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Friday, September 2, 2011

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I-AM-A-CANCER-VICTIM--Center-City







Jimbo of Kensington. He wouldn't tell me his exact age, only that he was over 70. Unlike many of his friends and relatives, he didn't enlist during the Korean War because he saw it as a war profiteering scheme. Jimbo had worked at a factory making vent windows for Ford trucks, had a vending business selling pretzels, among other stuff, had washed windows, like me, making a few bucks per job. Stopped drinking six years ago after his prostate operation.

Jimbo talked about how the banks were ruining the country, about the IMF, about FDR's foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack and how the US had grabbed Midway Island in anticipation of this attack.

When he found out I was a writer, Jimbo said, "You write a lot, I read a lot."

Also, "Many of my neighbors in Kensington get a government check at the beginning of each month, then a week later, they're broke. You should go up there and see how it is."

"I've been up there, many times."

"You'll see how bad it is, the drug dealing."

"And the prostitution."

"Yes, that too. When people are broke, they'll do anything. There used to be so many factories up there, but they're all gone."



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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.