A Gob Of Spit

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Origingally Published in Rusted Radishes as A Prolonged Insult

By Youssef Rached Doughan

By Youssef Rached Doughan

“No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty … what you will. I am  going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse…” Herny Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Jamal waited in a café and sucked on his nth cigarette. He didn’t usually smoke more than three cigarettes a day, always after a meal, always systematically. His face was tired and bloated from an excursion down the ruins of a bottle of wine.

In the building across the street, two sisters released a barrage of vitriol from behind closed curtains. The familial screams echoed throughout the café, and the cat waiting on the café door was alarmed. It only took a minute for the gazing eyes to stop searching, for ears to habituate, and for the horny traffic to dilute the shouts.

Jamal lit another cigarette and scanned the surrounding. He was supposed to meet a former student of his, but the little rascal, he thought, was late, as always. The cigarette neared its end and he silently muttered, “I need a death. I need to write.” A small cockroach crawled out of the newly dug sewer; a domestic disturbance.

Last night the lady he took home told him that she wouldn’t sleep with him unless he shaved his beard. “Shave your beard,” she demanded, without even a shred of seduction. As an unadorned man, who grew a beard out of laziness, he indifferently obliged. He now smiled at the event. He looked down and grazed the shiny red and black tie he had worn; any other man, he thought, would have hesitated and deprived himself of the most beautiful moment he could experience. The girl he took home, she was still in his apartment. He kept her there. “I need a death,” he thought, “I need to write.” The cockroach crawled up the table and quickly crept along its surface, settling on the Jamal’s white paper. The cockroach stood still, giving its side to Jamal.

The little rascal finally arrived. Jamal licked his lower lip and grazed the bottom of his teeth with his rough tobacco-tinged tongue. His lips were hued with wine. The little kid sat in front of him, the cockroach still between them on the paper. Jamal did not move. The little kid did not move. Eyeballs were transfixed in a moment of stillness authored by the exoskeleton of the cockroach. A sudden mood overhauled the invading decadence of the city; the universe was reduced to this deuce-ace scene. A teenager, an adult, and a cockroach.

No more cigarettes. Jamal found himself to have crawled to the lowest form of beggary, in search of nothingness. Deepest abjection manifested itself in a still cockroach and a youth he wanted to kill. This youth, a former student, had come to give him praise. Praise the Lord, the encomium encounter was interrupted by an insect.

“Hello,” Jamal said, not allowing his eyes to deviate from the sacred arthropod, making it seem as if he had begun a conversation with the would-be carcass of reason.

The youth too did not allow his eyes to drift. He did not answer. There was no need to. He felt a tinge of shame at the way this event had begun. His spine tingled because of the transfixed gaze; all the different scenarios he had imagined of this encounter ran through his head, echoed through his ears, but he couldn’t close his eyes.

Last night, as Jamal and the lady slept naked next to each other, she’d come near him as if to kiss him, but she would only smell his after-shave. Her inspiration started at his chin and went up to his ear. And he’d felt a need to write, preceded by a need to experience death.

Last night, words did not matter as much as the thoughts that blew like fierce winds between the streets of Hamra, blowing curtains, exposing damp rooms with wet whores and angry sisters. The thoughts blew through Jamal’s head like savage and ferocious winds without enunciation. Or to put it differently: a wave of thoughts trapped him in its undertow; he found himself unable to speak, unable to distinguish his necessity to write from his necessity to break free from the inspiration of the lady next to him. His ear trembled and cold shivers travelled down the side of his body. He lay in paralysis until the morning when the wind calmed; the bottle of wine beckoned in the absence of a rooster; he wore his tie like a tight noose and went out the door to meet his former student.

“Hello,” this time he said it in his mind. And he imagined his student’s reply.

“Hi,” his student would smile, “it’s been a very long time,” his student would say.

“Yes, six years to be exact,” Jamal would say, “You were younger, I was still fresh.” But no, too bleak. “You were younger, we were both younger.” Realism invades the imagination.

“I’m really glad I’m meeting with you today, I have amazing news to tell,” his student would say, and Jamal’s desire to kill him would grow strong with such a gleeful remark of the obvious.

“I figured so, I’ve heard rumours,” Jamal would say, ruining his student’s surprisal, ruining the crescendo his student had engineered, taking into account the random variables of human action.

“Oh,” the surprise would turn on his student, but the smile would not vanish, it would only lessen. “Then I guess you know, this will be my last summer here,” the student would say with sudden recalcitrance.

Jamal would nod and force a smile.

“I want to express my infinite debt to you,” the student would academically exclaim, but Jamal’s face would shrivel as if faced with a sublimely appalling nightmare. And Jamal would wonder, What happened to him? How did it ever come to this?

“Please don’t say this,” Jamal’s face would metamorphose into that of a therapist threatened with a knife by his patient. The student’s face would also turn rough, waiting for his mentor to continue speaking, perhaps another lesson? But when do we ever learn?

“Don’t look up to me,” fear into the eyes of the therapist. “Just do not. You did not reach where you are by looking up to me, but by doing the complete opposite.” A lesson would formulate: “The problem with our generation was that we looked up to people, and after the people left us or betrayed us, we still followed with still-born idealisms. Don’t be inspired by people. Be inspired by events, by happenings, by acts and performances. Do not follow, participate. Do not stand on the corner and wait. That’s all they do here. They stand still in anticipation, waiting to be given, never giving, never initiating, always following. They wait and then—

Bang.

A waiter smashed the arthropod on the page; its limbs squashed resembling a gob of spit. It became formless on the page and its potential now became multiple: a spider, a cockroach, a caterpillar, a worm, goo…the mixture of all creation from which the universe takes its shape.

Jamal looked at his former student looking at him, realizing just now that they have not yet said a word to each other. He had lost track of time only to realize that now there was no time to lose. He saw the defilement he needed; the waiter granted him his desired death. He grabbed the white paper on which the formless death-rattle held the potential of a new idea, the mark of a painful birth, and went to the see the lady he left sleeping.

