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Sunday, February 4, 2018

From "Art as poetry--

How the power of words touches on Marc Escalona Gaba’s artworks," in Manila Bulletin, 1/29/18:



“I don’t know how the fried chicken came in, if not as another phallic symbol but one that is definitely non-sexual, which led to the idea that if we elected fried chicken into office, we would enjoy better executive decisions.” Once he had fixated on the image of fried chicken, he recalled a poem by Linh Dinh, which he first encountered in a literary journal. The poem first provoked anger in him, “which I appreciated precisely because of that provocation.”

The poem essentially talks about consumption, with Dinh beginning the discourse with an immersion in tasting the chicken and ending with “all the other things we have to stomach: a whole lot of history and violence.” “Our appetites are human, all-too-human,” he remarks.




.......................................................

And here's the poem cited:



Eating Fried Chicken

I hate to admit this, brother, but there are times
When I’m eating fried chicken
When I think about nothing else but eating fried chicken,
When I utterly forget about my family, honor and country,
The various blood debts you owe me,
My past humiliations and my future crimes—
Everything, in short, but the crispy skin on my fried chicken.

But I’m not altogether evil, there are also times
When I will refuse to lick or swallow anything
That’s not generally available to mankind.

(Which is, when you think about it, absolutely nothing at all.)

And no doubt that’s why apples can cause riots,
And meat brings humiliation,
And each gasp of air
Will fill one’s lungs with gun powder and smoke.



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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 a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), 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). 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.