A Model Apartment

By Bryan Thao Worra

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Yam zoo ntshai tsam tau me.

Yam phem ntshai tsam los ze.

Something good, you fear you’ll get too little.

Something bad, you fear it will come too close.
-Ancient Hmong proverb

I.

The elders believe the tragedy that befell Kazoua Vue in New England was avoidable. As incontrovertible evidence of this position, they repeat the ancient Hmong folktales and modern news stories of those who live too far from their families, and the horrific fates those foolish people meet.

Her funeral was conducted with singular quietude in her hometown of Milwaukee. Few of the gentle young painter’s remaining family wished to discuss the details, an understandable position given the disquieting nature of it all. But a reasonably consistent picture of the events in Arkham emerged for those who pried deep enough into the dark matter.

At the behest of her family, the last of her effects are scheduled for a discrete incineration next week in a remote corner of the city. After this, none will speak of her, and it will be as if she had never been.

Arkham is one of those changeless places of Earth – a quiet, almost mythic city in New England. The sleepy Miskatonic river cuts through the centre of the city directly to the coldest fathoms of the Atlantic, if one follows far enough.

It is home to Miskatonic University, which over the years, weathered innumerable bizarre incidents and scandals, survived devastating fires, even the great flood of 1980 that swept away so many of Arkham’s oldest architectural fixtures.

It was here that fabled figures like the alleged hag Keziah Mason had fled during the frenzied witch-hunts of old. Those of a scientific mindset may recall that the tragic Pabodie Expedition to Antarctica had its beginnings in Arkham’s shining halls.

Morbid turn-of-the-century painter Richard Upton Pickman, best known for “The Lesson” and his ghastly “Ghoul Feeding”, often visited Arkham in his early years when he wasn’t in Boston. This was well before he became an enigmatic recluse who went the way of Ambrose Bierce and Frederico Garcia Lorca.

Kazoua always had an unnatural, almost unhealthy, attraction to Pickman’s work. It could have been worse. She could have been ogling Warhol, or even Kadinsky, or that hack Pollack.

Fleeing the war in Laos, she and her family came to America in 1984. There was some brief time spent in the Thai refugee camp of Ban Vinai beforehand.

While lingering in the squalid compound, they met an idealistic young US AID worker who’d been an art history minor fond of Bacon, Goya,and Dali. Through him, Kazoua first saw many of those bizarre images that scholars believe were so influential on her and her style.

Her family began their American odyssey in Providence. There were several other Hmong clans present there as well, including Thaos, Khangs, Hers, and several branches of the Yangs. Though accommodating enough, Rhode Island and her non-Hmong residents were still as alien to them as the moon.

Many Hmong converted from their traditional animism to Catholicism, but it is worth noting the Vatican permitted them to still practice a select few of the traditional rituals of old, particularly funerary and marriage rites.

In the spring of 1986, Kazoua’s parents journeyed to rejoin her father’s brothers in Milwaukee. There the families could support one another as during the war and long before. They established a modestly-successful Asian grocery store, Lao American Market, near Vliet Street, and many remember when she became the first in her family to attend college.

Much to their dismay, she majored in art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, insisting she could make a good living at it.

When her macabre painting, “Yer’s Family, A Tiger’s Perspective” sold for a considerable sum to a prominent Milwaukee art collector, most of her critics were silenced, although many elders continued to insist a proper Hmong girl would simply get married and forego such useless luxuries as a college education.

II.

On September 17th, 1999, Michael Stuczynski, one of her closer associates, opened his art gallery Diabolica near Murray Avenue. He invited her to showcase her work there for a month. Entitled “Despair-Diaspora”, it was an ambitious solo show featuring 42 canvases, including her oil paintings and mixed-media projects. Her ostensible theme was traditional Hmong folklore and the role of memory.

By the most generous accounts, it was something of a disaster when it opened in November.

Most non-Hmong viewers dismissed it, largely from a lack of familiarity with the figures being referenced. Others more familiar with the Hmong expected something more akin to the Kohler Center’s earlier exhibition of traditional textiles and silverwork, and not the gory spectacles Kazoua Vue presented.

Hmong audiences, on the other hand, abhorred its fixation on the spirits and demons of the past, such as the Dab, the dreaded Poj Ntxoog and the terrifying Zaj in all its reptilian glory.

