Postcards from the End of [the] America[n Empire]

SUPPORT THIS PROJECT--Over 9,300 photos of Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Allentown, Ann Arbor, Ardmore, Ashland (PA), Atlanta, Atlantic City, Austin, Baltimore, Battle Mountain, Bellows Falls, Bensalem Township, Berkeley, Bethlehem, Bolivar, Boston, Bordentown, Boulder, Brooklawn (NJ), Buffalo, Burlington (NJ), Cambridge, Camden, Carbondale, Carlisle, Carmel, Cedar Rapids, Centralia, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chelsea (MI), Cherry Hill, Chester, Cheyenne, Chicago, Claymont (DE), Cleveland, Collingswood (NJ), Columbus, Cupertino, Daly City, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dexter (MI), Dupont, El Cerrito, El Paso, Emeryville, Ewing Township (NJ), Fort Indiantown Gap, Fremont, Gary, Glassboro, Glenside (PA), Gloucester, Grinnell, Haddonfield (NJ), Harpers Ferry, Harrisburg, Hoboken, Houston, Jackson, Jersey City, Joliet, Kansas City (KS), Kansas City (MO), Kennewick, Knoxville, Lancaster, Langhorne, Laurel Springs (NJ), Levittown (PA), Lindenwold (NJ), Los Angeles, Los Gatos, Marcus Hook, McCook, Media (PA), Milpitas, Minneapolis, Mountain View, New Orleans, New York, Newark, New Harmony, Normal, Norristown, North Charleston, Oakland, Old Forge, Omaha, Orlando, Osceola, Overland Park, Palmyra (NJ), Palo Alto, Pasco, Penndel, Pittsburgh, Pittston, Portland, Providence, Raleigh, Redwood City, Reno, Richmond, Richmond (CA), Riverside (NJ), Roebling, Rutland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Bruno, San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, San Xavier del Bac, Sausalito, Savannah, Scranton, Somerdale (NJ), South San Francisco, Springfield (IL), St. Louis, St. Paul, Steelton, Stockton, Stratford (NJ), Sunnyvale, Taylor (PA), Trenton, Tucson, Union City (NJ), Ventnor, Vineland, Washington, West New York, Westmont (NJ), Wichita, Wilkes-Barre, Williston, Wilmington, Wolf Point, Woodbury (NJ) and Youngstown, etc. Outside USA: Batam, Berlin, Brighton, Budapest, Burgazada, Certaldo, Dresden, Frankfurt, Gorlitz, Grimma, Halle, Istanbul, Johor Bahru, Juarez, Kiev, Kinaliada, Leipzig, London, Luban, Markkleeberg, Prague, Reykjavik, Rivne, Singapore, Wegliniec, Wurzen, Zgorzelec.
If you have a PayPal account, you can save me the fees by sending money directly to my email address: . Thanks!

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Large woman in green, red, beige and white dress--Center City


Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Deep State's Candidate?

As published at Unz Review, CounterCurrents and LewRockwell, 9/24/16:

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 of shared values and interests that has evolved post-Second World War from the Washington-New York axis of senior government officials and financial services executives. They together constitute a group that claims to know what is 'best' for the country and act accordingly, no matter who sits in the White House.

I would say that this deep state, this establishment, is only looking out for its own best interests, not the country’s, for its decisions are often the very worst for the rest of us. I totally agree, though, that this deep state will do what it wants “no matter who sits in the White House.” The deep state controls our government, banks and media. It shapes our world view, brainwashes us. The deep state is our country's true ruler, with the president just a figure head.

The deep state defines our world. Branding it “the American hologram,” Joe Bageant memorably encapsulates, “This great loom of media images, and images of images, is so many layers deep that it has replaced reality. No one can remember the original imprint. If there was one. The hologram is a hermetic snow globe, a self-referential circuitry of images, and a Möbius loop from which there is no logical escape. Logic has zilch to do with what is going on. The smallest part holographically recapitulates the whole, and vice versa. No thinking required, we just cycle and recycle through an aural dimension. Not all that bad, I guess, if it were not generated by forces out to fuck every last pair of eyeballs and mind plugged into it.”

Though the US has endured a decades-long epidemic of black-on-white crimes, the deep state has convinced the world that American blacks are merely passive victims of white racism. Each white on black crime is magnified, while all black misbehaviors are suppressed. When it comes to crime news, Americans have learnt to decipher “teen” or “youth” as “black.” “Wisconsin Teens Drugged, Gang Raped 15-year-old girl and Posted Video of Assault on Facebook.” “Teen Gang Attacks Girls in Crowded DC Metro Station.”