With trembling fingers his student turned the page.

by Alia Al Wahab

by Alia Al Wahab

 

Slant

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He sits in his seat, the Indian food sitting wackily and heavily on the top of his stomach, the bladder inflated by the masala chai and the morning coffee still not out of his system. His anus is inflamed. This isn’t nervousness. This is hemorrhoids. This is the shit of past days catching up with him, this is the hours he spent ignoring his bowel movements and their discordance, preferring the stoned writing of books. He sits in his seat and he feels as if he shat himself, but it’s only the phantom limb feeling of a very real and present bruised anus. He closes his eyes. Bowel movements play the wonderful secrets of the body. In amazement he ponders the perplexing amount of time took human beings to dissect and find the wind instruments in our body. Latency of dissection as latent as a deferred shit.

The professor speaks. There is no causal relationship.

The professor speaks. His neck is red from the slim-fit shirt he has tied up to the last button, pressing on his neck which is inflated from a failing thyroid gland. The professor scans the room. There are no windows, only the eyes of the students staring back at him, or looking at coffee cups, open books and copybooks, only one pair of eyes is closed and they’re as good as a window. A professor who prefers to stare out of windows, or if he could, to close his own eyes.

In front of him, shoulder-length black hair adorning the forehead with bangs under which eyes flicker, not flirtatiously, but in a scanning blinking way. Outside, the night is spreading its sheets, but that doesn’t matter; a street light shines brightly. She thinks simultaneously of the before and after which encapsulate the class, and she doesn’t know if its guilt or excitement that is making her flicker.

Before: in bed with her lover whom she loves and loves to live with, and hold tight in chilly nights and share with him the heavy breath of night, fermenting in the air in the dark hours only to be brushed away at the sound of an alarm with a morning fuck and a dry-slowly-dampening kiss. And coffee. And tea. And morning breakfast and co-cooked dinners and films of the sleazy kind, the B-movie kind, the sci-fi, and the car crash-riddled action movies. And forgiveness and affection; and an identity dressing her body with the comfort of olive oil over water. But she blinks.

After: She’ll get on the subway, pretend to read as she ponders and imagines her the sound of her pointy knuckles on the door. Footsteps, soft slipper tapings respond to the knock, opening the door calmly, her hands flash out, extend not around the neck but around the hips, pushing the strangely familiar body back inside and unbuckling the high waist jeans, its color fading and resembling a blue-tinted snow-flaked TV screen. Her foot closes the door.

She blinks before her lover with which she tragically dramatizes her life and after the seasoned body with which she comically dramatizes her life. A tragicomic need for the legitimacy of intimacy by way of its very negation through an oedipal affair.

He doesn’t know shit. She sways to the serpentine song of infidelity. And neither is at fault.

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Le Temps de la Mère

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Christ…He thinks of the abortion he missed, lying wrapped in bloody rags on the floor of a cheap hostelry. He is excited by the thought of his mother in mortal sin, and of a harsher love than he ever knew. How was it possible for her to forgo the delight of hacking God’s fruit from her womb? (That was a chance for religion.) [Nick Land]

Outside. East coast coldness grazes my bare right hand. The sun is setting, switchboard of the night. Darkness begins to highlight 12th street. Key Food, trees, cars, Sweetwolf’s, Red Horse Cafe—all highlighted. I finish my cigarette and fling it over cars. These highlighted streets meet many flings. Inside.

Virtually. Wirelessly. A gust of wind heard from outside which calls. Switchboard of nature. Mother. Be there. Outside. Inside. The stanza, Italian for room. Pieza in Spanish. The piece which is for yourself. The room which is your voice. The womb which is your inner space. And the world of the mother outside. This I learned.

The incidence of lethargy demands a refraction of events, if only to highlight the processes of these events. So this is refraction, not reflection. Naturally, things are skewed. The several agents require some disappointment and some appeasement.

French press, pressing. Neo-liberal policies and the polities of lateness press on my shoulders, stressful pressure. French press, calling; a bit of half-&-half—the tawny tan of coffee, a first sip and the inevitable laxative feel. It is the late afternoon. The sun is setting. This is my first cup of coffee. First hour of my day. It is the last hour of the day. The sun is setting; switchboard a la pineal gland, or it may be a comfortable sinking mattress and my ever-drowning body.

Virtually. Wirelessly. A gust of wind heard outside calls; the voice which enters the stanza, the pieza, the “room of one’s own”. Should I answer and pick up the telephone? I hear and cannot be indifferent. I see and cannot be but subject. Be here. Now. But also, because it’s here now, was there before. Because it’s here now, will be there later. Before. Now. Later. This is chronological. But logically, perhaps cosmologically, it is Now. Before and Later. More coffee-laxative.

Pluck. The scenes of murder. Twitter feed mixed with the affects of loss and the twitter litter of the numerous luxurious dulled many. Pluck. Garbage finally found its recycled medium through binary codes. Swoosh. 140 characters of shit. I flush the toilet.

…And the need for communication with an absent other is already a radical affirmation of the loss of the other. The symptom of the telephone.

The room is also cold. The heaters are off. The floors miss the rug and the rug is not to be found or sought. My left knee shivers. I call it Parkinson.

I thought this virtual, wireless connection was a rebellion against patriarchal God; an affirmation of future motherhood. The voice from afar that disturbs the clergymen. But, the loss and the withdrawal of the maternal is something that the telephone maintains as connection. It erases and suspends the loss acting like a pacifier. The telephone as voice of the future mother of one or two children. And the telephone which performs the disconnection that makes this future impossible. It de-simulated the very loss that it marks. A monument to an irreducible disconnection. The telephonic communication doesn’t allow us to mourn the loss we feel by it.

I try to read. But perhaps I’m hungry. I read the twitter litter, the 140 characters of shit:
Dismal news stories of Israeli war crimes and criminals. Desolate news stories of Palestinians dead and the Frustrating Western propaganda [140 characters]. The masturbatory upheaval of the inner spirit of revolution & the pent-up rage followed by the post-coital feeling of complete helplessness [140 characters].