“Despair-Diaspora” was taken down in December without much fanfare, and if the harsh critical reception of her work had any effect on the sensitive young Kazoua, she did not outwardly show it.

There were two significant outcomes of the exhibition at Diabolica.

The first was her new resolve to return to the New England she remembered so fondly, to undertake an artistic rejuvenation. She would study the work of artists like Pickman there and find peers who understood her vision. The second outcome was meeting Tou Ger Khang, a dark-tempered young man with whom she fell hopelessly in love.

What she saw in the dour, sullen boy remains anyone’s guess, but academically he was promising, demonstrating a particular aptitude for high-level physics and mathematics. The two married in Milwaukee in the traditional fashion not long after they met and Tou Ger was amenable to completing his studies in New England with her.

They were accepted into Miskatonic University for Fall 2001. It seemed a positive turn in her fortunes.

III.

Their move to New England occurred without incident. There were the usual best-wishes and tears but nothing beyond the ordinary. They drove a small U-Haul from Milwaukee, taking I-90E most of the way, passing through Cleveland, Buffalo and Albany, where they stopped to visit a few distant relatives, happily catching up on news and family gossip.

Ordinarily, the trip is a fast 18 hours, but the two took their time and it became a four-day trip to the East Coast. There were numerous photographs taken then, but most are lost.

It was raining heavily when they finally arrived on Wednesday, March 7th, 2001. They’d come early in order to acclimate to the city’s nuances before beginning their classes in earnest in September. As most will remember, it was a very cold, wet month for the entire region then.

Some might have been deterred by the gloom. For Kazoua, she took it as an uplifting sign, a symbol of rejuvenation, regeneration and reconnection with things she felt missing in her life. She remembered it raining when she left New England the last time, so it felt like coming full circle.

Ever an efficient one, Kazoua had inquired ahead of time of possible living quarters on campus and was informed that the official dormitories were still filled with students, but many reputable landlords in the area could easily accommodate them.

Happily, there was a recent opening in the White Rose Apartments, nestled conveniently a few blocks from the central campus. The landlord, Janos Dombrowski, informed her a tenant had to relinquish his apartment unexpectedly to return to Vienna. However, in his haste, he left behind several fine furnishings that seemed a pity to discard with the weekly rubbish.

Dombrowski noted that the apartment was nearly immaculate considering the neighbourhood – an excellent deal. If they wanted, Dombrowski would leave the furniture for them, to spare them the expense of refurnishing it.

Upon hearing Kazoua was an artist, he also waived the security deposit for them in exchange for one of her paintings when she arrived, being an amateur artist himself who understood such circumstances. He expressed hope that she would join the local art club, for they always sought fresh voices. Things were looking up for the young couple and it seemed the stars were truly in their favor.

IV.

For a brief time, Kazoua’s work took on an almost sunny disposition. The effect, while not quite jubilant meadow creatures frolicking beneath some saccharine sun, was still jarring to her few long-time acquaintances she kept contact with and ultimately alienated them even further from her.

But in her first months there, no one perceived any insurmountable problems in her life or any trace of that sad dementia that was to mark her final days.

On the weekends, she and Tou Ger took pleasant day-trips to nearby cities like Innsmouth or Boston. In particular, they were on the lookout for a good bowl of pho, which was still very hard to come by in Arkham proper.

Dombrowski took a personal interest in helping the young couple enjoy the city, inviting them to various community gatherings he’d read of in the Arkham Observer. Kazoua and Tou Ger accepted his offers on several occasions, curious to see the local attractions. They even attended a few meetings of the notorious French Hill Art Club, whose members were pleasant enough, although not entirely of the kindred disposition Kazoua hoped to find.

There were, at any given point, ten to twelve members of the French Hill Art Club in attendance. Advancing years kept many of their more prolific members from venturing out with any regularity. A notable standout was the bloated Mr. Thurber, who had the despicable look and decrepit aroma of a dilettante artist, arriving consistently liquored-up, his frog-like eyes constantly drifting towards Kazoua’s cleavage like some mad suckling calf.

Herbert Carter was a little less loathsome, a fragile-featured man who dressed all in white suits during the spring and all in black during the winter, every year without fail. He was a minor Arkham phenomenon as the locals waited to see when the season had changed based on his attire. Thurber often scoffed at Carter, questioning whether he was an artist or a fashion plate.

