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 BlogviewLinh Dinh Archive

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New York, 2017
To go home, I had to take a taxi to Saigon’s airport, fly to Hanoi, then on to Hong Kong, where during a 5 ½ hour layover I’d take a train to Central to hang out a bit, then back to the airport to fly to JFK, then hop on two trains just to get... Read More
ea-kar-2017
It was a 200-mile journey from Saigon to Dak Lak, a highlands province that saw much fighting during the Vietnam War. Just north of Saigon, I passed quite a few grand villas, with two dog statues on gate columns, though some owners outdid their neighbors by having lions instead. The further north I went, the... Read More
Vung Tau cafe, 2017
And so we’re in Vung Tau, a sleepy, seaside city at the mouth of the Saigon River. I’m staying in a hotel owned by an Army unit. My room is quiet, cheap and has an ample balcony with an ocean view. I’ve only stumbled onto two other guests, each sitting on a massage chair. The... Read More
Hanoi, 2017
With only a week and a half in Hanoi, I’ve been out and about almost nonstop. This article, then, is being jotted down at 5:11AM, as I’m lying in bed on my stomach at the Letters Home guesthouse. Stuck in a grim alley in an unfashionable neighborhood, it’s not exactly popular, so about the only... Read More
Home cooking in Hanoi, 2017
I’m back in Hanoi. Noi Bai Airport was sparkling after its recent upgrade, and I rode into town on a wide, well-landscaped freeway named after general Vo Nguyen Giap. On both sides were shops and restaurants. “I don’t recognize any of this, brother,” I said to the taxi driver, a man in his mid 40’s.... Read More
Tarragona, Spain, 2017
In Catalonia, there’s a summer drink that combines beer with lemon soda. In Barcelona, it’s called “clara.” Further South, it’s dubbed, most charmingly, a “champu,” as in Head and Shoulders. Champu is quite good at eliminating the dandruff inside your skull. It is late summer, and I’m in Cambrils, drinking my second champu in Hawaii,... Read More
The Arabic version is here. Below is the unedited, English version: Firstly, how do like to introduce yourself. Are you a Vietnamese or an American writer? -Since I write in both English and Vietnamese, I can rightly claim to be an American writer, and a Vietnamese one. Having published ten books in English, however, I’m... Read More
Marseille, 2017
Born in Nghe An, he quit school after the 9th grade to start working full time at 15-years-old. He got a job in Saigon, then Phu Quoc Island, the southernmost part of Vietnam. He visited Hanoi and remote Dien Bien Phu, right on the Laotian border. At 18, he agreed to pay $15,000 to be... Read More
Olargues, 2017
For the price of a Motel 6, Jonathan Revusky and I have three floors in Florensac, a village of 5,000 in southern France. This house is older than the USA, for sure, with raw wooden beams in the ceilings, stone floors, twisting stairs, odd angled walls, and an entrance to the bathroom so low, the... Read More
Becky Anderson in Barcelona, 2017
The Muslim conquest of Hispania began in 711 and ended in 1492. In Catalonia, they were expelled by 1154, with their last stronghold the mountainous village of Siurana, which today has but 39 residents, though with several restaurants for tourists. Walking through it, I almost felt like I was in a theme park or movie... Read More
Monica Hotel in Cambriles, Spain, 2017
In 1937, Orwell was shot in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. Known mostly as a political allegorist, Orwell was also a master at describing all that is see­n, heard and felt, so in Homage to Catalonia, you can read about his near death experience, “Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at... Read More
Dresden, 2015
In a few hours, I'll fly to Europe, my favorite continent, and why not? Most of my intellectual and artistic heroes are Europeans, Kakfa, Beckmann, Kippenberger, Siebald, Rabelais, Rimbaud, Celine, Orwell, Kundera, Dostoievsky and Milosz, etc. I've spent significant time in Italy, England and Germany, and have fond memories of a least a dozen other... Read More
Gemma and Lasikar at Their Wedding
Imagine all the people living for today Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too. Imagine all the people Living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, And the... Read More
buffalo-2017
