This is a certain kind of America. (Collected)
Mister Chu is also
reading that The important thing is people should be discouraged from consuming armadillo flesh or handling it. This is what the Doctor Truman in his newspaper said. The problem with armadillos apparently being that they may pass on their leprosy to you should they themselves have it. Down on your knees, And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love. Mister Chu eats at roadside trucks...
Mister Chu is not
the only Korean to allow himself to be presumed Japanese. More often the mistake made by others is that he must surely be Chinese. So many. He asked his friend Mihoko if she had ever been thought to be Korean. This was in the Giozushi Bar at the OCAT Mall-ten in Osaka. Good value. She looked at him for longer than most might and then said No. That has not happened to me. There was a period of...
Mister Chu has been
unlucky with vehicles from other places but here. In America he likes mostly Pontiac Cars. He thinks of all cars made in America as Pontiac Cars. In Korea his Uncle was killed while driving a Hyundai Galloper. It was not because of the car he was killed. His Uncle was thrown (through the windscreen). He fell asleep behind the wheel and then continued on into that mortal version, the one lasting...
Mister Chu remembers
the dead are not bald for the dead have no skin (this is how he considers the matter when he does).
Mister Chu is also
reading the poem “Howl” by Mister Allen Ginsburg again (with manuscript annotations/corrections) and finds himself stuck on the line that goes who broke down crying in white gymanisums naked and trembling before the white machinery of other skeletons and yes we did, he thinks. And the yellow machinery and the black machinery also. More often than not the pink machinery.
Mister Chu spray paints
and sketches on the hallway wall of his house. Over and over again. Some nights he sits at a local coffee shop on 1st Street in South Austin with his drawing book which is almost too big to take out with him and works on a potential friend of the girl type. Last night he imagined her dressed as though defending the non-denominational faith of those who believe in armies, but also as someone...
Mister Chu is stood
waiting for the kettle to boil and watches a bird pecking something to death outside his kitchen window and wonders who else is staring aimlessly at some casual slaughter. This line of thinking extends to numbers in a similar manner and specific dates especially. His mother was still young at the time of his arrival, having been born herself on February 16, 1931. Or perhaps that was a date also...
Do you chew when you eat Mister Chu? Mister Chu: I am my genetics Mister MarshallWarren, not my name. In some ways it’s a fair question for I do chew, of course, but not noodles much and I eat many, many of them. Ramen. I slurp my broth and then suck them up like a child wants to. Especially when in my house alone. No mother looking. I wonder if an Englishman thinks of his Queen when he...
This is a certain kind of America. (Collected) Parse: The father looks ahead. The older child looks at the mother. The mother looks where the father is looking. The younger child looks at the dog. Only the dog looks at the people in the line. The man in the leather flying hat looks back.
Mister Chu knows that
countless lives inhabit us. I don’t know, when I think or feel, who it is that thinks or feels. I am merely the place where things are thought or felt. -Pessoa (13 November, 1935)
Mister Chu has a useful
variety of lucky numbers, each ready for employment and all dependent on the circumstance he finds himself in. Three is a good example. Three is everywhere, in all things: The Tao (one) produces the Yin and Yang (two) which produces the Chi (three) or the force of Life itself and a white plate of offal besides. More matter. Don’t forget, Mister Chu is not by his own thinking a Taoist....
What does Mister Chu believe in? There is no doubt that those devout bring virtue in by casting out sin Mister Chu thinks of this as an agnostic haiku. Not based on the accepted faith of five syllables, followed by seven, followed by five, but still yearning to fit within that tent somehow. He does not believe in virtue as regard it providing its own reward (nor does he long to cast out sin),...
Mister Chu knows a man
who farms lambs in Pennsylvania and looks very much like Enrico Fermi without making any effort in that direction. In other ways Fermi was dissimilar; awarded the Nobel Prize at 37 and dead at 53. He was born in Rome but lived for a short while in Leonia, NJ, close to the George Washington Bridge. Mister Chu is interested in the acquisition of celebrity, not for himself but in the scale and...
Mister Chu is very taken
with the scruffy elegance of genetics and the eventual certainty of us all.