Normally a pleasant and polite girl, Kazoua soon tired of regaling traditional Hmong folktales and beliefs at every meeting to the pallid members of the club, who viewed her stories as quaint, exotic grist for their mediocre work. They had all been starving for genuine inspiration for untold ages. Eventually, she politely severed her ties with them, claiming she needed time to focus on her art and studies. Many were tremendously disappointed and several asked her to keep in touch individually.

Kazoua became notorious for losing phone numbers during this time.

It was not long afterwards that poor Dombrowski took ill in mid-July. The constant rain had taken its toll, and his wife found him in the basement delirious, raving incoherent and horrible things about the universe.

The physicians advised admission to the local asylum, but Mrs. Dombrowski instead had his nearby nephew from Innsmouth, Eric Gilman, come to manage the affairs of the White Rose Apartments. Dombrowski was confined to his bed with sedatives, some small canvases and some paint with which to pass the time. This ultimately had little effect on Kazoua and Tou Ger, however, who’d begun to have problems of their own.

V.

It is from this point that the particulars begin to unravel into an indescribable mess of tangled implications, hearsay and unreliable accounts, and even the most stalwart investigators will find themselves stymied by the ‘details’ that led to Kazoua’s doom.

Among the more certain elements was the noticeable presence of vermin within the walls of the White Rose Apartments. Several of the tenants, to Gilman’s dismay, came to complain of the constant scurrying and scratching of the unseen boarders, who were most active after midnight.

Mr. Von Kempelen, on the 3rd floor, remarked that these did not sound like common field mice, but lumbering Norwegian wharf rats determined to keep him from sleeping soundly. Mrs. Samsa also complained of the rodents and, while she had not seen them, had heard them and took solace only in that they had dealt with a peculiar cockroach problem she’d been having. The curious bachelor Trelkovsky spoke of moving, perhaps back to Paris, if matters were not resolved. Gilman promised to look into the matter immediately and contracted Delapore Exterminators to set things aright.

In a brief visit with his parents, Tou Ger admitted he’d had trouble sleeping that month, no doubt an effect of adjusting to the damp New England climate after so many years in the Midwest. He had vivid nightmares alternating with bouts of insomnia. His mother left him some traditional herbs she’d grown in her garden in Milwaukee as a remedy.

Correspondence between Kazoua and some of her cousins in Albany from the time indicates she too had problems with the pests, but was more repulsed by the ineffectiveness of her apartment to let proper natural light in for her painting. An almost obsessive perfectionist when it came to her art, she realized that the angles at which the windows had been set would never allow sufficient light, even on a good day. Instead, a lazy haze perpetually permeated the space, dissipating only with the setting of the sun.

A review of her letters outlined a particular encounter with Gilman, who apparently knew nothing of this sort of thing, merely shrugging and offering to lend her a few used lamps from the janitor’s closet.

Exasperated, Kazoua agreed to take them. She accompanied Gilman to the basement, which had recently flooded a few weeks earlier.

Most of the mess had been cleaned up, but the noxious scent of mildew and mold had begun to seep in. Unlocking the closet door, Gilman intimated he was a superstitious sort, wondering aloud about the wisdom of building the White Rose Apartments on this lot.

When Kazoua pressed him to explain, he mentioned the Dombrowski family had been Polish immigrants who owned the property at the turn of the century. But the death of a student boarder, Walter Gilman (no relation), and an awful gale in 1931 irreparably damaged the house both physically and in reputation so much so that his forebears gave up on the wretched building and focused their entrepreneurial attentions elsewhere.

There’d been some nattering about witchcraft because the supposed-witch Keziah Mason had once lived there, but that was just fireside nonsense.

In the early 1990s, several of the Dombrowski brothers, most of whom were now into real estate, looked into building a new apartment complex on the old lot, which had once again gone up for sale. It seemed like karma. It was a second chance for the family, who never forgot their father’s forlorn stories of this failed house, and they cheered their idea as if they were pioneers out to settle the West.

To them, this lot was a symbol of the American dream. They became obsessive about it. Price was no object, and it was the only time they let sentimentality guide their decisions, although it nearly bankrupted them.

Despite complaints from the anemic popinjays of the Arkham Historical Society, they built a remarkably modern apartment building, banishing the memory of their family’s previous failure to a mere footnote in their fortunes. Construction went surprisingly well, without accident or injury, almost as if the whole project had been blessed from above.

