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Sunday, September 13, 2015


Brian Martinez in Dive--Bella Vista 2

That's the Unabomber on Brian Martinez' arm. Brian showed me some of his paintings on his phone. There was the face of an MS-13 El Salvadorian gangster, a lynched black man and a doped up Thai with barbed wire piercing his cheek.

Brian came into The Dive all pissed off over some woman he had argued with at Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, three blocks away. She had said something about Mexicans. Brian, "I was like, 'I have a bigger brain than you, and a bigger vocabulary than you, so you're not going to win this argument, all right?!' What a bimbo she was. What a stupid blonde."

In California, Brian worked in a porn shop then some computer service business.

"Why did you come to Philly?" I asked.



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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.