Though millions of Muslims have been systematically killed, maimed or made homeless by the US/Israel axis, Muslims are relentless depicted as crazed killers or out-of-control rapists. In February, there was a report of 51 Middle Eastern sexual molesters being beaten up in Murmansk, Russia. After checking the Russian press, Jonathan Revusky emailed me, “Think about what was being claimed. 51 refugees getting their asses kicked by... well... presumably at least as many Russians, so 100+ people in a massive brawl, right? This is the claim, and it's getting echoed in the echo chamber and the local cops, who never heard of any such thing happening, they go to the place, look at the CCTV footage, interview people and AFFIRM/ATTEST/CERTIFY that this shit never happened […] The biggest single take-away from all of this sort of thing is that there is a massive propaganda effort underway to vilify Muslims. There really are these people who are paid, probably six-figure salaries, to just sit around and make up calumnies. […] Not only do these people (we know who they are, the Zio bastards basically) have probably millions of dollars to spread this stuff, but they also have a pretty good understanding of mass psychology, how to propagate myths, like urban legends.”

Ron Unz, “We naively tend to assume that our media accurately reflects the events of our world and its history, but instead what we all too often see are only the tremendously distorted images of a circus fun-house mirror, with small items sometimes transformed into large ones, and large ones into small. The contours of historical reality may be warped into almost unrecognizable shapes, with some important elements completely disappearing from the record and others appearing out of nowhere.”

Mind-fucked, most Americans can’t even see that an American president’s only task is to disguise the deep state’s intentions. Chosen by the deep state to explain away its crimes, our president’s pronouncements are nearly always contradicted by the deep state’s actions. While the president talks of peace, democracy, racial harmony, prosperity for Main Street and going after banksters, etc., the deep state wages endless war, stages meaningless elections, stokes racial hatred, bankrupts nearly all Americans and enables massive Wall Street crimes, etc.

Only the infantile will imagine the president as any kind of savior or, even more hilariously, anti-establishment. Since the deep state won’t even tolerate a renegade reporter at, say, the San Jose Mercury News, how can you expect a deep state’s enemy to land in the White House?! It cannot happen.

A presidential candidate will promise to fix all that’s wrong with our government, and this stance, this appearance, is actually very useful for the deep state, for it gives Americans hope. Promising everything, Obama delivered nothing. So who do you think is being primed by the deep state to be our next false savior?

Who benefits from false flag terrorist attacks blamed on Muslims? Who gains when blacks riot? Why is the Democratic Party propping up a deeply-despised and terminally ill war criminal? More personable Bernie Sanders was nixed by the deep state since it had another jester in mind.

The first presidential debate is Monday. Under stress, Hillary’s eyes will dart in separate directions. Coughing nonstop for 90 minutes, her highness will hack up a gazillion unsecured emails. Her head will jerk spasmodically, plop onto the floor and, though decapitated, continue to gush platitudes and lies. “A Very Impressive Performance,” CNBC and CNN will announce. Come November, though, Trump will be installed because his constituency needs to be temporarily pacified. The deep state knows that white people are pissed.

This week, Trump dropped by Geno’s in my neighborhood. Though the Donald only got lunch for himself, words soon spread that he had bought a cheesesteak for everyone present. Years ago, I saw a tiny flag strung between two trees, “Obama and Oprah save the World.” Like fools, we expect salvation from the deep state’s cynical puppets.


Friday, September 23, 2016


Woman who asked for time then walked away--Italian Market

Looking at me in the eye, her face pinched, she asked, "What time is it? What time is it?" Before I could pull my cellphone out, she walked away.



SAM SAM--Italian Market

SAM SAM--Italian Market (detail)



Thanks for a $50 contribution from a new donor!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016



[Taken in Reno in March of 2013 but never posted here.]


Tuesday, September 20, 2016



[Taken in Austin in October of 2009 but never posted here.]


Monday, September 19, 2016


What are you doing for others--Detroit

[Taken in Detroit in May of 2011, but never posted here.]


Thursday, September 15, 2016





MISSING Lindsey Piccone--Washington Square West



15th and Chesnut on 9-15-16--Center City



Broadway and Stevens on 9-12-16--Camden 2



Broadway and Stevens on 9-12-16--Camden


Obscured American: Amanda the Ex-Nurse

As published at Unz Review and Intrepid Report, 9/15/16:

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 into a less squalid space, and Dunkin’ Donuts has gotten a facelift. A yuppyish-looking bar has opened on Martin Luther King.