…and here the pressure of distance lies. The distance which highlights the aging of the potential mother. The potential mother which is made impossible by the distance amplified by the telephone. Sons and lovers kept apart from mothers and mothers-to-be. Mother as land, as Palestine and Homs and Beirut. Mother as woman. Mother as the caretaker of the womb, the tomb and the crypt of all hope and anticipation. Mother, the trigger of revolution. And mother, the Pink Floyd song.

Twins play outside this pieza-stanza-room. There are voices which permeate it, but none of which I heed. What kind of a drug is this virtual wireless telephone? How long can you live without the telephone and the voice at the other end of the line.

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani? [Mark XV:34]. There is no answer. Merely the blank violence of the sun.[Nick Land]

The father cannot answer the telephone. His duty is to cut the umbilical cord.

Lamentations:

“When reality does not coincide with deeply held beliefs, human beings tend to phrase interpretations that force reality within the scope of these beliefs. They devise formulas to repress the unthinkable and to bring it back within the realm of accepted discourse.” Michel-Rolph Trouillot.

Trouillot outlines succinctly what being a reactionary is: desperately clinging to your ideological beliefs to make them re-act to the ever-more estranged reality around you; dealing “with the impossible only after the impossible had become fact”. On the contrary, being active is allowing your ideologies to think themselves through your actions; to think of yourself politically and philosophically as you are ‘taking place’, without demarcating ideological limits on yourself. To act is to be in a continual state of revolution. Thinking the impossible and making it a fact.

Don’t most (aging) Arab Leftists, who flaunt their nostalgia on twitter and Facebook suffer from this gross reactionism, thus disabling themselves from seeing the reality around them, dare I say, as it is? Perhaps it’s an effect of age to submit to the impossibility of the impossible. “Pessimism of the mind (intellect), optimism of the will.” Even Gramsci rings through their ears in reactionary terms. Their mind is old and their will has metamorphosed to the guilt of their past. Their tactical and strategic bellowing is instrumental for their fundamental mode of stasis. Their names now ring the death sound of their crackling jaws. If even Adonis, the poet of the phoenix and eternal return of the new, receded to a reactionary position…they’ve effected the same fate for the Arabic language; controlled for centuries by reductive fanatic clerics and decadent Arabic departments, who choke it, keep it mute and restrained. Instead of striving for the impossible in and through our language (and its unremitting poetics), it has been made to be subordinate to the utilitarian economy of usefulness, homogeneity and positivism. Free our language from your theatre of superiority; it is no coincidence that the self-same aging ‘left’ are the same people who meditate on the dismal state of our language in trite manners. There is no greater abjection than to submit to their ball-ankle word-vomit they call critique, it swells up and reproduces itself like capital in an infinity coterminous with our own dis-solution. Language debates lead us away from the matters at hand, and toward the idea in the head. All is matter! Never Mind! Open up the Quran, it’s not enough to read it. The words on the page mean much more than the words in your mouth; but essentially they testify to the humanity of the words enclosed in the book. There is nothing divine about the Quran. I hope it is understood how this is not blasphemy but an opportunity to save meaning (and non-meaning!) even as it occurs in a wrong inflection. The fate of a revolution is always with its youthful in spirit. Be young in spirit. Become wild at heart.

Typical Brooklyn Night – Redux:

I listened to discordant jazz music as disconcerting thoughts ran through my head. The trumpets blew loudly and the drummer was guilt heard through the throbbing of the heart in the chest. How should I force the thoughts out of my head? And a Cello rolled through the room-stanza-pieza as fine as mahogany can be. Hands played on it with such style, the body and the neck were dancing, wobbling, roaring with a depth of an ocean-graveyard of de-shipped slaves. The subdued erotic voice of a woman reverberated from its hollow body. This was a woman subdued by age and in lament. Midgets wore bat wings and veiled the light, changing its color from a bright yellow to that of a darkened Brooklyn sky. My thoughts hid behind the deep voice of the double bass. I trembled. The disparate notes assaulted my cognition like Israeli warplanes over Gaza. Life on a global level was troubling, and so are the thoughts that accompany it.

Sirens rang outside the room, overpowering the voice of my mother. Sirens and their temptations, mermaids immobile on the street, trapped on the cement. I look at them, still-life like leaves, the beautiful Brooklyn autumn effaces me. I try to help them, but the winds blow down from the sky, complete verticality. It is the time of the sovereign abortion. Acid rain and hurricanes. A mother shall never thank you; she needs not to. Mother’s weather is always temperate. A mother is also always a mother-to-be, to the hope of her sons and through the anticipation of her daughters.

And I understand why mothers feel this way. The call of the umbilical cord is always an emergency call, and it has come. The call of motherhood by the potential mother is directed not to me, but to the one to-be-born. She aborted me to keep what’s sacred safe.

…And this is self-abortion, my kicking inside the room-tomb-womb; everyday is a chance for it. Everyday I await the subway train, underground—its voice comes howling from the dark tunnel. It comes fast and I’m on the edge, its washes over me like a temperamental wave, holding me prisoner in its undertow as I’m still surprised by its speed. An attractive speed that reminds me that I’m not in Beirut, I’m beneath the sea, sous la mer/mère, winded by the umbilical cord that strangles me; and the subway is the reminder of my daily missed encounter if I were to be in be in Beirut. This missed encounter is death, but also a rebirth. This was my future and for now: “The rest is silence.” Bataille

Postscript:

Everything is political. The above signifies the time and weather of the maternal mother. Le Temps de la Mère. The schism of today enacts this and it seems to be the only way: the mother-to-be’s freedom from patriarchy takes this decision to the heart, nobly, masterly, for not wanting or even risking to live as a disappointed slave. Revolution demands to let go of love and lovers, answering the call of future generations. Revolution is inherently maternal. The uprising of women in the Arab world is part and parcel of any uprising wishing for a radical change in the status quo of patriarchy.

