Paul Tran

Issue No. 11 • December 2013

For the 2 million, the 240,000 & counting

    Hi, honaay! 
    Welcome to #1 Beauty Nail Salon. 
    We make you #1, okay!
    How I help you today?
    You want the manicure?    Pedicure?
    That’s okay!     I cure everything.
    (Only $6 dolla more.)

    You go sit over there.
    My name is Chien. 
    And I do very good for you. 
    Okay, honaay? 
    I make you #1.  
    Troi oi!
    I make you & America the #1.

The perfect manicure begins like a careful plan.

1.   Wash your hands.
2.   Remove any dirt from the land.
3.   Scrape off the native coats with acetone.
4.   And rinse thoroughly. 

    Honaay, you like the French tip for yo nail?
    French tip make it look white and so sexy!
    All my customers like The White Nail.

For French tips:

1.   Clip the keratin armor until your nails are slick.
2.   Keep each operation uniform. Rank &
3.   File the top and sides.
4.   Push back the enemy cuticles with oil and lotion: The        
     chemical arsenal of Vietnamese  manicurist named, “War.”  

      Even oceans away, she carries the war  
      like a name. She is bent over
      scrubbing your fingers to eliminate the dead
      skin. The cuticle foliage stir in her memories
      of slaughtered soldiers, her children washed away,
      sister buried alive—
            Honaay, what color you like?
            I got the red. Blue. Blue with the sparkle!
            I think the red look very sexy on you, no?

5.   Apply a base. All 37 of them.
6.   Then the color of burning and bloodshed.
7.   Make sure to get the brush deep down
      into the nail groove:
      the hard to reach trenches.  

Maximum coverage makes the killing easy—
The operation for beauty a breeze.  

(To prevent the slightest chipping,)
8.   Add a layer of toluene.
9.   Ignore your casualties:      
            Beasts born without teeth,          
                bodies mangled by dogs,              
                      the bombs st-st-still bu-bur-bursting—
10.  Clean up any mistakes with a manicure pen.
      A pen is all you need to be #1,
      to make an ugly truth look beautiful.
      A truth ugly only to those it makes insane,
      whose careful planning it complicates.

It is no coincidence Vietnamese refugees  
operate the nail salons in this country.  
It’s called racial capitalism. 

The beauty industry of America
has been taken over by a sparkle        red. Blue. Blue with the sparkle!
nail polish mafia, offering you the Orient  
for cheap. For Americans, “Life  
in the Orient [has always been] cheap!”

    But we remember.

We remember the conquest, the white men
who raided our villages, who promised us  
freedom, who dragged us here like dogs.

So when the day comes—

When the day comes
and this empire collapses onto its knees,
spooling in a pool of its own blood,
we will be ready to make you all so beautiful.

    Troi oi, honaay! Don’t worry!     I will make you drop—