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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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Tir-Na-Nog-on-6-2-14--Trentron








Tir Na Nog, a great bar. Born in Ireland, the bartender came to the US in 1986, at 26-years-old, and for 25 years, he worked at D W Flooring, where there was so much business during the housing boom, the company operated 24 hours a day, with three shifts. Then everything collapsed. Since he was already pulling pints at Tir Na Nog, he had this second job to fall back on when D W let him go.

On this night, I also talked to Rick, Trenton native and policeman of 12 years, and his girlfriend, who had just graduated from nursing school. Enjoying the conversations, I was prepared to stay late, then walk two miles to the train station, where I'd sleep sitting on a bench, then catch an early morning train back to Philly, but Rick would have none of that. He actually found out the hour of the last train. Just after midnight, he reminded me of this again, then drove me to the station. What a nice dude. He didn't want to see me get shot, for there is a stretch en route called Glocksville, after all. I told Rick the next time he and his girlfriend come to Philly, I'll show them around.

The bartender used to go back to Ireland annually, but hasn't returned in two years. In 2016, the bar is planning a group trip, however, and Rick is also going. He's never even been to Europe. "You won't want to return," I told him.

There are regular concerts or jam sessions of Irish music at Tir Na Nog, but on this Monday night, there was just a dart tournament in the back room, with one team composed of South Asian guys. Three Spanish speakers also sat at the bar for a while. Like the neighborhood, this bar has become more diverse.



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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.