All over America, I’ve seen posters warning against drug addictions. In Cheyenne, it’s “METHAMPHETAMINE / Don’t live this tragic story.” A few blocks away, I stepped over used needles on the sidewalk. In Buffalo, it’s an image of a beer bottle and a pill bottle, with “HEROIN addiction starts here...” Appended to it was a... Read More
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The Western media shame Germans, stay silent on endless attacks against Muslim countries and insist on massive immigration into mostly white nations. Meanwhile, false flags are staged that are blamed on Muslims, with the aim of flaming hatred between pale, nominal Christians and darker Muslims, for this animosity distracts from the systematic economic and war... Read More
Tepotzotlán, 2017
One Friday, Jonathan Revusky and I went to see lucha libre. On a night featuring Valiente, Mistico, Misterioso, Rey Cometa, Euforia, Rush, Virus, Fuego, Stigma, The Panther, Blue Panther Jr., Tiger and Puma, etc., Arena Mexico only truly erupted at the appearance of Samuel Polinsky, a 6-foot-4, bleached blonde 28-year-old from Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Before arriving... Read More
Mexico City, 2017
Jonathan Revusky and I were in Mexico City for eight days. Though Jon had been there twice, this was my first taste of this extremely complex, exhilarating and sophisticated metropolis. For $85 a night, we had a spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Cuauhtémoc. It was cheaper than, say, Spokane, yet here we were in a... Read More
Rue Saint Hubert in Montreal, 2017
Despairing Americans often threaten to move to Canada, but how many even know what it’s like now? Many liberals assume that our northern neighbor is more progressive, while those on the right might think that it’s, ah, whiter. Ask your average American to name ten Canadians, and it’s likely that nine will be white guys... Read More
Frankford, Philadelphia, 2014
Jonathan Revusky was in Philly for a few days, and I had a great time showing Jon around. We went to Kensington, Fishtown, Camden, Point Breeze, Little Cambodia and Rittenhouse Square, all but the last at the sinking end of the economic scale, places I’m well familiar with. At Jack’s Famous Bar, we ordered a... Read More
Poets Phan Nhien Hao and To Thuy Yen (far left) in New Haven
I’ve only been to New Haven four times, and last week, it was only to participate in the commemoration of the Fall of Saigon, as organized by the Vietnamese Studies Program at Yale. I was one of three poets invited. The other two were Phan Nhien Hao (b. 1967) and To Thuy Yen (b. 1938).... Read More
Rudy Dent in Detroit, 2017
On February 18th, I was in Detroit to attend a presentation, “The War on Islam: 9/11 Revisited, Uncovered & Exposed.” Sponsored by the Nation of Islam, it featured Kevin Barrett, Richard Gage and Christopher Bollyn. Prefacing, Ilia Rashad Muhammad remarked that 9/11 is more relevant than ever, since it has been used to curb the... Read More
Friendly Lounge, 2017
My local dive, Friendly Lounge, was mentioned in I Heard You Paint Houses, a book soon to be turned into a movie by Martin Scorcese. Now Friendly’s featured quite prominently in The Last Don Standing, an account of the Philly mob by Ralph Natale. An infamous snitch, Natale still spent 27 years inside. As I... Read More
West End Mall, Atlanta, 2017
Knowing you can’t run from their jokes, bus drivers will crack a few, so on the endless leg from Washington to Atlanta, the driver intoned, “I don’t believe in Lost and Found, ladies and gentlemen, only eBay. If you forget something on this bus, you can find it on eBay.” Later, he chastised us all... Read More
A Sign by Henry Herskovitz
Say Ann Arbor and people will think of Michigan football, with the second biggest stadium in the entire world, behind only North Korea’s Rungrado May Day Stadium. The annual marijuana rally, Hash Bash, may also come to mind. Downtown is filled with hip cafés, trendy shops, comfy brewpubs and sophisticated restaurants. These kids have money,... Read More
dexter-michigan-2016
And so I was back in my friend’s house in this most tranquil, on the surface, country town. Outside was a young cherry tree with three bowling balls at its base, one for each dog buried beneath. A roofer’s ashes had also been scattered over its branches, but nothing remained of the short-lived man. Before... Read More
Dirty Frank\