But in recent months, some great shadow had fallen upon the property, starting with the relentless March rain. Gilman advised Kazoua to avoid extended conversations with Mrs. Dombrowski if possible. Gilman bemoaned his constant bickering over the management of the property with the madwoman.

Kazoua took her lamps and resolved to avoid all of them except on the 1st of the month to pay her rent.

VI.

Interviews with her neighbors suggest that around late August, Kazoua and Tou Ger began arguing vociferously over the inconsequential. Over the next few weeks it escalated, until the police were called to intercede on September 3rd, 2001 because of the disturbance they were making.

According to the police report, Kazoua accused Tou Ger of hiding her art supplies from her and defacing her most ambitious canvas to date, an epic depiction of the first Hmong shaman, Shee Yee, against the malevolent Nzeu Nyong and his hordes of evil spirits. Tou Ger claimed to know nothing about it, calling her an irrational lunatic and a witch.

Police noted several glasses, eggs and similar fragile objects had been smashed against the walls in the frenzy, but did not feel the situation warranted more than a warning.

On another note, Kazoua’s sister in Milwaukee, Dia, says her sister was never one to have comfortable sleep. She was a known insomniac, and several of her uncles suspected her of being haunted by a particular long-standing curse on the women of their family.

During the funeral, Dia mentioned that while she was alive, her sister would frequently call (lamentably, collect) to discuss the terrible dreams she’d been having, conveying images so awful that Dia had to plead with Kazoua to stop relating them to her.

Their father, Pheng Vue, wanted a well-known shaman in Rhode Island to come out to help her and exorcise the apartment in the proper custom, which he knew Kazoua and Tou Ger had not done prior to moving in. Kazoua rejected the solution for uncertain reasons.

VII.

The last works of Kazoua Vue are described as her greatest and the darkest of her brief career, when she at last began to eclipse mighty Pickman himself. Most survive only in fragments, broken scraps of canvas or singed sketches, but even these scant pieces tell of a powerful voice emerging from a long sleep.

Some of her iconic language is more easily apprehended – primal spirals, crude stars with flaming eyes, jagged mountain ranges of purple and blue. Others resemble glyphs invoking ancient Egypt, pre-dynastic Qin or the Enochian script of the mystic John Dee. But some remain far more elusive, indecipherable by coherent minds.

Not all was abstract: Kazoua created self-portraits akin to a more surreal Kahlo, and a disturbing series of portraits depicting the deceitful Poj Ntxoog “throughout herstory.” Her paintings of this awful creature possessed a terrible verisimilitude. One could scarcely imagine it to be a creature of myth, thanks to her all-too-keen brushstrokes. More imaginative minds might believe the Poj Ntxoog came to pose, but such circumstances would be absurd.

When asked about her peculiar choice in subjects, Kazoua replied that she saw the deeper symbolic significance of these misunderstood spirits and that Hmong women could learn greatly from the Poj Ntxoog’s example. She seems to honestly have believed the image of the shape-shifting Poj Ntxoog could be rehabilitated through art, as happened with ancient Lilith, the Great Mother, Goddess of a Thousand Names.

Most traditional accounts of the Poj Ntxoog describe them as dwarf spirit women with long, terrible hair and feet that face backwards to fool the unsuspecting. Every now and then, villagers in Asia’s highlands will still report killing a Poj Ntxoog. One account described the creature as having six vaginas, a long, thin neck, deathly-pale skin, and a mouth so dark you cannot see her teeth. The bodies always seem to disappear shortly after death. Others say the Poj Ntxoog consort with tigers and have magic powers, possessed of an inexplicable desire to trick and deceive humans.

A relative, wishing to remain anonymous, said Tou Ger, upon seeing these portraits, was so repulsed he told her to stop painting the evil things, lest they be called forward to admire themselves. Kazoua responded violently, calling him unspeakable things. He was so shocked to hear her speak like that to him that he shrank into the meekest of creatures, avoiding his own wife during all hours except bedtime.

VIII.

Around this period, Thurber from the French Hill Art Club came, some suspect courting, Kazoua at her apartment while he checked in on the poor Dombrowskis.

