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Articles tagged "Christianity"

The Guest

She has become more like her grandmother than her mother, Hend thinks to herself. She remembered how she used to squirm in her grandmother’s lap, an angry child with a bare bottom. She was hard to keep up with as a child, light and thin, teething and crawling and speaking well before any of her brothers did. She proved that she was a creature capable of surviving and flourishing on the barest necessities of life. Her mother often left her to her own devices. She would crawl up the...

from “Thirty Nights in Amsterdam”

[The narrator, Zan (Susan), is the daughter of MaOlivier de Melker, a prominent citizen of Graaff Reinet, a small conservative South African town. Also living with them is Henkie, the young son of Zan’s farmer brother. Zan is prone to epileptic fits; she is also, as a form of resistance to the conformity around her, publicly promiscuous.] “A bicycle, a bike,” I nag at MaOlivier, and she has to phone around, first my old Snoozebrother on the farm, then the husband of...

from “the workers’ apocalypse”

               God is our cleaning woman                                         Adília Lopes                  for nélio paulo at...

Then

Then with her hands she’d crown her son’s head, then with her arms she’d embrace him,      then with her fingers she’d pluck out his eyes, then with her teeth she’d gnaw his liver, then with motherly claws    she’d shred his memories, then with her nipples she’d nourish him on the milk of hatred, then with her tongue, she’d insist, Lord, Lord, I’m only doing this for love, because...

Suppositions

what would the savior have looked like grown old? would he still have lent his severe, nostalgic face to the builders of churches to the arrogant destroyers in quest of myths or guilty would he have healed his own joints letting the water remain water while the blind fumbled along their way? would he have given his last son to doubt or in the evening laying his head on Magdalene’s knees would he have seen the earth as round spinning on her index finger? Translation...

Three Times Germany

Three Times Germany is an audio production of twenty-three monologues performed by eight actors. The monologues are based on interviews of East Germans, West Germans, and Germans living in New York. Retracing his own life journey from East Germany to West Germany in 1974 and on to New York in 1980, Uwe Mengel interviewed Germans who crossed his path along the way. The resulting monologues offer an unusual and often disconcerting view into the prejudices and reservations with which Germans...

An Odd Story

I glanced at the wreath against the tombstone and was amazed to read my own name on it: TO MY SECOND MOTHER—FROM KAREL HRABĚ. In our family there had never been anybody by that name. My father, Abraham Grafi, was the owner of a fairly respectable fabric store located on the oblong main square of a district town near Moravská Ostrava. There my mother, Sarah, spent her days in the cashier's booth. Every crown of the daily gross sales passed through her short...

Read Out Sunday

This is how Sue gave her life to God and got back her virginity. That Sunday was church as usual. The same women as always in Jesus hats, their hands raised and their eyes squeezed so tightly shut as if by sheer willpower they were going to transfigure themselves out of Satan's clutches and into the arms of the Saviour. These were the kinds of women whose lives were in constant peril—always having to spin themselves out of the reach of demons, always walking with a bottle of...

The Grammar of Easter (You Don’t Say That in English)

The rate at which Christian festivals were upstaging the local, traditional ones was accelerating. To the older generation, who professed the traditional religious faith, the rapid transformation was simply stupefying. To the middle-aged, younger generation, the educated elite, the change was a welcome miracle, an evangelical achievement, the rewards of which they hoped to reap in paradise. They returned to their small villages in full Christian fervor and forced their parents to renounce...

Learning Cyrillic

1. I leave the church at nine sharp. Outside it is a clear, winter night, the church steps are slippery, the cold air slices my breath. I move slowly; I grab for the frozen shrubbery. Next time, I say to myself, wear high-topped shoes. Then I spot the Indian. He is standing by a round traffic sign. He has on a leather jacket with long fringes, and he is wearing boots decorated with Indian symbols. As I am walking by him, I see his eyes are closed. "Hey," says the Indian, "what's the...

from “Senselessness”

ONE I am not complete in the mind, said the sentence I highlighted with the yellow marker and even copied into my personal notebook, because this wasn't just any old sentence, much less some wisecrack, not by any means, but rather the sentence that stunned me most of all the sentences I read that first day on the job, the sentence that left me dumbfounded during that, my first incursion into those one thousand one hundred almost single-spaced printed pages placed on what would be my...

from Shaba Deux: Les Carnets de Mère Marie-Gertrude

Sister Marie-Gertrude is the only black nun from Kolwezi in a French-run Franciscan convent in Zaire (now once again the Democratic Republic of Congo). The time period is that of the May 1978 uprisings in Shaba after independence. The slender novel consists of entries in her journal dated from 28 May to 29 June during a particularly violent period in the region that closely resembles the beginnings of a civil war. Although the setting and the existence of numerous convents and monasteries...

from The Other Man

For the Welsh original, please click here. Davies, Anna, and Daniel have been as close as three people can be. But now Davies is dead in a car crash, and the two that are left must "take on the case": Davies' life, their own lives, and the whole of their shared past. Who, and what, was Davies? Did they know him at all? And why is he still, even now, hiding from them? In this extract, from chapter 7, Daniel recounts a story told to him by Davies. Through the details and ambiguities...