“The radical abortion of tragedy and irredeemable waste is Socratically sublimated into the service of the Idea, becoming a police function of theistic sociality, within a political economy of managed sperm.”

“In Nietzsche’s text abortion—in the loose sense Schopenhauer has opened—is both the possible outcome of procreative anarchy and that which characterizes a eugenic regime.” [Nick Land]

“Heterology is restricted to taking up again, consciously and resolutely, this terminal process which up until now has been seen as the abortion and the shame of human thought.” [Georges Bataille]

“O mother
farewell
with a long black shoe
farewell
with Communist Party and a broken stocking. .
with your sagging belly
with your fear of Hitler
with your mouth of bad short stories. . . .
with your belly of strikes and smokestacks
with your chin of Trotsky and the Spanish War
with your voice singing for the decaying overbroken workers. .
with your eyes
with your eyes of Russia
with your eyes of no money. . . .
with your eyes of starving India. . . .
with your eyes of Czechoslovakia attacked by robots. .
with your eyes being led away by policemen to an ambulance
with your eyes with the pancreas removed
with your eyes of appendix operation
with your eyes of abortion
with your eyes of ovaries removed
with your eyes of shock
with your eyes of lobotomy
with your eyes of divorce…” [Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish,” IV]

[post inspired by recent personal events, by the lectures of Avital Ronell at NYU, by the book The Mother in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Elissa Marder, and the ever-inspiring feminists of Lebanon and the Arab world]

Immanent Reflection and Thirsty Meditation

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“…any possible self—or relative isolation—is only ever precipitated as a precarious digression within a general economy, perpetually renegotiated across the scale of energy flows. The relative autonomy of the organism is not an ontological given but a material achievement which—even at its apex—remains quite incommensurable with the notion of an individual soul or personality.” (Nick Land The Thirst For Annihalation, p. 45)

The formless. [Bataille] argues, is not to be found in a sense deriving from “a non-form” or “nothing at all” but in a certain painful and yet fertile effort that we could describe as giving birth, a death rattle-tearing and a cruel suffering…” (Francois-Xavier Gleyzon “Lynch, Bacon and The Formless”)

I cracked the sky with an involuntary yet necessary shudder, and slowly, like water staining paper, the crack expanded. But its presence did not emanate from a centre, but from the ever-expanding boundaries. It is from boundaries that presence begins, not from a centre.

I sat on my chair and I knew that the androgynous creature behind me was staring at the keyhole of my skull, enraged.

“I am androgynous,” it said, “I do not and will not perform part in your reality. You will only perform one in mine. This is the only way, or there will inevitably be a fissure.”

So I nodded and looked away. There is no point in seeing an androgynous. A salient noise is all that is needed to mistake it for the voice of a friend.

A friend?

When I turned, I didn’t find it behind me, it had disappeared. And still, the cracking sky was still expanding, opening up the void into which everything was going to be sucked in; a vertical anti-gravity drainage system. Annihilating, aborting, obtrusively abolishing. De-centred by explosive boundaries. And soon, including everything, spreading from wall to wall, end to end; Ouroboros. Cannibalism without reserve.

I craved without seeking. I closed my eyes to shut down the most distant of senses. I did not want to seek truth anymore, for all that has seemed true turned out to be contingent, at best. I renamed transcendence as discontinuity, and immanence as continuity, but with no revolutionary vigour. This simple inversion I crave with an aversion as intense as God’s longing for Easter or the phoenix’s longing for its own pyre. So I close my eyes, and crave without seeking, simple dreaming, becoming larval again, and even more minute, smaller than an atom, formless energy.

I flowed like a constantly repeated mantra, no end, no beginning; Infinite and out of the labyrinth of vision without and outside of Being. No mediation, the open wound of unconscious primitiveness spilling forth unintelligibly, gushing through like the slit throat of an eleven year old male who was willing to blossom, and yet prematurely violated, ended, opened, cut, annihilated by the sacred monster known as Gilles de Rais. I am him at his utmost moment of ecstasy. The apex of aversion. And it’s joyously horrible.

There is an eventful connection, a mode of communication which no Enochian or lesser language can enunciate. A renunciation of life, this is a bridging which dissolves me and everything else.

But the fangs of time clawed at the drum of my ear; the sands of the hourglass rumbled against each other in ultimate fury. A negligible snap forced me to take an all-too-human form again. I am Saint Theresa with eyes closed at the advent of orgasm, then suddenly coming back to life, dismally.

I beheld the distance of vision like a labourer beholds his tool as a source of discontinuity and recalled Blake: If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.

The androgynous, an Andy Warhol look-alike, appeared in front of me, thin, flat, disgusting.

“I am your friend,” it said with a vile high-noted voice.

“And I am your corpse,” I replied knowing fully well that this is a culminating existential disaster. I have been through this before. The hourglass of time has been flipped.

“This is the way it should be,” it smiled at me with sadistic eyes.

That’s the only way it works.

“In a sense, the world is still, in a fundamental manner, immanence without clear limit (indistinct flowing of being into being, I dream of the unstable presence of waters interior to water)” (Georges Bataille).

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Musing on The Wall and Beyond–Part Two

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In between silent, pillow-subdued sobs, my phone vibrates on the table next to the bed, forcing my incessant mute moans and uncontrollable tears to end. I rub my eyes as if the speaker would see them as I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I answer, letting out an unintentional residual whimper.

“Hi, what’s wrong?” Straight to the point, as he always is, Jihad says with his all-caring, warm, and mellow voice.

“Nothing. Did you eat?” I reply.

“Yes. Did you fast?” The usual question.

“I had to. Can’t risk not to, and too hard to pretend. I might as well do it.” The usual answer.

I can hear music coming from his side, a toney guitar over a soft org.

“Do you want come over? Can you?” He asks, overdubbing the music.

