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Articles tagged "Violence"

Paranoid City

“Did you hear that noise?” the woman whispered, leaning on one elbow in bed, and opening her eyes wide. “What noise?” her husband asked sleepily. “It sounds like it’s coming from the yard. There’s someone on the roof, or in the kitchen,” she said fearfully. “Get up. Go check on the kids, while I get my pistol,” he ordered in a hushed voice and woke up entirely. While the woman quickly tiptoed to the children’s room the...

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...

Harpooned Woman

 Two lonelinesses that sometimes came together to feed the ego of destruction. –Marilin Roque   Upon a bed of frustrations, bed of lost hopes, a ghost ship bed, suddenly too wide, too deep, too chimerical, I watch the smoke of our cigarettes fade in the air, watch the puffs of smoke float and dissipate, disappear without trace, suddenly substituted by other gusts, vaporous and unpredictable. I will never again be able to enter this room. I will never again be able to...

The Hunter in the Wilderness of Sansara

A long time ago, sixteen leagues from our village, Navagaththegama, there lived the hunter. The area was called Mullegama Galkanda. The hunter lived on Mullegama Rock and in the surrounding jungle. The impenetrable area between our village and the Thammannar-Anuradhapura road was covered by thick jungle. Regardless of its length and breadth, it is the wilderness proximate to Mullegama Galkanda, which lay sixteen leagues from our village, that is of importance to our story, and...

Under the Sign of Anaximander

I I was raised by a depressed mother and an alcoholic father. Mother soon stopped being a mom in every sense of the word and became more of a nuisance than an iconic figure, just a body to trip over. And Pops was tripping on her less and less, ‘cause when my older sisters seemed ready, straight away he started banging them, first one then the other, till finally he was banging one in front of the other, and I was starting to see myself as next on the list; soon as the girls...

The Man with the Knife

He lay back on the sofa, tipsy. She had invited him out for a meal and now they were back at her flat. He was a renowned poetry critic with a successful career. She was just an aspiring poet. He had agreed to help her be “successful”—that was the word they used in China nowadays. It was not easy to be a successful poet. She would have to work hard. She offered him tea to sober him up. Then they could go on talking about poetry—Rilke and Yeats, even Foucault and...

Violence and Drug-Trafficking in Mexico

In Mexico, people will pay up to $70,000 dollars for a license to hunt and kill a bighorn sheep. Killing a man is much cheaper—about $2,000, according to the rates charged by hitmen in Ciudad Juárez, the most dangerous city in the world. And yet, on occasions, death comes free. On August 24, 2010, in Tamaulipas, seventy-two migrants were murdered before they could achieve the golden American dream. The workers, who had no passports, came from Brazil, Central America, and...

The Heart’s Secret Moves

It happened on a Wednesday, this tale of enlightenment. Tuesdays Pedro was The Heart, which meant cracking heads. He was a Lightweight, and a real brawler. Wore a red mask and had a red, triangular kaboom painted on that smooth chest of his. Got his opponent in a Boston Crab till the trainers threw in the towel and The Heart told the ref, count. It didn’t really matter if the ref didn’t count, or if he counted too fast, because it was all just part of the show. It was the buzz...

Diary

At eight in the morning I looked at my watch and it was eight o’clock. At nine-thirty I looked at my watch and it was nine-thirty. At eleven in the morning I looked at my watch and it was ten to eleven. At twelve noon I looked at my watch and it was twenty to twelve. At one in the afternoon I looked at my watch and it was twelve-twenty. At four in the afternoon I looked at my watch and it was twelve-twenty. And at quarter past five when I looked at my watch it was still...

The Night Sucks

Jerry Luján, a boy in a visor, is walking in a ditch alongside Menaul Street today.  It’s Tuesday, five o’clock in the afternoon, and night is already upon him.  In Albuquerque it gets dark like this, out of the blue, as if someone has suddenly yanked the tablecloth from off a table.  Jerry Luján dawdles with his hands in the pockets of his windbreaker.  We are in the land of trocas and truck-gear. Meanwhile, in the center of Burque, the...

from “Almost Dead”

I climbed aboard the Little No. 5 as I did every morning on my way to work. “Little No. 5” is what I call the minibus-sized cab which follows the route of the No. 5 bus. It’s actually a cross between a bus and a cab. You get the best of both worlds—the familiar route and the cheapness of the bus, but they’ve got the speed of a cab and you can hail them and get off where you like. And since there are bombs all the time, I only ever took Little No. 5s to work...

