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Do you ever read a book and go, ew! Like out loud? Like you're reading it and you stop and say, ew. This book made me do that a lot and I kept followiDo you ever read a book and go, ew! Like out loud? Like you're reading it and you stop and say, ew. This book made me do that a lot and I kept following and saying, what the fuck is this? Then I got to the end and I put the book down and I looked around the room and I said, what did I just read? How did he do that? I felt as if the entire book had fucked with my brain and caused me to distrust the world around me, the books on my shelves, the walls of my house especially. Ornately styled and irritatingly narrated, visceral and grotesque, and totally elaborate in its structure. I mean, ew and wow, also. ...more
There are very few biographies that I can say, yes, I've been to see the preserved of corpse of this guy. Well, this is one. Uncle Ho, as the locals cThere are very few biographies that I can say, yes, I've been to see the preserved of corpse of this guy. Well, this is one. Uncle Ho, as the locals call him, lies preserved in a glass coffin in a stone mausoleum surrounded by guards, in a complex with a pretty little stilt house and a wandering garden attached to a nice museum and some cafes and a pagoda perched on one pillar, all of it fenced in together just off of Ngoc Ha and Doi Can streets, right near the botanical garden, a market, some beer halls, and a tangle of little streets and alleyways that I've called home for almost a year. A temple lake, some green algae, soup stalls, make shift markets, hair cutters, construction projects and the constant hammering of something, the wrecked corpse of a B-52 left to rot in a lake surrounded by beautiful houses, and more and more tangled lanes leading who knows where but into walls and gardens and the ghosts of streams. It's hot and humid and smoke fills the air along with the scent of food and fish sauce and sweat and garbage and I wander around smoking a cigarette and sometimes I recognize bits of Vietnamese as its spoken in the alleys and sometimes none at all. If you drive around Ha Noi on a motorbike you will see Ho Chi Minh's face either in framed portraits in shops, on billboards, on murals, or posing with children and revolutionaries as a statue in a park somewhere where you can stop in the shade and drink sugar cane juice with ice as the sweat drips off of you in big sheets. What can I say about the book? You can find it in some bookshops in Viet Nam photocopied and sitting on the shelf. As for the content, I don't know. I guess you could read it and you probably should if you're interested in the history of Vietnam, Marxism, revolutionary politics, colonialism, and that sort of thing. It's pretty good. Ho Chi Minh was a remarkable man anyway that you look at it. ...more
The last time I was in San Francisco I met Matt for coffee at Coffee To The People. We talked about stuff. About flying couches. About life and love aThe last time I was in San Francisco I met Matt for coffee at Coffee To The People. We talked about stuff. About flying couches. About life and love and moving and teaching and California and careers and the poetry lifestyle. You know, the usual kind of thing that you do in coffee shops. There was a lot of noise that day and it was really hot and I didn't have to go anywhere or be anything. Matt is a lot like me and nothing like me. We both have Jewish moms and both of us are Jewish in weird ways. I asked Matt what he thought about Sesshu Foster and he quoted a line from this book about a boy feeling a warm pain in his stomach that must be love. I had forgotten that line or maybe just misremembered it. I remembered the poem about the boy nearly being impaled in the construction site, or the pitbull in the backyard under the shade of an avocado tree, but I had forgotten that line. The last time I was in San Francisco I found a copy of Atomik Azteks for sale at the GoodWill in the Haight for 1.49. ...more