I stay silent, listening to the music, dreaming of a different life, a different world. I look around, the phone still on my ear. I see four barren walls. I look outside the window; I see blasted buildings adorned with bullet holes.

“Yes I’ll be there soon.” I say, letting out a sigh.

“Alright,” Jihad says. I can sense his happiness, which comforts me. “I’ll see you soon, Bye”

I hang up; put the phone in my left pocket, my keys in my right and money in the back pocket. Without saying a word to anyone, I leave the dreadful place I’m forced to call a home, and as I leave, I wipe my feet on the doormat.

Jihad opens the door. I enter and I know that there is no one there except us. His roommate won’t allow him to burn incense sticks whose smoke now permeates through the apartment like a transgressive spirit, breaking every limit and boundary. It is a cosy little apartment, a perfect hideaway, and it serves its purpose well. The toney guitar is still playing and its volume increases as I approach Jihad’s room.

“Whisky.” I order and Jihad obeys gladly, a smile on his face.

I release myself on the bed, breathing in the strong scent of incense. Jihad comes with two tumblers, one in each hand. He has a smirk on his face as he hands me mine.

“To Ramadan,” we idiotically toast away and I take a burning sip, fire travelling through my whole body like a sin, releasing my mouth from the knots of lentil soup, and slowly, I let the music release my ears from the surmounting amplified prayers and anasheed.

Jihad places the tumbler on his mahogany desk, and cuddles himself behind me, clasping me and enfolding me with his arms, smelling my hair, and making me feel self-conscious as his fingers travel my body like lone pilgrims. He draws my body nigh and holds me tighter. I feel his heartbeat pounding on my back, steady and calm.

“Rough day?” he asks, with a low voice, barely heard over the music, even though his mouth is right behind my ear. I barely nod and he understands. “Another fit?” he asks, his left arms now brushing my stomach. I nod again. “You? Or Shadi?” I stay silent, neither nodding nor speaking, trying to stop a tear from cascading. “The twin girls?” he asks, his heart now pounding slightly stronger on my back, which causes me to let go, again. He holds me tighter and tries to comfort me, whispering inaudibly in my ear.

I turn around and hold him weakly, and I close my eyes as my sobs soften and disappear, feeling his breath on my face. I think of myself, lying here with him, being comforted by him, and the top to bottom view of my imagination paints a ludicrous scene which serves as a bathos and I let out a laugh. The tears turn to laughter and it reverberates throughout the room, confusing Jihad, making him smile. A redeeming laughter, conflating tragedy and comedy.

I open my eyes, finish the whisky in the tumbler and pull Jihad towards me. We bath our hair with incense. I lead Jihad through clumsy dancing, and as I do so, I drag him with me to the kitchen, grabbing the bottle of whisky, unstoppering it and pouring myself another glass. I dim the lights and gulp down the smoky whisky.

“Come on Bacchus,” I entice him, drawing him near me, pressing him on my body. And it works, I can feel his mutinous spirit coming alive. I give him a kiss on the neck and he unleashes himself on me. His room, a sepulchre, his bed, a tomb.

He marks my body with kisses and warm breath. As he goes down on me, I latch on to his shirt, undressing him. Shameless, I feel pants drop down to my ankles. I enjoy it and relish it; nothing to admonish me, no one to stop me. Lone pilgrims find their site. He eats a mouthful of me and comes back up, giving me a saline taste. He weighs me down, keeping my body nailed to the bed as he moves above me. The sound of the music slowly fades. I only hear his breath and mine, his body brushing on mine. Blood boils inside me and I burn with feverish warmth, my cheeks redden and my skin sweats. I unbound my arms from the bed and clasp his body to force myself upwards. I force him deeper inside.

An abeyance; a transcendence. Everything becomes still, we’re clasped together, him still inside me, his head resting on my shoulder. Time is lost in this mutinous act. I look out the window. All I see is emptiness, a blank TV screen, no one there, no one outside, nothing to see, nothing to gaze upon; no horizon to aspire to. Just emptiness, purposeless emptiness abiding the worst. And I celebrate it.

The event of abeyance ends, and I can hear the music again. He slows down and our panting becomes normal breathing. This would kill Father, I smile.

All is silent in the house the morning after. I’m in bed; it’s time to wake up to another day of feigned abstinence. But perhaps I will be thankful.

My brother is in his room, sitting upright on the edge of the bed. He looks confused and jaded. His hair is unkempt, strands protruding in every direction, his eyeglasses are skewed as if held together by a loose screw.

I sit next to him on the bed. We both look at the blank white wall. On the white wall we project a similar situation. An escape. We’re young and we’re willing. We’d go away; we won’t look back; we’d burn every bridge. We won’t write back. We will not find time for nostalgia. We will not find time for remembering. Forgetfulness is freedom. We won’t even talk to each other. We’d be alone, free and new; spotless.

The_Walls_og_tears_by_Stefano83

Musing on The Wall and Beyond–Part One

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I stood at the landing, my heart beating viciously in my chest. This was it. I knocked on his door. The door opened ghostly and a humid stench welcomed me before he appeared from behind the door, standing arrogantly, wearing sun glasses and lowering his head to look at me without tinting my image with the shades. Vanity

“She abides,” he says, as if talking to someone hidden inside the house.

“Does the dude abide?” I respond with a Lebowski reference which he does not recognize, but he laughs and that is all that matters. He’s not as much an asshole as he first appears to be.

It’s only midday, but in this time of the year, every second of the day counts as much as every second of the night counts for nocturnal vampires. He motions to me to follow him and I do so. I walk behind him into his room which flaunts a window revealing a view of the big wide sea. Music plays from two speakers, each at opposite ends of the room. A cloistering ambience of musical instruments traps me and I realize immediately that I’m already swept away, as people would phrase it.

