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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boo Boo’s Baby

As published at Dissident Voice, 3/16/14:

Not even nineteen, Boo Boo peddles fancy
Pretzels at Philly’s saddest mall, The Gallery,
While her fiance, Doll, has a classier job,
Complete with health insurance, at Starbucks.
Even as she wears the same dull outfits, Doll
Buys Boo Boo lots of brand name clothes, belts,
Purses and shoes, plus flowers, but when jealous,
She also smacks Boo Boo good, though Boo Boo
Also claws herself bloody and even yanks
Her hair while screaming, when boiled over.

Afterwards, her voice would be raspy, and for weeks,
Her face and neck would show these red marks. (Look
Closely, you can also see traces of a fixed cleft lip.)
It’s not clear whence this coiled anger, despair
Or anxiety, for Boo Boo’s life growing up wasn’t
All that turbulent. Granted, the boys she dated
Were nasty enough, and sex sucked, so after
Enough grappling, she realized she didn’t care
For any dick, whether micro or Holy Jesus.

Now she has Doll, and soon they will legalize it
In New York State, where it’s allowed, then save
Until they have six grand for some guy’s sperm,
Preferably of the X kind, to be named Jewel,
Though by the time they have that kind of dough,
It might cost, she has often joked, a million bucks.
Of course it’s odd to have an unknown’s sticky cloud
Pumped into her, but this child will be meaning itself,
And absolutely perfect, even after birth.

Work done, they would walk hand in hand, but lately,
You can spot one without the other, and sometimes,
Even Doll strolling with a brand new female, and
Boo Boo bantering with some security guy.
Boyish looking yet 40, he lives with his mom
But fancies himself a player. Looking at him,
Boo Boo smiles her prettiest smile, even as
That familiar nastiness surges from below.


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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 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.