The Sorrow of Columbkill

Adomnan writes that Saint Columba of Iona, still known as Columbkill, Columbkill the Wolf, of the tribe of the O'Neill of the North through his grandfather, Niall of the Nine Hostages, was a brutal man when he was young. He had a fierce love of God, war, and small, precious objects. A man of the sword, he spent his youth in a bronze cradle. He served under Diarmait and under God: Diarmait, king of Tara, who relied on his sword during his raids in the sea of Ireland, for the pillaging...

The Water Cathedral

On sunny mornings the walls are white wine, the columns are ginger ale, the towers are immense bottles of beer, the high steeples drip amber. Down in the naves you feel the freshness of orange-water and the main altar is a wave of bee honey, and the saints in the chapels have the coolness of that tea they give to the sick. But in the afternoons, in the twilight hour, the walls turn into thick blood, the colonnade moves on legs of red wine, the towers are that false liquid of red-hot...

Last Rites

The maid whispers, "It's Sixto, he wants to know if you can come out to see his boss, says the poor old woman won't last until morning." I listen to the news with a feigned serenity, the languidness of one who knows too well that death comes to each of us in time, while holding back the cry of HALLELUJAH that jumps to the back of my throat and stifling the joyful itch in my sex, in my prominent belly, resisting the war drums that echo in my temples which have gone gray with years...

Carnival Life

This was Carnival! Four long days of festivities during which they would lay all of their womanly woes, all of their motherly cares, at the feet of King Carnival. They'd show the world they hadn't been beaten, not yet . . . Four days of dancing, singing, and shouting out life. Swept along on the beat of the tambour-ka that echoed so loudly within them. Stirred their blood. Silenced the fatigue. Dancing. Singing. Dancing . . . Singing . . . Never tiring . . . This was Carnival!...

A Meal in This World

Although Mother survived a crisis and is home from the hospital she's not the same-her mind is hazy. How can I express my sorrow when she insists our guests in black suits are detectives from the KCIA or another branch of intelligence come to arrest my brother, or when she strikes matches in the living room to start a fire in the kitchen? Now she even forgets to call to God, the very God before whom she knelt at dawn and prayed on the cold floor of the church when I was...

Shreds

I was born in Surinam in the district of Commewijne. Some of the plantations in that fertile, once-wealthy district had meaningful names: Mon Souci, Mon Trésor, Peace and Delight, Mutual Care. I come from Spite and Remorse. Most of the plantations no longer exist. Abandoned by their inhabitants, the buildings collapsed. Sluices silted up and fields became swamps and breeding grounds for caiman. The trading stations fell prey to parasites, weeds and choking liana. Slowly, the...

No One Dies, Life Only Changes

Note: This piece was originally written in Náhuatl. We only change the way we live.... Thus it is explained in the tale of the experience of two people who lived through the following revelation. "When the town was much smaller and had no electricity, the town was calmer and more tranquil. The people knew each other well and respected each other. There were very few people who walked about at night. People used to go to bed very early; pero... there were always those who went...

from African Psycho

I I have decided to kill Germaine on December 29. I have been thinking about this for weeks—whatever one may say about it, killing someone requires both psychological and logistical preparation. I believe I have now reached the necessary state of mind, even if I have yet to choose the means with which I will do the deed. It is now a question of detail. I'd rather give myself a bit of latitude on this practical point, and in so doing add a measure of improvisation to my...

The Devil in the Decanter

In the noble city of Burgfarrubach, a small, malicious spirit had been playing a curious prank for quite some time. Whenever a priest was called in to expel him from the house he was turning topsy-turvy, he would dupe the exorcist by fleeing the premises before his exorcism was complete. And no sooner was he in a new location when another priest would arrive with benedictions, maledictions, and conjurations, then—poof!—he played the same trick. So it was that no one had ever...

The Oracles of the Virgin

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.--Oscar Wilde Buried inside us were the sounds of the words our parents managed to utter in the moment of intercourse before they fell silent at the wonder of budding life. Buried inside us were the sounds of the songs we heard in the cradle before our mothers had forgotten the oracles of the Virgin. Buried inside us were the sounds of the grinding of bones that blossomed as the...

from Picture, Icon, Old Testament

The story began for me when I fled a family marriage arranged by my mother's brother. In rebellion, I accepted a post in a forgotten village at the city's far perimeter. But my troubled conscience, and the longing I felt for my artist uncle, yielded the uneasy feeling that I must hold myself responsible for his sorrows, his disappointment and his pleas. He had invested all his hopes in me, having seen my attentiveness-mouth hanging open-to his projections and sketches and his...
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