I sit on his bed as he decides to change the music from the drum-dominant metal to the guitar oriented folk music. The atmosphere becomes much more soothing. He sits next to me and brings me closer to him. We spend half an hour on the bed, being lovey dovey, but we only do this so that what comes after it seems necessary and belonging to a continuous flow. We kiss and events follow: A tumultuous experience in which the sound of our bodies and the heaviness of our breaths become the ambience; after we’re done, it seems as though the sun shining on the bed, on us, didn’t exist prior to us. We face the dread of our existence in the moment of climax, and slowly the sun starts to set, and it’s time for me to head back home.

It is time. We sit around the dining table; Father, Mother, my two sisters and my brother. I’m the last one to sit down. We all drink a cup of water before having some soup. A family of six sitting around a dining table, eating together; serves as a pretty picture, a generic one nonetheless. A lie.

Almost three minutes after we sit down, the mosque’s amplified prayer ends, allowing the Islamic nasheed on the TV to stand out as the only coherent sound alongside the amusical clatter of the silver cutlery on porcelain plates. The best for the favourite month of Ramadan. I look out the window. Through the little crack between the cramped buildings I imagine that I can see the sea, extending as far as possible, and I travel with it, and I can almost join the setting sun, but my imagination hits a wall, engrossed in the deepest levels of the sea. This vision that fled through the window, through the crack between the closely knit buildings, and across kilometres of land and sea, hits a wall which cloisters imagination and traps me in a living room turned to a dining room.

I can still feel my cunt pulsate as I swallow each gulp of lentil soup.

A light bulb pops above the table, and that is all it takes. It’s dimmer now and suitable for what’s to follow. Father crashes his silver spoon on the porcelain plate, looks at all of us, disappointment on his face, silently blaming us for the current dim light. I keep on sipping lentil soup from the side of the spoon, looking at its brown hue and trying hard not to slurp. Father bangs the table with his two hands, a bit of soup drips from the small bowl onto the under-plate.

“What are you waiting for? Go get a bulb. Now!” Father shouts across the table at Shadi, my brother, who is sitting next to me. I keep on eating. I look at my two twin sisters, sitting across the table from me. They are both frightened, too young to understand what’s going on, why Father is angry. They look at him with eyes not knowing how to hide trepidation, waiting for their undue punishment. And I know that it will come. It will come for all of us.

Shadi comes back. He looks at Father, waiting for his next order.

“What are you looking at me for?” Father speaks, “Go on, climb on your chair and fix it.”

Shadi does as he’s told. He adjusts the chair and ascends. I look at his feet and I push my chair away from the table. This has happened before. The table cloth moves with an instant powerful pull from Father. The tureens, the plates, the forks, the spoons, the glass cups, the bowls and the pans all go sliding towards Father as if he’s a newly formed Sun. They crash on the floor, exploding with a high pitched bang, food spilling and glasses shattering. My sisters let out helpless cries as Father, indifferent to the mess he has done, shouts his way to Shadi, who’s standing on the chair now, not daring to move, trembling, fear running through his veins like a stupefying narcotic. I stand up, my back to Father and motion to Shadi, telling him to get down. Father gets by me and by the time Shadi’s left foot is on the ground, Father manages to grab him and drag him to the room. In the background, the anasheed are still being sung, the daff now giving it rhythm as it bangs bangs bangs.

I go to my sisters and lead them to the balcony, the farthest place possible. I hold them close and tight, both young and feeble, and I try to sing, tightening my whimpering voice as hard as I can. The sky gets darker by the second and the little girls between my arms cling tighter and tighter, as if afraid to fall. Their cries have faded but their hearts still beat very fast. I can hear the distant cry of my brother, his screeching nasal voice being forced to bellow in the room, behind a closed door.

My sisters calm down and I allow myself to go to the living room again. The door of the room is still closed, but no sounds emanate from behind it. I pick up the shards of porcelain on the ground, worrying about the stains later. Moments after, my sisters come and help me. I tell them to be careful as they pick broken glass and porcelain.

I am in the living room, picking up the last of the pans and tureens from the floor when the door opens. Father emerges like a rapist who knows no wrong nor right. He walks towards the living room, but doesn’t speak. I avoid his face and ignore his ginormous presence. He sits on the couch and I feel him watch me and form the tip of my eye I see red eyes that would crave nothing more than for me to falter. But I do not. I clean everything up, and when all is clean, when the table is back in its place and the living becomes a living room again, I go to Mother unawares and snatch the empty plate from her oblivious zombie-like hand, and as if that was its cue, the mosque begins the evening prayer.

I crash on the bed. The taste of the lentil still on my tongue; it dominates my mouth and makes me crave for more food. I stuff my head in the pillow to try to stop myself from crying, but there’s no use. I let go and submit to the tears in my eyes and my imminent fall.

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Twenty-Ten

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The following will never be an adequate account or survey of what happened.

Dionysus’s beard is growing, and be prepared to suddenly see it gone soon.

Undoubtedly, a year of profound inquiry. knowledge and learning, from university courses to personal inquisitive tasks, from reading about and critiquing texts ranging from faeces, piss and semen to Christ and God—you don’t get more wide-ranging than that. 2010 is a year best described as a “penultimate” year before all the big shit happens, and as is usual with the penultimate-anything, it is as consequential as much as the sperm which infiltrates the egg. So nine months from now, next September, we’ll see if correct decisions were made (this means that if the result turns out to be feminine, decisions were wrong. No one would want a female demigod).

Dionysus has learned (again, and hopefully once and for all) that the things we desire are always fleeting, always out of hand, and we purposefully place them out of reach. So, let’s eliminate what we desire. Let’s just focus on what we need. But at the same time, resist a pragmatic Realpolitik approach to getting what we need. If anything, let’s be Kantian, delusional and happy and stringent. Or preferably, nihilists. (Cross Reference: The Big Lebowski).

The year of deception and cuckoldry, from literary medieval cuckoldry to real life cuckoldry, and that’s breaking news for many, the kind you’d expect from WikiLeaks. Never trust the people you meet, not even when they’re drunk. Everyone is out there to seek his wanted end, which will never be you or any other person. So thank you, Sophie, you wise cunning cunt, you validated me and defined me as a perfect thing. I know about it but be not afraid. Dionysus is always too intoxicated to hate.

