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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Thanks to your generosity,

I'm heading to Hazelton on June 16th. This date suits Chuck Orloski best, since he will have several days of free time to show me around. Chuck is certainly an expert of the area, and I can't wait to visit several towns in Northeast Pennsylvania with my wonderfully generous friend. I'm also looking forward to seeing Chuck's lovely family.


Chuck, "I hope to escort Linh to burning and desolate Centralia, and afterward, the nearby town of Shenandoah where racial tension rose and several years ago, teenage athletes beat and killed Luis Ramirez.

Later, my itinerary plans include a stop at Humboldt Industrial Park, located on Halzeton outskirt. Here Linh might focus lens upon the gigantic Amazon.com warehouse and Cargill (meat packaging) plant which requires workers who can lift 50-pounds and who will aspire to getting trained to operate tow motors, move-up in the world.

Later, as time and budget permits, we will go to a post-Molly Maguire beer garden in downtown Hazleton, where the Common Man is our fortune, and down a few Yuenglings.

*

Good news! On telephone, just spoke with my old friend, and Teamster co-worker at Roadway Express Tannersville, PA, Tom Licurgo. He lives in Conyngham, on outskirt of Hazleton, and on June 17th, we will meet him and he will provide experienced guidance as to old and new Hazleton. Tom's a very nice, down-to-earth guy, in early 60s, and one who also got hammered by Roadway Express tyrannical management, survived 2-decades of "disciplinary letters" and work suspensions. Come 57-years old Tom Licurgo retired.

*

Tom Licurgo is a typical "old time" Hazleton guy, beer drinker, dart thrower. Just after me in October 1974, Roadway Express hired Tom, and placed him on their "call board." This meant that ANYTIME (24/7) Roadway summoned a person to come to work, THEY MUST. The company and Teamsters contractually agreed upon a 90-Day trial period so that dockworkers could prove themselves worthy of the job and of course enjoy Union membership.

During his 90-Day trial, Tom Licurgo missed a couple calls, and Roadway Express had Tom sweating and "on-the-ropes." However, the Local 229 Business Agent, Pete Fiore, interceded for Tom, he got permanently hired and became a Union member. Fiore is the same guy who four-or-so years later called my father Charlie on home telephone and told him that I was a communist.

You will enjoy Tom Licurgo, whenever trouble brewed on the embattled break-bulk dock, he made funny low whistle sounds, something like this, "oooh, oooh!! I hope Tom still does it!

*

Linh: Shenandoah is located south of Hazleton's huge Humboldt Industrial Park, on Rte. 924. While at work and passing through Shenandoah, a couple weeks after Luis Ramirez's murder, I spoke with a local chiropractor, outside the town's famous kielbasa market, Kowalonick's. Not making excuses for death by beating, he told me that Luis Ramirez was noted for "hitting on" underage Shenandoah girls. Perhaps we'll find a barroom there, I am pretty sure they have a V.F.W. The chiropractor told me Shenandoah backstreets look like Dominican Republic, and on daily basis, he told me a school bus passes through the town in order to take workers to Humboldt Industrial Park."



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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.