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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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Howard and Loreen in Old Philadelphia Bar--Kensington








Old Philadelphia Bar in lower Kensington, which is more or less Fishtown. Howard is a month from his 70th birthday, and that's his sister, Loreen.

Howard was a dog catcher, then a circular stuffer, "I was the guy who left all that shit on your doorstep!" Though his dad was a car mechanic, neither Howard nor his brother liked to work for the old man, so they only did it sporadically. When he was 15, Howard and a bunch of other teens were caught breaking into a warehouse. Howard was locked up for three years. That's his only brush with the law.

In 1989, Howard was in a car accident, so walks with a prosthetic leg.

Loreen can't afford the rent in gentrifying Fishtown, so is living in a West Philly ghetto, which means after dark, she can't go outside. This day, she returns to her old neighborhood for a couple of beers. It's a long ride on the public transit.

In Philly, all of the traditionally Irish neighborhoods--Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington, Greys Ferry, Queen Village and Pennsport-- have become gentrified or black ghettoized.

A pint of Rolling Rock is $1.50 in Old Philadelphia, and sometimes they even have free hot dogs.


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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.