren worden. Hier in der Harz 4 Gegend. Hier in der Türken Region hier im Hasenbergl. Ich war in stationärer Behandlung. Wie ist es meine Schuld? Ich habe nix getan.]

Man on balcony: “Yes, treatment. You belong in a psychiatric ward, you asshole moron.” [Ja Behandlung , du gehörst in die Psychiatrie, du Arschloch du blödes.]

Man with gun: “Not another word! Shut your face, sir!” [Kein Wort mehr! Halten Sie die Schnauze!]



About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. 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 Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). 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, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.