Before its rents became astronomical, I lived in CenterCity, so frequented McGlinchey’s and Dirty Frank’s. Now, I walk into Frank’s and hardly recognize anybody. Uncle Moe, Tommy Hackett and Skinny Dave are long dead, the last from an OD while in his late 30’s. Others have moved away. Last week, though, I ran into Rick,... Read More
George\
I live a block from the Italian Market, see, and its ecology is more complex than anything I could ever aspire to describe, but better something than nothing, so let me give you a little tour of the Eyetalian Market. There are lots of restaurants on 9th Street, so naturally, there are tons of Mexicans,... Read More
Evening Star Pub in Brighton, 2012
A bar featuring $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon should never be empty. Granted, it’s a crap beer, but I’d guzzle dish water for two bucks, as long as it had some alcohol in it. So I was in The Dive for more than three hours, and during that entire time, only two other losers... Read More
Peter in Friendly Lounge
An American president has become a cartoon hero or villain. Like Obama, Trump is an inconsequential yet lurid target for worshippers and detractors to unload emotions. As we rejoice or rage at this figurehead, the Military Banking Complex will continue to serve the elites at our expense. Our economy will keep cratering, and our poor... Read More
Gay Pride Parade in Vietnam.  Credit: VietPride
I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were few, and mostly confined to the Phạm Ngũ Lão area. There were no foreign stars in the just-established professional soccer league. Now in Saigon, there are 20 KFCs, eight Burger Kings... Read More
Protest outside AIPAC Convention, Washington 2015
John Kerry’s speech of December 28th, 2016 is an eye-opening indictment of Israel. Though prolix and padded with platitudes, its meat is a long overdue j’accuse. Much of the world has long viewed the Jewish state as a serial landgrabbing killer. Indirectly, Kerry converged with this near consensus, “the settler agenda is defining the future... Read More
Christmas Market display, Leipzig, 2015
Few cultural traditions are as charming, beautiful and unifying as the German Christmas Market. For about a month, the center of each German city or town becomes a festival ground, where folks can eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. The offerings of gluhwein, wursts, flammkuchen, fish stew, handbrot, cinnamon stars, carved figurines and tiered... Read More
San Martin de Porres
My patron saint is Martin de Porres. Wikipedia describes him as “the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony,” all of which is news to me. I had always known Saint Martin as just some black guy, which is curious enough. What was my father thinking?... Read More
Karaoke at the Golden Cicada, Jersey City
Years ago in McGlinchey’s, a Philly dive, I overheard a female voice, “I don’t know how anyone can get married, I don’t know, before they’re 45. I mean, hello!” The woman was in her mid-20’s. In 2014, I was at the Golden Cicada in Jersey City when a karaoke session broke out. The participants were... Read More
Marty in Friendly Lounge, 2016
Within the shadow of 920-year-old Norwich Cathedral squats the 767-year-old Adam and Eve Pub. Both are spooky, inevitably. A decade ago, I was minding my own business, nursing a pint of Old Peculier, when the mugs above my head started to rattle, the ashtray flew off the bar and Lord Sheffield whispered in me ear,... Read More
Dan in Friendly Lounge, 2016
Jokers are bad news. You don’t want to sit next to one in a bar. This day, I heard, again, about a man who ordered ten shots of whiskey after getting a blow job, and a man who got a bullet in his ass while humping someone’s wife. “Had he shown up a minute earlier,... Read More
Obama with GloZell
According to a Nielsen study, the average American adult consumes 10:39 hours of electronic media per day in 2016, up a full hour from 2015. Each year, it increases. At 13:17 hours, blacks expose themselves to the most, with Asians the least at 5:31 hours. During many cross-country train trips, I’ve always noticed that the... Read More
Michele Paccione / Shutterstock.com
Universally, Trump was depicted as an anti-establishment candidate. Washington and Wall Street hated him, and the media were deployed to vilify him endlessly. If they could not discredit Trump enough, surely they would steal the election from him. Some even suggested Trump would be assassinated. Acting the part, Trump charged repeatedly that the election was... Read More
