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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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Felix in Billy Boy's--Pine Barrens








Felix Giordano at Billy Boy's. Man in Flyes shirt is owner and cook. Tuesday was $1 taco day but I missed the sign so ordered the $9.95 chicken fried steak, a favorite dish, and this version was very good. The mashed potato that came with it was excellent, but the cup of chicken soup was just OK. A pint of Rolling Rock was only $2.

Billy Boy's is not quite an hour from Philly, but it's an entirely different world. Hellish Camden is 45 minutes away.

The bartender was working a double shift, so that's 10:45AM to 12:15AM, though if it's slow, she could close at 11PM. I asked her if late night drinkers tend to tip more, being smashed, but she said, "No. They get so drunk, they forget to tip!"

I talked to a young cranberry farmer who's taking an online class to become a construction manager. The professor was inflexible and not helpful. The farmer thought he had been scammed, pretty much.

70-year-old Felix has been to the Pine Barrens since childhood. There were many more pig farmers then, but you can barely smell pig shit any more, regrettably.

On the drive over, we passed Olga's Diner as it was being dismantled. It had been an institution.



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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, but have returned to Vietnam, where I live in remote Ea Kly. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), and six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems apparently cancelled by Chax Press from external pressure. 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). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.