Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Saigon


The Viet down in Chelsea try to make their means. In the neon sparkled mist of Atlantic City's broken dreams. They scramble in the shadows of the casinos' gilded faux. Breathing life into a ward who's bones began to show. Lan secured a loan to lease a shop on Arctic Ave. To open up a restaurant he would give up all he had. The Vietnamese will lend a hand, as they're loyal to their own. They propped up Lan and cheered him on as he opened Little Saigon.

We can light the flame for every Little Saigon
Call it Ho Chi Minh by the Viet Cong
In the end, it's just an American song
For every broken dream here in Little Saigon

Lan would work the kitchen, his sister Mai would tend the floor. Mai was just sixteen with a face to be adored. The scent of lemongrass and basil and the warmth of sweet Mai's glow. Kept the customer's returning to a place where they were known. But like every ghetto mom-and-pop, there was more to pay than rent. Refuse to pay the gangbangers there may be an accident. The BTK from Chinatown were ruthless and obscene. They raped and killed his sister, Mai, when Lan would not come clean.

We can light the flame for every Little Saigon
Call it Ho Chi Minh by the Viet Cong
In the end, it's just an American song
For every broken dream here in Little Saigon


Three Word Wednesday offered these: Accident, Loyal, Obscene


Notes: This is a fictional ballad loosely based on real places. Little Saigon is a Vietnamese restaurant in the Chelsea section of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The setting of this pleasant establishment and the gentrifying neighborhood it resides were the inspiration for the story. The blight of gang violence in Asian communities in America is widespread and often underreported due to the cultural distrust of government in general by these communities. The BTK (Born to Kill) is a Vietnamese gang formed as an offshoot of Chinese gangs in New York's Chinatown. They were known to be extremely violent. While Atlantic City has been a magnet for mob activity of all kinds, any presence of BTK there is unknown to me.

6 comments:

  1. A great piece of work. It speaks to time changes, cultural shifts and survival by the core.

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  2. Oh, whoa, I love this more than anything I’ve read of yours lately. It has everything in it that I go for: it’s got so sweet and sad a story; its lilting is killing, softly, meaning the message as ballad is all the more poignant; and delivered by my favorite troubadour, it doesn’t get much better than that. Combined with your afterword, this is as leaving a theatre hushed after a meaningful show, with a melancholy smile : )

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  3. Really liked this. An excellent ballad.

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  4. Michael, you're amazingly creative! I love your blog!

    Dusty

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  5. Just superb, my man. You really get the feeling for the setting, the life. Great contribution.

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