Eddie and Friends
When 46-year-old Eddie found out I’d been interviewing people, he wanted to talk. “You can write a book about me!” and that’s true enough, but then again, I’ve never met an uninteresting person. Within a minute, Eddie was showing me photos of women on his cell phone. There was plenty of skin and at least... Read More
Street Scene Near Temple University, 2016
Over three days last week, at least 150 blacks attacked whites at random around TempleUniversity. Victims were surrounded, punched and kicked. Wallets and phones were stolen. Rocks were thrown at passing cars. When cops showed up, one was knocked from her bike and a police horse was even punched twice in the muzzle. Most of... Read More
Hank Near Liberty Bell, 2016
America has become an eviscerated country draped in a gigantic flag. Day by day, its culture becomes more grotesque and obscene, a luna park of lunacy. Leached of essence, it burps up slogans, but who’s convinced? What define America, exactly? Paul Craig Roberts narrows it down to the Constitution and Christianity, “All Americans have a... Read More
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Germany is smaller than California. Within the last two years, it has allowed in roughly two million Muslim refugees and immigrants, all by fiat. Having no voice in this radical demographic change, many Germans are fuming. Last year, I wrote from Leipzig that Germany has lost its autonomy and sanity. Teaching at the university, I... Read More
bb-at-friendly-lounge-2016x
The flame-like tree and yellow stars from Van Gogh’s Starry Night burn on B.B.’s right shoulder. Blonde, slim and 33, she bartends at Friendly Lounge twice a week. She calls everyone “darling,” as in, “Are you good, darling? You need another one?” When B.B. told me she had lived in the Tenderloin, had drifted much,... Read More
amanda-zinoman-2016x
Yes, it is a bit odd to include Amanda in my series of obscured Americans. She is a very successful editor of films that have appeared on television and in theaters. Her credits include Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider (1994), Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business (1994), The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999), Drinking... Read More
Larry Bruce / Shutterstock.com
On 9/11/2001, Donald Trump did a live phone interview with New York’s WWOR. Digging this up 15 years later, Politico and Mother Jones pointed out how Trump bragged about the new status of his 71-story Trump Tower, “40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World... Read More
JStone / Shutterstock.com
First of, what is meant by "deep state"? According to ex-CIA Philip Giraldi, "Every country has a deep state of some kind even if it goes by another name. 'The Establishment' or 'old boys’ network' was widely recognized in twentieth century Britain. 'Establishment' has often also been used in the United States, describing a community... Read More
Amanda in Camden, 2016
With huge tax breaks, Camden has lured several companies to this wrecked city, so a small chunk of downtown is getting spruced up. Shirtless or in wifebeaters, tattooed junkies still lurk around the Walter Rand Transportation Center, but the Third-World clothing stands have been shooed from the shadow of City Hall. Crown Chicken has moved... Read More
Eileen Walbank, 2016
In Philadelphia, I often see Chinese push their grandchildren around in strollers, so the three-generation households are evidently still common in that community. In China itself, citizens can be fined or even jailed for not visiting their aging parents enough. That there is such a law can only mean that familial bonds are weakening, however,... Read More
Felix Giordano at Home, 2016
Felix Giordano lives on the 24th floor of Riverview, a subsidized complex for senior citizens. Once a dreaded housing project, it is now pleasant and safe. Most of Felix’ neighbors are black and Asian. Although an artist, Felix keeps his one-bedroom apartment neat. There are no paint drips on the carpet. His walls are covered... Read More
Giang in Fort Indiantown Gap, 2016
It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors... Read More
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Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is 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). He has 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 Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.