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Monday, May 18, 2015




[Interview has been incorporated into proper Postcard and published at Unz Review]



Swza said...

Hey Linh,
I was surprised to hear about the hostility from young black men. I work at a homeless shelter and that hasn't come up to me, doesn't mean it's not true, just took by surprise.
On the other hand, I've heard over and over again about the generosity and compassion from black women. That's very beautiful to me.
This is a great interview.

Elizabeth said...

Linh, I just sent you a piece about boys and girls, and it absolutely pales compared to this interview. This is so humane, so beautiful, so true, that it took me three tries to get through it. But as you know, I'm quite the coward.

I'm such a coward that I couldn't read your poems from Borderless Bodies without a friend to help me hear them. What a story that turned out to be! I'll write it for you soon, OK?

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Swza and Elizabeth,

In 2013, I wrote a poem about a homeless man, Bob. It includes these lines:

In Atlantic City and Philly. I’ve been
Jumped about ten times. The back of my head
Is stapled. It’s these black kids, about 15, 16,
They’d just hit you for no reason. Or they’d be
Talking to you, and suddenly they’d hit you.

In Richmond in 2010, I talked to a homeless ex nurse who told me that black women treated him the best, and as soon as he finished his sentence, a young black woman walked up and gave him an apple.


Linh Dinh said...

And this is from my piece, "White Living":

“Jimbo,” I said, “I keep hearing that black women are the most generous at giving money on the streets. Is that true?”


“Why do you think that is?”

“I don’t know, but I think it’s because they’re more used to taking care of people.”

“Hummm. What about guys in suits? Do they give you money?”

“Those guys are the worst! Most of them won’t come near me, because they think I might give them a disease or something.”

“That’s interesting.”

“The regular people, the working class people, are the ones who give me money. Black people give me money.”

“All black people, or just black women?”

“All black people, but, like you said, black women are the best. When I grew up in Kensington, I was told that blacks are this and that, that they’re no good, but now that I have to beg, I can tell you that black people treat me very nice.”

Elizabeth said...

Maybe somebody can help this caucasian white chick out (ie me), but in my experience, whenever you have a population of people always worrying about getting shot in the head, you get the best and the worst types. That's what veterans say to me; that's what young black men living in the ghettos say also.

And don't even try talking some feminist line to a young black man. They know who's in charge, and it's not them.

Linh, my thoughts are with you.

Ali said...

Thank you Elizabeth and Linh. This means a lot to me.


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.