Mister Chu has many
fears not the least of these is dying in Las Vegas and this brings up the subject of girls directly. And Girls also, a song by the English musical group Death in Vegas which has been appropriated by different filming projects, but mostly, in Mister Chu’s head, by Miss Sofia Coppola in her film Lost in Translation which was, in Mister Chu’s head, made for him alone to appreciate...
Mister Chu was mistaken
for many years that Mister Sidney Lumet was Mister Sydney Pollack. No, not quite. He believed that the person who would be mentioned as Sidney Lumet looked like the man Sidney Pollack. Both men film directors certainly. And then Lumet died and there was an interview with him (made before he died this was) and it was an imposter. Another man entirely from the man Mister Chu was expecting and had so...
What is it Mister Chu looks like? Mister Chu: This was outside of a French restaurant I like very much on Nueces. A sketch in marker drawn quickly by a man who had caught my attention for long enough that he thought I might give him some dollars or two which I did. No need to hurry. But then he didn’t know how we share a line of work and I respect his effort. Mostly it’s me. Not good...
Mister Chu is ineffable
perhaps. But still, he often imagines himself ‘at the club’, a Gentleman at last. Cracks papered over.
Mister Chu agrees
belief and seeing are both often wrong. This is the 7th of the 11 lessons from the life of Robert Strange McNamara which began on June the 9th, 1916. Mister Chu was 11 years old when John F. Kennedy was shot not so far away from here in Dallas, Texas. He says now: “Can you believe it was at a place called Love Field that they landed?” From Austin to there, it’s a very boring...
Mister Chu has been
to Japan of course, but that was long ago under peculiar circumstances involving very little money. However, his quiet ruse to appear perhaps Japanese and remain largely under the radar has been upset a little by the business with the bad weather and nuclear issues over there. This afternoon he was sitting at Jo’s, a fine outdoor coffee shop on South Congress when he read in the newspaper...
Mister Chu believes
there is a future for instant coffee. This is, after all, a brand-type product that has gone all the way down from being up at the very top of up.
Mister Chu thinks that perhaps
the common denominator connecting peoples from everywhere is the idea of the angry villagers. This concept or group seems to be universal in their occurrence. Occasioned by resentment generally, but especially by change and observed external weirdness. He is working hard with this idea in his mind, albeit with largely American cast members at this time. Glue, camera, consideration as he often...
Mister Chu is listening
to the food specialist lady (this is on the old Grundig radio in his painting room which is really quite small (room not radio)) and she’s saying that when you’re hungry for something have a handful of nuts as a snack, but the problem here is Mister Chu has very large hands indeed. He says this was one of the reasons he became a painter. The large hands. But then Mister Chu says that...
Mister Chu knew a woman almost similar to this...
Mister Chu has a thing
about persimmons. And it is also true that he has a tendency to write notes in the margins of his work.
Persimmons Also known as Sharon fruit. Of course, they are delightful…
She is somewhere he has been.
Han K. asked:
I have been thinking about killing myself (only in theory), but I would need a method that would not bring shame on my family. Do you have thoughts about what might be best for this? Mister Chu: It is said that the tall, pointy object standing alone in an open space is the most likely to get struck by lightning. While it is not a certain method, no one would blame you for the result of dying in...
Mister Chu does his laundry
in the old-fashioned way. Not on the rocks by the river or with a scrubbing brush on a wooden board, but at least carefully and slowly. He considers anything careful and slow to be old. Bones in their walking, but also any actions taken with some measure of familiarity or forethought. When he returns from the gymnasium he feels like a young man. Muscled, pushed and warm, aglow as he will ever...
This is a certain kind of America. (Collected)
Everything is largely– The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Mister Chu knows
that any article or thing can be made to be the article and the thing. That you can take a lampshade and talk of human skin. Or something severed, a monkey’s paw, and see the consequences of it. ‘“It had a spell put on it by an old fakir,” said the sergeant-major, “a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who...
Has Mister Chu encountered a cowboy? A range riding, Marlboro-smoking authentic cowboy with leathery skin, squinty eyes, bowl-legged and hunched over? At first meeting, who defers? Mister Chu: It is true the cowboys still remain. By number they are often, when you see them, beneath bleached-white straw hats, and mostly Mexican men if they are of any type. Standing at bus stops, sometimes...