Thurber had been researching his old notes and found some material of a very special interest to the young aficionado of Richard Upton Pickman. At first, Kazoua expressed little interest, but relented, for Thurber offered nothing less than a visit to some of Pickman’s hidden studios, both within Arkham and on the North End of Boston. He even had what he claimed was one of Pickman’s original brushes, which he presented to her as a present. It was too tempting to resist and soon, Kazoua traveled alone with him to those sordid locations, which were mostly ruins and dusty boards more than anything these days.

They would return from their jaunts caked in mud and dirt that reeked of old worlds civilization was all too happy to leave behind. If Tou Ger objected, it is not documented. She became quite spirited during this time, as did Thurber. Carter remarked that Thurber seemed quite the cock of the walk.

On October 30th, however, Thurber burst into the evening gathering of the French Hill Art Club, alone and shirtless, gibbering, frothing, and raving. Carter and the rest of Thurber’s peers tried to calm him, but he savagely beat them back. It was a grotesque sight and they were quite happy when he fled into the dark night.

When asked about the matter, Kazoua replied simply that they had gone to a studio and apparently, Thurber was discontent with what he’d seen. Kazoua, on the other hand, found it quite pleasant, and couldn’t understand Thurber’s response. Carter noticed Kazoua had an odd bruise on her neck, but was disinclined to pursue the matter further. Kazoua also noted she would be having no further contact with Thurber, as he had behaved in an altogether ungentlemanly fashion unbecoming an artist.

Thurber was never seen again.

The French Hill Art Club does keep his name on the members list, however, should he ever turn up, although he will still owe the appropriate dues.

IX.

Eric Gilman clearly recalls the month of November, 2001 because Kazoua dressed in the elaborate traditional clothing of her people the entire time, as if preening for an unknown audience. She did not seem to entertain company, however, so it was quite curious. She was radiant, although within her eyes, he noted perhaps the first sign of her coming madness.

Her hair grew increasingly long and wild and her voice took on a strange melodic quality, ethereal and remote. Humans may as well have been ants to her. She grew more pale as the month went on.

Although Gilman now believes he misheard it, when he called out her name one evening upon meeting in the hallway, she corrected him that it was “Keziah”. Given the tonal language of the Hmong, most concur she was merely correcting the way to pronounce Kazoua, as was often her habit with the Dombrowskis when they’d first met.

Mrs. Samsa complained of strange laughing and an eerie, almost-inhuman whooping coming from the Hmong couple’s apartment, especially late at night. Gilman was reluctant to approach Kazoua, and drafted a note he slipped under her door. For a time, the noise stopped.

In November, Tou Ger was cleaning for the holidays alone in the apartment. He made the dreadful mistake of disturbing a massive rat warren. Many must have just given birth to their litters, for that is the only reason to explain the savage ferocity with which the pests attacked him so mercilessly.

The vermin had scurried away to the safety of the shadows by the time Trelkovsky broke open the door to assist his pitifully-screaming neighbor. Kazoua arrived minutes later. She’d been out visiting one of Pickman’s old studios. They found Tou Ger on the floor, a whimpering lump of flesh with terrible gashes across his entire pathetic body.

Trelkovsky suggested taking him to the hospital, but Kazoua dismissed the idea because the couple had no health insurance. It was nothing a few bandages and some traditional Hmong herbal medicine could not cure. She thanked Trelkovsky for his help and walked him to the door.

Tou Ger was put to bed and few heard from them for a while. On December 23rd, 2001, as Kazoua was traveling to Boston, an awful commotion came from the apartment – unearthly screaming and that strange shrieking, whooping and wailing. The violent sound of breaking furniture in the apartment prompted neighbours to call the police.

As Gilman hastily opened the door for the officers, witnesses in the hallway report they saw a strange swirling swarm of brown-furred things unlike any rodents they’d seen in their lives; slithering, writhing and nipping at Tou Ger Khang, who, blinded in agony, accidentally stumbled through the fragile window of his apartment to his death, his face half-torn away from the gnawing and scratching. No one could get in touch with Kazoua until Monday morning.

Arkham police later concluded the creatures to be nothing more than common rodents, however peculiar their behavior, and encouraged everyone to put speculation to rest. They claim the ultimate cause of Tou Ger’s death was a virulent viral hemorrhagic fever from his earlier rat bites. Mrs. Dombrowski and Gilman lowered the rent for Kazoua in consideration of her loss.