Much of Camden is still a menacing disaster, however. Shop signs cue you in to where you are: "See an overdose? Call 911 immediately!" "REWARD $12,000 For information leading to the arrest and conviction in the shooting of an 8-year-old girl." "Demeal Rudoph Has been missing Since monday 8-1-16. Age 15." "DO NOT ENTER WITH MASK OR HOOD. IF SO YOU ARE NOW TRESPASSING."

It’s not all bad. In Off Broadway Lounge, old heads can chill and bitch about politics, inept pitching, manipulative lovers and ungrateful children. “She ain’t never gave me a present! Ain’t never gave me a card! Ain’t called me on Father’s Day! My daughter don’t even know when my birthday is. The only time I hear from her is when she’s in trouble. ‘Dad, I need a thousand dollars!’”

It’s frighteningly bad. On July 26th, the Courier Post reported, "The city’s homicide toll more than doubled in the first half of 2016 [...] Camden residents also saw an increase in rapes, assaults and motor vehicle thefts during the first six months of 2016." Remember, this is a city that, year in and year out, ranks among the top two or three in the entire nation for murders and rapes, and it has only gotten worse. Don't let a few new buildings downtown fool you.

In trash strewn alleys, junkies shoot up all day long. By night, three dozen strung-out whores trawl downtown. In this mostly black city, most of these ladies are white. When I first met Amanda in May of 2015, she was ragged yet cheerful. Showing me stab wounds on her wrinkled belly, the 29-year-old skinny blonde laughed.

In March of 2016, I searched for Amanda after not having seen her for six months. Expecting a total wreck, I was cheered to find Amanda looking better and happier.

“You like my makeup, baby? I put on some eyeliner!”

Declaring she’s off heroin, Amanda showed me her arms. I also admired her new work boots, “You can kick people in the balls with those!”

“Yes, I will!”

Tricking on these nastiest of streets, Amanda had been raped, assaulted and jailed, but it looked like she might have turned a corner. Heroin, though, doesn’t let go like that. In 2014, 10,574 Americans died from heroin overdoses, a five-fold increase from just a decade earlier.

Last Monday, I checked on Amanda again. I had never seen her so foul and distressed. She was relieved to see me. I was shocked.

I’m from Brownville, NJ. My mom was a nurse. My dad was an electrician.

Of course, I was good in school. Yup! Hey, baby!

I got married at 16. Yes, of course I got married. I didn’t have kids out of wedlock. I’m old-fashioned. I was raised on a farm.

My husband was 8 years older than me. He was my brother’s friend. He was nice until we got married, then he started to beat me. He was a roofer.

When I was 19, I wanted to join the Army and become a field doctor. I scored 92 on my ASVAB. That’s the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. I missed by one question a perfect score.

Two days later, I found out I was pregnant with my first son, Noah. You can’t be pregnant and in the Marines. I became a nurse instead. I was a nurse for eight years, and I was a good nurse too.

My second son is dead. Christopher was only four-year-old when he died of leukemia at Children’s Hospital in Camden. I had never even been to Camden.

An intern nurse had injected him with an antibiotic to which he was allergic.

I’d start singing, and Christopher would make up his own words to it. And Noah, my older son, I’d read him a story, right. Ha, ha! He’d say, “Give me the book, mommy, and I’ll read to you and Sugar,” because he called the baby “Sugar,” and he’d fuckin’, he’d open the book to the middle and start reading it, his own fuckin’ version. Ha, ha!

The story was Velveteen Rabbit.

My little brother is a heroin addict. He introduced me to it. My own family. Yes, indeed. He’s in Bayside Prison. Ha, ha! Four years.

My older brother is with his wife and his daughter. Yup! They don’t like me. I’m a junkie.

No one will help me. I’m a loser. No one will help me get out of here. I’m going to die.

Noah lives with my mom. She just had a heart attack. My mom also has cancer. Pancreatic. I talked to her four days ago. She’s poor. I have an aunt in Toms River, but she has no money either.

Last night, I was covered with ants. They were everywhere, biting. One crawled into my ear.

I don’t feel good, at all. I’m dope sick. I had no tricks today.

Mommy! Where’s my mommy? I want to be with my mommy!

