fbpx

Fiction and Drama

In Thrall

In Thrall

How can we get closer to the wounded belly of the world?

Choose your own birth adventure: either you come out of a dark vagina or an iridescent anus. Taking over for Spinoza, the receding figure who is always with us, Kafka laughs at the childishness of a second creation story. In his work, the animal speaks while the human is, ultimately, struck dumb by anal bureaucracies of his own making. Legal fictions estrange humans from each other and create, in the most sensitive souls, fissures that never heal.

Mammals

Mammals

Just clench that pelvic floor

She called all the local doulas and hired me because I was cheapest. I still wasn’t sure whether this was a pastime or calling or business or what, but I was leaning toward pastime/calling, as I had neither the desire nor the bandwidth to hustle in this realm. So I asked for the tiniest of honorariums. 

My fellow doulas got wind of this and read me the riot act, because I was undermining the whole community. We all had to charge within the same ballpark. No one cared whether this was my calling or pastime or what; just please charge the standard goddamn rate. I apologized. I hadn’t wanted money to be a thing, but money is always a thing.

Vale

Vale

What he’d like is to not be a burden

The worst thing about being alone is that you have to talk to strangers, and that’s awkward. He was bullied as a boy for saying funny things at the wrong time. Even his sisters used to say he had an odd manner of speaking, but there’s nothing he can do about that. What’s he supposed to do, not speak?

Circle of Visibility

Circle of Visibility

The familiar shadow of American self-realization

What is the remedy for dropping a bomb on fellow human beings, allowing their homes and the homes of their neighbors to burn to the ground, shooting at those trying to escape the fire, giving near life sentences to the survivors, and then, covertly, keeping the bones of those who died in the attack as trophies? What is the remedy for the creation and maintenance of the carceral state?

Horse Soup

Horse Soup

“This is na-a-a-a-o!”

It was 1982. Brezhnev died. Ready also died, after eating rat poison. Olya started her senior year at the Institute and bought herself a violin made by the German master Schneider for 1,600 rubles, telling her poor parents that a girlfriend who’d dropped out of school and married a Georgian had given it to her. She continued to meet Burmistrov at the same apartment. She was so used to Horse Soup’s screaming that she no longer paid any attention to it, focusing only on the food in front of her. 

Compensation

Compensation

Your emotional income report

Or perhaps the joy lay in the way they loosened the world, suggesting that nothing was really so important. Lions and bears were insulting each other on the playground — and still, she was carrying this weight? The weight of the husband? Of the shag carpet?

The Groups

The Groups

Name one way you have resisted youth-culture hegemony?

Other groups went in for home arts but in more artisanal directions than the folk crafts women, with steampunk-looking excursions in beakers, copper stills, and bell jars, making hand-cultured vinegars and ciders but also shrubs, wassails, tonics, and bitters, which could be used to cure colds and doubled as craft cocktail ingredients. A further subset of these had a religious bent, albeit Wiccan and New Agey, with bespoke homespun potions, poultices, and other herbal remediations for illnesses, as well as plasters and pastes made from grinding seeds and oils by hand with a mortar.

The Sexual Translator

The Sexual Translator

“I want to borrow your embodiment.”

Most books, he discovered, were about sex, whether or not the author knew it. The translator’s job was to uncover what the original author could not divine. I befriended the translator late in his life, approximately ten years before his death. His funeral I didn’t attend, because I took pleasure in inverting the social rules—just as I had violated the rules by befriending this august personage in the first place.

Rumble in the Jungle

Rumble in the Jungle

“Google it! Google ‘hedonic treadmill.’”

At the same time, I can tell that something big is about to take place. Something extraordinary. If Ralf manages to beat Sune while Sune’s playing full out, it’ll be a gift to the three of us present to witness it. It’ll be a tribute to what human beings can achieve when they’re at their greatest and best. The boys must feel that way too. They’ve come to love Ralf, as I now have. And that’s why Sune is playing as hard as he can. Only then can Ralf show us what a human being can be.