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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

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Man-sleeping-on-wheelchair--Center-City-3






Guy in blue hat is 50 and has been homeless for 17 years, living in shelters and on the streets. Weather permitting, he prefers the streets. "There's no privacy in a shelter." Most night he sleeps inside the subway concourse, where the cops don't shoo you away until 7 in the morning. This man talked funny, thanks to a traffic accident when he was 12, which messed up his jaw and bodily alignment. His shoulders are uneven. "My toes are all black," he added. "Something wrong with the circulation. And my dick. My dick is fucked."

"What you mean fucked? You can't get it up?"

"I can get it up. But I piss. It's my kidney."

"You piss at the wrong times?" And he did smell like piss.

"Yeah, I piss at the wrong times. I can control my bowels. But I piss."

"It could have been worse. At least you can get it up! You're lucky."

"Yeah, I am lucky!"

"Hey, living on the streets, how do you get pusssies?"

"I get mine."

"Shit, man. How?"

"Drugs."

"You trade drugs for pussies?"

"Yeah."

"But drugs cost money, man! You can't get no pussies!"

"Sure I can. I get them all over. How much did you just give me?"

"Two bucks. But you can't get no pussies with two bucks."

"Sure, I can."

"Bullshit, you can't fuck a fuckin' dog for two bucks!"

"Sure, I can."

"Where do you go to fuck for two bucks?!"

"Chinatown."

"Oh, man, you're so full of shit. You can't fuck in Chinatown for two bucks!"

"Ask them." He pointed to an East Asian couple walking by. "They're Chinese. They know."

"I'm Chinese, man, and I know you can't get laid in Chinatown for two bucks. You're out of your mind!"

He went on to tell me the locations of these Chinatown whorehouses. They are owned by white dudes, with black deputies. The Chinese just provide the whores. "They're not virgins, but they are young and nice." He said he had seen a black guy in a suit arrive in a limousine, then leave with a suitcase of money.

"How many times have you been to these whorehouses?"

It took him a few seconds to tabulate. "Twenty seven."

"You remember each time, ha!" I laughed.






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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 a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), 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). 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.