For Dad

Dad I love you with
everything I have. 
Even though, I have
nothing to show,
nothing to give, 
nothing to make you
proud of me. I’m sorry.

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    Can Gio 

The next day Tom wakes up to the smell of salt. He moves closer to the scent that itches his nose like a tickling sensation. His nose touches something damp. He opens his eyes. It’s a prison bar. He puts his hands around the bars and looks outside. Bright leaves from the Mangrove trees branches flutter off the branch edges, as gusts of wind cascade down and up, bringing them down to the muddy shore, where the waves rise, high and high, and then descend with a smash, strong water pounding the rocks, its swell curling inward and softening the ground of the beach. From many clusters of Mangrove trees, their lush green foliage sway in the dense wind, as gleaming sunlight filters through the craggy branches. At the base of one tree trunk, where ingrown roots protrude from the ground, wicker baskets sit next to each other with charcoal, fuel-wood, and shellfish in them. 

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Backstory: For Vicki

Life isn't an eternity,

what I'm telling you is already known, known since there was a spider crawling up the staircase and your dad took the heel of his black dress shoe and dug his heel into that bug. And maybe I'm buggin’, but that bugged me, and now I'm trying to be healthier eating carrots like Bugs. Kale, red onions, and quinoa, as well. Because I want to be there for my sister, Vicki my sister. All we got is a wrapped-up box made from God, Mohammad, and Buddha.

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Water-Walk

“You see, people, especially ones who work in fancy offices, use white-out to correct the mistakes in their papers. They take the white-out pen and mark out all of the black characters away, making long, white streaks over the text, so that the mistake wasn't in there in the first place. Out with the black and replaced with the white.”

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Andrew Tran
Opaque Shades of RVA

So this is college? That frontier plateauing 
before you can dive off a cloud? So this utopia
was a dollhouse, the daily on the doormat
camps in the hallway: waits while the child watches
a sit-com?
Don’t apartments stand still? Are abstract paintings
and basketball supposed to nurture a city

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Journal Entry No. 1

Google: starving artist. Consider the picture for the starving artist: straight, white, male. Ask yourself: why are the envelopes in the mail box, are also always: straight white mail. Contemplate drinking wine during the day; red.

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Andrew TranComment
Lunch

Dad stood up from the couch and took the tuna melt sandwich out my hand. He went into the kitchen, got around the countertop, and opened up the trashcan. He dropped the tuna melt into the trash. “I don’t like tuna melt anymore.” 

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Claudia, Dad, and Me

“We were born in the middle of our family room as Bird’s sax undulated from a clean vinyl on an old record player, Dad—a Norwegian Poet—standing tall and proud in the background, recording the moment of time on a Super 8, and Mom screaming for Siddhartha Gautama between contractions. And as Mom—a beautiful Vietnamese woman—had taken in the fresh air from an open window, she mumbled passages from Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, as though they were from the Book of Genesis.” 

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Shooter, In The Land Of No Clocks

My older brother Jordan seemed normal this Thurs- day afternoon, when I saw him placing bets at the craps table in Maryland Live Casino. At least there, he thrived, even if success sometimes eluded his grasp. He pretty much lived in the kaleidoscopic building. One time, he brought a sleeping bag and raggedy pillow, and took a nap by the slot machines. He should have been kicked out by the bouncers, but Jordan charmed his way out of it, even managing a free jack and coke out of the ordeal. Even bummed a cigar, off one of the cocktail waitresses. That was Jordan, a charming guy. Nothing seemed to bother him. Nothing except for losing, which happened, often.

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Andrew TranComment
last laugh

We chew slowly and carefully,

the meal in front of us rests on a paper plate

—a sloppy joe, corns and peas,

slices of pear,

a single piece of cornbread.

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