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People are formless, much like a Francis Bacon painting.

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This unfortunate and overwhelming experience has made me realize how ill-informed our decisions can be, how adverse some people’s situations can be, how they can hold you in such high regard as to make you their means of escape (which isn’t such a bad thing to be a means to, even though, at some point you will be abandoned), but then you (meaning me, I, the me-that-exists) ignorantly and selfishly choke and kill. And for that I’m apologetic. I apologize for all the scathing remarks which were only childishly witty feeding an ego with no limits–but nevertheless, stay away, I can’t handle you (you infinite she-of-absence and thunderous presence which is still absence. You were always absent. I never could hold you at will).

Bacchus is laughing. Too bad he doesn’t know he’s a knock-off of a Greek God, the ultimate Dionysus, God of excess and intoxication. Dionysus is on mount Olympus, evading rain drops in his all deceiving and immaterial dance, he laughs around the mountain (because he thinks he’s Zarathustra), but then stumbles upon a fixed monolithic statue which makes him weep dry tears which turn his grapes to foul raisins which twist his tongue and make him stutter horribly.

Witnessing his momentary laughter and dancing, spoiled brats dubbed Dionysus the new Lady Gaga, causing him more distress and agony. Even Rasputin was disturbed.

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Beneath that mountain which overlooks everything and nothing, everyone and no one, there’s a girl unfairly called Zulfiqar with her locks of black. She plays a violin like the gypsy of The Red Violin and she meets all kinds of men as she entrances them with her wonderful instrument. It’s a shame she’s only a master at playing and not a master at wooing. Soon enough, she’s outplayed, quite maliciously and the master becomes the slave. And her all-time cousin is envious of her playful ability for the simple fact that she has no ability except a neigh which disturbs and casts away.

Dionysus is the corpse-like confidant. Dionysus’s wine is only drunk when needed. Dionysus’s wine is never wanted. Dionysus is the God that is used and thrown away.

The sheep that needs care and which demands wanton attention is dreadfully burdensome. Answers to impossible questions force a sigh. Need I say more?

Socially noteworthy is the Michael Jackson (MJ) pandemic. Everyone likes MJ. Everyone wants MJ. MJ is the new thing; wanted in all forms. MJ, our new form of decaf coffee; our new form of reality TV, reality given virtually; warfare with no casualties; safe sex; chocolate laxative. Notice the pattern: things consumed excessively, but these things lack the substance which once defined them. The opium without opium. Zizek would say, “Today’s hedonism combines pleasure with constraint – it is no longer the old notion of the “right measure” between pleasure and constraint, but a kind of pseudo-Hegelian immediate coincidence of the opposites: action and reaction should coincide, the very thing which causes damage should already be the medicine.” But isn’t that very esoteric and unintelligible?

Should I mention sleeping? Photography? Sexual confusion?

You can watch what might be one of the best film scenes of this year here.

All shall fade. All shall fade. Because of this:

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Followed by this:

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On the other end of the sea, a blossoming flower finds it hard to cope with the cold English weather, but sap boils when the need arises. This is the way of the world. Only the people who adapt will survive. Check it out here.

The wine is dried up, and Dionysus enters the New Year weeping, heart ablaze and sleep deprived. Dionysus enters depleted and hurt and disgusted, on the verge of vomiting. [Vomiting is just another form of excess.]

2011 will be worse, which is a real incentive to live it. The countdown is at six.

Now, let’s watch the weather change.

Uncanny Vision of the eYe

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My eye has been foraged by hungry octopus tentacles, their head is a heavy purse jingling as it approaches me, naked for my eye to see and shutter in utter horror. I walk into my mother’s bedroom to tell her about my pain. She looks away as soon as I enter. My eye, blood red, itches. An executioner sits behind my mother, smiling and laughing behind his hooded mask. His sword lying sharply on the bed, and the octopus tentacles with  a purse for a head is in the distance, approaching ominously, promising a tragedy.

Give me an arrow or a balloon. I’m desperate. Give me a bullet without a gun, a gun without a bullet. Give me hands and feet. Give me a body. Show me a mirror. Build a wall. Grant me a word.

I itch my eye and it bleeds. Vision is partly impaired by the smear of blood on the retina. My mom wears fur and the executioner teases her with his sharp sword, causing scratches not deep enough to make her bleed. But the fur cladding her skin becomes bloody with pongy vermillion liquid, soaked and heavy around her. I can see her drowning expression, but I can only hear the executioner’s laughter, steady and monotonous, timeless, an ever repeating still-image in the cerebrum of my mind.

I feel worms crawling inside my mind. My temples, my forehead. Veins tickle me and shiver as if they’re going to pop after the next shudder. Blood is circulating heavily, pumped by an out-of-control muscle.

Mother, just get up and stop. But she just coughs nonstop, black carbon exuding from her smoky mouth. The executioner laughs.

Motherfucker!

The octopus is near, just out the window, floating on the mist of my imagination. Yellow octopus with rainbow-coloured tentacles, promising to pull and suck my eye which leaks blood like a tissue torn out of the body, cut obliquely by a butcher.

Suck it!

The executioner holds his sharp sword in his long flat hands, and strikes the floating octopus. My eye tightens on whatever nerves it is still connected to. I move. The executioner is laughing as he cuts off another tentacle.

My mother screams, NO, stay away, he is not to blame. He is not here for you. He is here for me.

Motherfucker.

I reach out for the liberating tentacle of the yellow octopus which holds on to my eye and savours blood and goo. The executioner’s timeless laugh stops and a bell tolls. The sword swings and cuts off the dangling sucking tentacle coming out of huge purses.

Piss discharges from the lacking-purse.  The bed becomes a pool of slimy liquid which absorbs my mother and the now-silent executioner downwards. The tentacle stuck on my eye falls in the pool and takes my eye along with it. My mother holds it and uses it to close her maternal laceration which bleeds. My eye gets stuck straight in the hole and I see through it, through the dark es-sense of my mother.