In a decision that greatly upset everyone, Kazoua had Tou Ger’s remains cremated quickly and without consultation. It was an unbelievable break from Hmong tradition. She said cryptically it was for the best and he deserved a chance for his soul to rest. She then withdrew from the outside world and it isn’t until March, 2002 that any further details of her life can be spoken of with any certainty.

X.

The evidence is supposed to speak for itself. But what was going on then? As with many of the great mysteries surrounding the lives of troubled artists like Modigliani, Lautreamont and the like, the complete details can only be speculated at, and the strangest elements become only so much trivia when they do not fit into a tidy, comprehensible explanation.

In March, 2002, an ambulance was summoned to the apartment of Kazoua Vue. Many expected the worst, but the EMTs emerged, not with Kazoua, but an elderly Hmong man she identified at the time as her uncle, who was having tea with her and inexplicably collapsed from a severe stroke in her living room.

Other Hmong knew him as a prominent shaman renowned for his healing skills. Animists in Providence recall he once defeated a Poj Ntxoog near the village of Sam Neua, and attributed many other incredible feats to him. Kazoua invited him over to help her artistic research regarding more esoteric elements of Hmong spiritualism and was deeply saddened by his seizure. It was a great loss for the community.

On April 12th, 2002, Gilman needed to discuss repairs with Kazoua to fix all of the rain and snow damage the White Rose had suffered in the year prior. And this was when he made the terrible discovery.

There was no answer to his knocking, so he’d let himself into the apartment. There was a foul odor, and all the shades were drawn. At first, Gilman believed the noxious scent was a fetid buildup of mildew and garbage. He called aloud for Kazoua and heard a loud bumping noise from the room she used as her studio.

Walking over with trepidation, he screamed when he saw the awful sight: on the floor lay the corpse of the diminutive woman who once was Kazoua Vue. But the rats, those damned, infernal rats had made a meal of her, stripping away all of her flesh and most of her organs. Except, strangely, her perfect, beautiful right arm, which still clutched a ornately-carved brush.

As he leaned closer, he could see, no, it was made from a hideously-gnawed human bone. He then looked up and saw the last canvas she’d been working on. He was horrified to see the gruesome painted images of three ghastly women staring directly at him and Kazoua’s corpse, their mouths salivating in anticipation. Their evil filled him with dread, as if viewing some ancient enemy.

Perhaps it was only the effect of the chemical fumes and the stench of decay in the room, but Gilman swears he saw the hands in the painting move, as if probing for a way to escape the confines of the painting’s feeble geometry. He heard a quiet shuffling from a dark corner of the studio, then a bump.

And then he realized what was truly wrong: He might not understand art as well as his mad uncle, but he knew enough about composition to know there was space in the painting for four figures. A missing figure.

The one slowly rising, shuffling, crawling towards him. The one moving with a pulpy, liqueous lurching noise, slow and murderous. Its head, or whatever pale, lumpy appendage it might call as such, was turning right towards him. Walking backwards.

And he fled, needing no further satisfaction of his curiosity. Something shrieked.

XI.

When the police arrived, they found nothing but a corpse. They dismissed the more imaginative aspects of Gilman’s account as stress and shock. Hallucinations.

Curiously, it may have been an effect of the chemicals in the air, but the initial coroner’s report indicated that she had been dead since at least November. But that is ridiculous, for obvious reasons, and was corrected on the proper certificates to something more reasonable.

Gilman tries to forget it all now with a daily bottle of scotch and a box of cigarettes, and sleeps with the lights constantly on back at his shabby apartment in Innsmouth.

Local mystics debate over their lattes whether the roots of this incident emerged from Kazoua’s traditions or New England’s, or something far more ancient and transcendent of time and space, who cares nothing for earthly dreams, let alone American ones.

Kazoua Vue and Tou Ger Khang’s stories have slowly been eased out of human memory, because sometimes, it is better to forget, the elders say. Humans often forget that forgetting, too, can be a blessing of the heavens, no matter where they’re from.

The Dombrowskis still have difficulty renting the apartment out.

THE END

Bryan Thao Worra is a Lao-American poet, short story writer, playwright and essayist. An NEA Fellow in literature, his work appears internationally in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers, including Bamboo Among the Oaks, Tales of the Unanticipated, Illumen, Astropoetica, Outsiders Within, Dark Wisdom, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, and Mad Poets of Terra. He is the author of the speculative books of poetry On the Other Side of the Eye and BARROW. You can visit him online at http://thaoworra.blogspot.com.