I’m dope sick, sweetheart. I’m sorry. I didn’t make any money today. At all.

Dope! Dope! Now!

Urgh, urgh, urgh!

Please help me, God. Please help me, God.

You don’t understand. I’m going to drop dead!

My life is in the toilet. My whole life is in the toilet! It’s not fair! I don’t understand why? I used to be so strong.

Why did my fuckin’ brother get me to do it then?

I didn’t even like to do drugs. My whole life, I did not do no drugs.

I can’t use my son as an excuse. It’s my own fault. He would never have wanted me to get high.

He’s my boobie bear. He’s my baby.

I know I’m not the same person. I apologize, Sir. I love you.

There are two places out here that can get you clean. There’s the Urban Treatment Center at 8th and Market, and there’s Project Hope.

But there’s a waiting list, honey. You can’t just walk in when you want to. It don’t work like that. There are, like, 500 people ahead of me. I’ve been calling every single day. I’ve been calling, like, a month straight. Ha, ha!

This Thursday, I have an appointment. Oh, fuckin’ hell yeah! I’m definitely going. I have no choice.

Hey, baby! Hey, baby! I love those cops. They’re Alvarez and Martin.

I said, “I’ll climb all over your ass!” They said, “Not today, Amanda. Behave!” Ha, ha!

They could tell that I was dope sick. They said, “You want me to call an ambulance?”

I said, “Why? Are they going to give me heroin at the hospital?”



Ha, ha!

They said, “Go on and be safe!” They don’t give a fuck.

One day, I was shooting up, right? I was in an alley, and Martin walked around the corner. He said, “Amanda! Really? Fuckin’ really?!”

I said, “Listen, buddy, you know how long it took for me to get this shit? You know how many dicks I had to suck?!”

“Please, Amanda, can’t you go hide a little bit?”

“I’m going to wrestle your fuckin’ ass. You’re not taking my fuckin’ shit!”

I told him I had to suck five dicks, but I had to suck just one! Ha, ha!

I come out of an alleyway. I’m all hot. I say, “I just got gang banged by five monkeys!” Ha, ha, ha!

The cops say, “Ewww! You dirty girl!”

I joke with them every day. They’re my family.

Alvarez and Martin say, “You’re our favorite hooker, Amanda.” That’s what they tell me every day. Ha, ha!

I get $20 for head, $40 for fucking.

Sometimes, I only charge $10 for a quick bendover. You’ve only got five minutes. Go!

Some guys don’t even last five minutes. Ha, ha! Especially when I get them all worked up. Blrrrrr! Blrrrr! Blrrrr!

Sometimes, I get a lot more than that. I’ve made a thousand in a day.

Once, I got $800. I copped some junk for him, and he got so high, he fuckin’ fell asleep. When I woke up, he was gone, but there was $800 in an envelope, plus a rose and a letter.

What a homo, right? What’s this fag shit?! Ha, ha!

I have about 10 regulars. They’re old guys in their 60’s and 70’s. They’re all white. Their wives are dead, baby. They can’t get it up anymore. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I even stay overnight at a guy’s house. Usually, we go to a hotel. They don’t want the neighbors to see. Some of them live far away, too.

You want to hear a fucked up story? The other night, this big dude was really grinding on me. He wouldn’t fuckin’ get off me! He was really hurting me, like really hurting me! He couldn’t come, so he only gave me two ones. That’s pretty funny, right?

I’m not going to see that nigger again.

Hobobo, works! Who got works? Hey, you faggot! Who’s my boy? You got works?! Works?! Works?! Works?!

Boobah, boobah, boobah!

Motherfucker! Cocksucker! How are you, baby?

Hello, hello! Boop, boop! Oh, oh, oh!

My fuckin’ feet hurt, lover! Mother, motherfucker! I’m going to shoot another! Undercover!

Dokey, pokey! I finally got down to where I wanted it. Oh yeah, oh yeah!

Oh yeah, here we go again, my fuckin’ fucked up friend, I’d do it all again!




Oh, you’re my angel! I’ve got my angel!

Boobah! Look at you, love. How’s my baby?

Boom, bugger, boom, bugger, boombah!

Do you know the doper man, doper man, doper man? Do you know the doper man that lives on Dreary Lane?

The doper man takes it up on Dreary Lane. Ha, ha!

Do you know the nothing man, nothing man, nothing man? Do you know the nothing man that lives on Dreary Lane?


Wednesday, September 14, 2016








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.