Mother fucker. Knowledge is made for cutting.

I grab the sharp sword and swing it across above the pool. A head catapults and I hear the laughter of the executioner as he drowns in the pool of slime with the decapitated head of my mother, closed by my all-seeing transcendental eYe.

Give_in_Blue_ringed_octopus_by_Jointless

Whisky From A Wine Glass

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The whisky is smoky inside the dusty tumbler glass. It keeps me from waking up.

She wraps herself with the bed sheets, but she is not a prize.

The whisky needs more respect from me. I promise myself and I promise it that I’ll drink it from a wine glass. Maybe we could drink it together sometime, and with us, angels and hairy Scotsmen.

Yes, I’d like that. Wouldn’t you? We’d cling our hands like newly-weds and drink whisky from the wine glass. We’d cringe at our first sip. We’d drink it without ice so the aroma won’t wane and the taste won’t fade. We’d give each other a kiss after the first sip. And then another before the second.

I’ll stop loving you after we finish the bottle. I’ll stop loving you; it’s as simple as that. I’ll stop loving you like someone simply decides to stop practicing.

It’s always this simple. I’ll drink the second bottle by myself from a tumbler.

The next day you’ll bring two bottles when you come over. You come over because I ask you to. You don’t hesitate because you want to. I manipulate your will because I know that I can.

We drink whisky in wine glasses because we can and we’re free. We sip slowly all night long, making a profession out of our drinking. We sip slowly sitting poles apart on the table, looking at each other, with each sip, our gaze becoming less severe, and our eyelids giving up to the temptation of giving in. But I know that I already have you in my clutch.

I’ll tell you to leave at the penultimate point. I’ll leave you hollow outside in the dry air while I fix the green hat on my head like a horn of humility.

The truth hurts. I know it all. I can decide to stop loving you. It’s as simple as that. You should’ve let me know from the beginning that you’ve broken your promise.

I’ll forget you. I’ll give you what you never wanted, but what you set in motion. I’ll forget you, and all my ships won’t set sail to you, and all my mantras will have no mention of you, and all my thoughts will be free from your tainted image. I will not allow you to give me any scars. I’ll drink whisky from a tumbler again.

I can decide to stop loving you. It’s as simple as that: love, a decision, a practice, not a feeling. You cold breath of ice. You rid the whisky of its taste and odour. Whisky turns into wine in your mouth and angels break their halos.

You’re manipulated. I manipulate. You’re swayed. I sway. Above all, while you allow your emotions to puppeteer your decisions, my decisions control my emotions. You break promises because you know no other way but to be meek and fickle in front of the capricious blowing of the wind. I keep them. I can decide to love you and decide to stop loving you. Your decision is not in your hands. You’re a female—at best. Your mouth, a glass of wine and from it the vapours of wounded pride, fallen hope and baffled desire rise.

You desire. I decide.

Unwrap yourself and come to me, naked, hiding nothing, and I’ll please you like you want me to. Let me respect my whisky. I’ve decided and now I can wake up.

Solidarity of a Broken Temple

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The music filled the humid air beneath us; sweat drizzled down our forehead itching our brows, but we didn’t care. We stood next to each other, building our temple, one brick at a time towards heaven. The sun glared as a foe in contempt; the ladders cracked beneath our feet like traitors; the water drops dried like unfaithful believers. But we persevered and kept on building.

Then a God stepped down from his divine throne as He felt a strange jab in his heart. The god sensed an uncanny threat from our strong solidarity. Could this be love? The God was unsettled by this relationship which did not include his divine presence. How can a relationship without God exist so smoothly without troubles? Thus did God say his word to break all words into multiples, to condemn all tongues with difference, and to differ all meaning infinitely. Voila, differance!

We were laying brick over brick, smiling incessantly and proudly, and not giving a divine damn. But all of that was broken when suddenly our mouths were of no use. The sounds we did immediately became foreign, and phonetically, we were strangers. Perplexed and astounded, I looked at the person next to me, the tongue made us complete strangers. Communication was suddenly broken and a schism occurred.

The God of the immutable order smiled.

I talked, but the other could not understand; the other misunderstood me as if a different structure had been encrypted in the fragile mind, and I the same. So we came down from the incomplete temple, not knowing what to say to each other, but with hearts filled with contempt. Even our eyes were mute. We suddenly became complete strangers, unable to look at each other in an understanding look of regret.

Autumn came and autumn was all around and so were clear skies and afternoons. But we became more distant as the silence between us grew. And cold silence stayed true to its purpose: it atrophied any sense of compassion between us.

Every hour became still; every hour was the hour of departure.

But sometimes, I would remember good bright days. Remembrance would be a sort of meeting, and I would remember every detail, every joke and every lesson; every word and every sigh; every sorrow and every joy. Yet on the penultimate point, I would also remember the moment when the schism happened; when my tongue strayed to the right without reaching a common point of understanding. Different tongues, different languages gave us different common sense. Different common sense gave us different perspectives, and different perspectives gave us different realities.

At that point, forgetfulness acted as a form of freedom, and every unintended memory was bitter, even if it was the sweetest.

So I pleaded to the divine god who set us upon our fate: “Merciful as thou art, let me die at the right time. The right time, be it now, for I have lived at the right time, found happiness and joy, but now, the time is the time to die.”

And as the God heard my calling, he gladly heeded my call for help. My god felt needed and aptly responded in kind.

In the final hour, I went to my old friend, looked in the eyes facing me and saw that the eyes were too cruel for me to look at. Suddenly, our incomplete tower toppled over and everything in front of us was covered topsy-turvy with dust. When the dust cleared, I looked at my old friend and finally, we understood each other’s gazes. The gazes uttered a truth which can only be spoken in the silence which belongs to the ambiguity of existence:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature.”

We relished the mutual silent understanding and defeated cold silence.

Finally. Welcome Little Death.