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Articles tagged "Prostitution"

Free!

“I’m free!” Scarlet shouted, waving a letter at me. She was down in the street, holding onto her rolled-up pant legs, knee-deep in floodwater. From where I stood on the balcony, I could see her craning her slender neck upward, looking rather like a small flamingo about to take flight. “My mom’s dead! I don’t have to do it anymore! I’m free!” It was early summer, 1989. It had been raining for seven days straight and builders’ rubble had...

Don’t Do It

He left his car in the parking lot of the hospital complex. It had all been under construction for years. Around him were unfinished buildings with display windows still protected by tape beside other old, dusty ones, with air conditioning units hanging off them like enormous ticks. Amid the buildings were pre-fab sheds, cranes, fenced-in areas all around, but he knew his route well. He passed a row of oleanders that had been relegated to no-man’s-land, and he emerged in an open...

from “At the Borders of Thirst”

Fito looked at his watch. Ten to seven, he’d be on time for his appointment. The jeep’s headlights shiftily lit up the tortured trunks of the neems bordering Route 1. Traffic was fluid and the car was going fast. A sudden, liberating transition from the traffic jams that had held him up for almost an hour, all the way to the Bon Repos exit. Fito was a bit cold but he didn’t turn down the A/C. He was letting his blood cool down. In a moment he would be sweating out every...

From the Archives: Poetry, Sex, and Rap

April is National Poetry Month, and our theme this month is sex, so we're going back to our November 2005 South Korean issue for a tale that fits both: Lee Gi-ho's "Earnie." The story of a young prostitute with a booming voice who escapes via a fortuitous encounter with a music impresario, it appears in two renditions: the text, translated by Yu Young-nan, and a rap version penned by rapper Kyle Myhre, better known as El Guante. Poetry and sex, and a salute to translation as well,...

Mukhtar

When my mother asked me to spend the summer in her brothers’ house in the south, I employed every sophistry of my sixteen years—an age when only a mother pays attention to your budding philosophy of life—to explain to her that life forces surge northward, that the south, from which she and my father came, was becoming obsolete, that Ibn Khaldun (who had inspired this claim) was a great man, that the money could be better spent on a vacation, and that her brothers were...

Moving Like Geckos

I study him while he smokes, lying back, arm behind his head. I watch him release the smoke, breathe it back in and out, thinner now. He’s focused on something in the room but I can’t tell what, maybe my family photos—my mother, my father, the twins—or maybe the cubist still-life painting Donatella gave me. Or maybe he’s not looking at anything at all, just as high as his eyes can reach in this room that’s only twenty meters square. I study him, study...

Of Fists and Rubs

There was quite a crush of people at the polling station, as if it was the premier of some movie. A long line stretched out to infinity. Five years ago, too, we’d formed such endless lines, as if we’d come to buy cheap grain, not cast a vote. Wisps of hope flitted across our faces: regardless of how long the lines, our turn was bound to come sometime. And then you just watch, we’ll be raking in piles and piles of money. He’s our trusted man; the reins of good...

from “Proud Beggars”

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Albert Cossery and Golo slouch through a seedy Cairo

Albert Cossery's 1955 masterpiece, Proud Beggars, takes place in the squalid slums of Cairo. While some residents struggle with oppression, poverty, and corruption, others renounce the hypocrisy of society and embrace their freedom from the material world. Characters include the former university professor Gohar, who has thrown over his previous life to work as a bookkeeper at the brothel; his drug dealer and fellow "proud beggar," Yeghen; the melodramatic revolutionary El Kordi; his...

White Christmas

It was the night before Christmas Eve. The clock had just struck midnight, and a thick blanket of damp air hung over Villaggio Coppola. The towering cement buildings, crowded as beehives, were barely visible, and the murmur of the sea reigned over an otherwise tomblike silence. But every so often, the pop of a firecracker or the roar of an engine broke the calm in the streets. The schoolteacher Antonio Castrese, leaning against the windowpane, concluded that this was no longer a...

Sebastiano

I'm fifty-nine years old. I live in the country, in a locality pretty far removed from the places where the destinies of people living in this era are decided. I work as a writer in a peripheral language. (Spoken by around sixty million people, or about one person out of a hundred in the entire world. I have a garden with a few fruit trees and a lot of rose bushes. I have two dogs, a cat, and a porcupine. I was married and now I'm not anymore, but my solitude is crowded with...

Morning Cloud, Evening Rain

A dream is not a dream A butterfly not a butterfly In the cloud, a pining spirit A myth in the dream's red chamber It's dawn. Our cruise ship has passed the roaring Qutang Gorge and entered Wushan on the Yangtze. The deck is finally empty after an all-night party of drinking and gambling. I sneak past the sleeping guard to do yoga on the area reserved for the first-class passengers. When I look up from a back bending, she appears before me like an apparition, her slender...

from The Ascetic and The Courtesan

A Play in Four Acts *** Author's Note: Tapasvi o Tarangini (The Ascetic and The Courtesan) was published in five consecutive issues of the magazine Desh in 1966, after which it was published as a book with minor changes and additions. On its publication, a number of readers of Desh had written to me objecting to the dating of the legend. According to them, the myth of Rishyasringa was of the 'tretayuga' (the Third Age1), while that of Satyavati, Kunti, and Draupadi...

from Seven

Time: 2004 Place: In a corner of West Kowloon Characters: Voice - the "inner voice" of various main characters Tze Seun Wong - real estate agent, about 50 yrs old, deals mainly with old run-down Chinese-style buildings Cindy - an extremely intelligent 28 yr-old young lady, with a mature sensuousness Jason - a college student, just turned 19, innocent with a sunny disposition Plus a small ensemble cast of ten which includes the roles of Owner, Prostitute, Colleague, Daughter, Garbage Lady...

Earnie

For the rap version of this story, click here. 1 She's here, she's here. Here at the office to see us. The Big Dog, her manager, comes, too. Comes in a bomb-ass Chrysler, his lackeys tag along. She's here, back at our PR club. Back after six months to erase herself. The new girls are all excited, 'cause this singer shows up. All crazy with excitement. They shout. Get all worked up. But she doesn't budge. She sits stiff behind the tinted glass inside the fuckin'...

Earnie

This narrative poem is an adaptation of the rap by "El Guante," Kyle Myhre. Read the prose translation here. she was never here the man shouts as he moves about through the office and I cant make a move or else cause Id be uncool gotta stay firm and frozen no emotion feelins toward her is hopeless his words are potent, kicks dont stop at all my girls on the floor rolled up like soccerballs you know what happens when you go around talking shit better behave, the man yells as he...

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