Run

To Tonino, for the bracelet. Every time I cross this street, I always choose the same spot: I walk sort of kitty-corner from the traffic island, or straight as an arrow along the crosswalk, as if the cars had stopped to let me pass. Or else, stepping down from the trolley, without an umbrella, I run to take shelter under the awning outside the pharmacy. But I always cross Via Marina at this same spot, I don't do it on purpose—that is, I do it on purpose, but without wanting...

The First Morning

I have no definite answer to questions about why I migrated from India to Pakistan after the partition in 1947. I look back and see a crowded train rushing past lively and desolate towns and villages, under a bright sun, and in the dark of night. The train is running through the most frightening night and the passengers are quiet like statues. I strain to hear them breathe. Where will the train stop? And will it move again, if it stops? Half a century later, it seems to have been the...

from “Scenes from the Silent Movies”

Balancing the World on His Chin The posters advertising movies or dances were not the only ones that occasionally clamored for our attention from Olleros' walls and tree trunks. Sometimes, too, a traveling circus would stop there or a family troupe of puppeteers with a tiny cast (I remember one in particular, in which the man not only sold the tickets on the door and played the parts of lion, devil and monk in the play, he also, still wearing his lion costume, organized the drawing of...

The Trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen

By the time it starts the Blistier trial has already been known for months as "the trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen." Civil rights groups were the first to call it that, but by now the phrase, borne along on waves of public indignation, is showing up in all the headlines. Shouldn't the leader of the National Front be held responsible for the murder committed by one of his brainwashed teenaged supporters? Shouldn't Le Pen appear before the court, at least as a witness? Pierre Mine is...

Cutting off a Finger

My mother's finger was cut off by a slamming door. Or should I say that she stuck her finger in it to stop the slicing wind. Honey, don't shiver, just feed the hungry wind this bloody piece of meat. At the sight of the flame ignited by the blood, the coyotes outside the door ran away. O my mother pacing and pacing, clutching her pale stiffening finger like a candle. Translation of "Danjee." Copyright Ra Heeduk. By arrangement with the author....

La Terra Santa

I Insane asylum is a word much bigger than the dark vortex of dreams, yet it used to come once upon blue thread or a distant nightingale's song or your mouth opened, biting at the blue the fierce untruth of life. Or an invalid's ruthless hand slowly climbed your window syllabifying your name and when the foul number was finally loose you rediscovered all the seriousness of your life. II Affori, a distant town buried in filth, here you know beams and bolts and...

from The White Fly

The White Fly (2000) is the first Arabic detective novel translated into English. Set in contemporary Tangier, Morocco, the narrative follows Detective Laafrit as he investigates the case of four dead bodies that have washed up on the city's beaches. While the victims initially appear to be harraga-or illegal immigrants-who regularly drown in the Straits of Gibraltar trying to reach Spain in small fishing boats, Laafrit quickly discovers that one of them has been brutally shot dead....

Hysteria

"I really didn't do anything," a woman sobbed. "I didn't even go near a factory. I've never once been to a strange rally," the woman shouted. "I have no interest in who died from self-immolation or in who jumped from the roof of a building or why," the woman wailed, pulling out her hair. "I didn't do a thing except sit like an animal. Who brought me here? Why am I being locked up? My uterus is a piece of rotten iron. I can't even give birth to a son who...

Bloodred Dew

The two men were alone now. Or was it two women? The night stretched on endlessly. So did the mountain. And the frosted sky lying lightly over the mountain began to pale. The mountain stood facing them, bristling with rocky spurs, with clusters of thorn bushes: snow-dusted specters, already white-congealed. The men (the women?) were two lone figures. The silhouettes that had been climbing for quite some time now might well have been taken for two phantoms. Just the two men, alone, cut...

Timid as a Mouse

1 There's an expression that describes me: timid as a mouse. That's what my teacher said, back when I was in primary school. It was one autumn, I remember, in Chinese class. Our teacher stood on the rostrum, wearing a dark blue cotton jacket over a clean white shirt. I was sitting in the middle of the front row, looking up at him. He held a textbook in his hand, and his fingers were coated with red, white, and yellow chalk dust. As he read the text aloud, his face and his hands and...

Cactus

She was always afraid of missing the beautiful and important things in life. She traveled a lot, but more often she panicked because she was stuck at home. For some reason she always imagined that real happiness and pleasure lay elsewhere. As a result she was forever thinking up new ways of stopping time and grasping that crystal moment when life becomes a dream or a fairy tale. Suddenly, at the end of December 1990, she told me she longed to spend New Year's Eve on the island of...

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