Mister Chu collects
those things about which he can say to himself this is a certain kind of America. Leave for elsewhere.
Mister Chu is often
scared of utterly horrible things. In his younger years these were mostly concerned with entirely physical possibilities and their impact on his person; things that might happen to him. For a long, long time he was convinced that at any moment his spine would be snapped. Not chipped or dislocated, but cleanly broken. One piece (which it is not, but fear ignores all facts and biology). Roughly...
Mister Chu thinks of this angle
as showing either a country’s past or a young woman’s own honeymoon. He likes the bleached-out spotlight, but it’s still the same painting and fruit and plastic figure. And, after all, there’s been no talk, as far as he knows, that this woman will be coming at all close to here in any way other than via an event available on the pay-per-view.
Hello. How old is Mister Chu? Mister Chu was a May baby. Apparently (according to him) there are more Koreans born in May than any other month. He seems quite proud of this common distinction. As for age, he was born close to or at the end of what President Truman called a Police Action, but most Americans know as The Korean War and the South Koreans call The 6-2-5 War because it began on June...
Mister Chu has been working
driven on by the idea of a wedding that is due to be widely broadcast. Often it’s hard for him to believe in Texas, but here he is, painting in the April Austin sun, and -after all- in a place where the fairy stories are only a matter of being slightly different. Despite his brushes and large camera Mister Chu has always disliked the word artist when used by people to describe themselves. So...
Mister Chu once swept
leaves on an early Spring February day from his front porch (they had fallen all throughout the Texas Winter). And he was being in love with the warmth until he woke up a rattlesnake sleeping there and was reminded how foreign and out of place the immigrant can quickly feel so quickly.
Mister Chu may like Kimchee
(and Taekwando also), but he has trained himself to not consider them to be a part of his American life as a Japanese person.
Mister Chu reads in a parking lot
that Ford first began selling the 350 Econoline in 1961 (amongst when he was being born perhaps) and the original van had a flatnose design based on the popular Ford Falcon. He’s listening on his car radio to an extended set by a local Polka Band who call themselves the Czech Melody Masters. He’s feeling either very modern or very old, uncertain as to which. The zip code Mister Chu is...
So is Mr Chu trying to encourage us to cease with the eating of animals? It seems no on the one hand, but on the other, his choice of commentators, each of whom has a grisly, almost nausea-inducing turn of phrase would lead me to suppose he is an agent provocateur operating as part of a cadre of the IVVB (International Veggie-Vegan- Brigade). Mister Chu is even-handed in his approach to the...
Mister Chu is like everyone
in respect of having a preference for brands of one type or another. Grundig for example is a favorite. No doubt because the grandfather of a boy who lived in an apartment close to him in Incheon had one like this, but also because of how self-contained and in-its-own suitcase this design is. Good design Mister Chu always thinks to himself, but also a perfect example of how things were...
Mister Chu wonders how to pronounce misoneism
which is a hatred or fear of change, being fooled by the “one” in the middle. Miss-oh-NEE-ism. And then he thinks of neology. And then he hears the grumbling of the cowboys in the 7-11, wondering why the Bengali clerk cannot interpret their drawl for a pack of cigarettes. There is less smoking than there used to be.
Mister Chu has had many lives
and been old-fashioned in all of them. Off the pace. Smoking cigars when cigars were not in season. Enjoying offal (that which has fallen off) before guts came back. Heads, brains, trotters and tripe. He is fond of food prepared in the traditional French manner. Calf faces and croissants. About the former he has written: Tête de veau is food. I see it as simply meat. Matter. Material made of...
Enrico Fermi’s laboratory notebook, 1941. In the months before coming to Chicago in the spring of 1942, Fermi and his team of physicists at Columbia University worked on a preliminary design for an atomic pile. With Leo Szilard, Walter Zinn, Herbert Anderson, and other colleagues, Fermi devised a lattice structure of graphite and uranium oxide for an “exponential” pile and...
Mister Chu is in the majority
as regards his general race and this quietly comforts him more than somewhat. There are more of us he thinks.