Dreaming of Guns
Getting rid of a gun is hard. I know because I tried it in a dream—a dream that was so real that I would rather have started this piece without mentioning I am writing about a dream. I would have preferred waiting until the end to reveal my dilemma as a nightmare, but I’ve been too schooled in the notion that ending with “it was all a dream” is a cheap trick. So I can only ask that you, my readers, try to read the first part of this essay as real, and the latter part, that is real, as a nightmare.
The Story of My Holocaust—Part 2: The Names
As we walk home, I can see that my father has been shaken by the incident, even more than I was. He is trembling. Perhaps he remembers the shrieks of his first son as the infant, concealed in a sack, was ripped out of his hands by a Nazi soldier. Was it this incident that inspired my father decided to change my name?
Pleasant Memories for Everyone
Unwise choices are the consequence of being unable to say “I was raped,” of questioning if one is, in fact, crazy—an unreliable narrator unable to be trusted—and therefore to blame, of learning that men are frightening, fallible, unpredictable, and must be appeased, of having no self‑worth. These are the choices one who knows something has gone horribly wrong makes in order to maintain an illusion of control.
Running the Bulls in Pamplona: Blood, Torture, and Sangria
That afternoon I went back to the arena, bought a ticket, and sat among a crowd of handsome young Spanish men and women and witnessed the actual bullfights. It was during these fights that they would kill the bulls I had run with that morning. They say there is a long list of Americans who have seen a bull fight and a very short list of Americans who have seen two bull fights. I will remain on that first, longer list. This is because, Hemingway be damned, the inconvenient truth is that the glorious tradition of bull fighting with its powerful metaphors for courage and the eternal struggle between life and death involves torturing animals until they die.
Anxiety | Joy
I had read the term in books, and my parents had surely uttered it. Even so, as a child I failed to recognize the written and spoken forms of the word anxiety as the same. Spoken, the word anxiety drives forward, iamb bumper-to-bumper with iamb. But I read the letters on the page as ANK-shuh-tee, like anxious (say it aloud—you’ll hear it). My private, written ankshuhtee was more diffuse than the vocalized version, perpetual unease rather than galvanizing force. The final two syllables suggested something diminutive and lacy, like a fish hook. When read silently to myself, ankshuhtee was mild with a bitter aftertaste, milk on top and broken glass underneath.
Pissing in Minefields
Piss-shyness is a bitch. I've suffered from it for longer than I care to remember and recollect painful episodes at nightclub urinals muttering nonsense as dick-proud sentries on either side of me stood like rodeo performers, one hand on hip, the other on dick. Gut envy at unleashers gushing away like elephants back from a night at the waterhole. Pit-stops at motorway service stations turned into protracted waits for a cubicle lock to be freed up. What doesn't help is having a young Croatian guard on the border with war torn Bosnia stand behind you with a loaded automatic rifle pointed at your back telling you to get a get a move on.
My Opening Skin
I knew in the summer of 2012 what I knew in 2004 when I first started abusing myself: that the first abuse would start a pattern of abuses, and that things would get a lot worse. Whether hitting myself in the head with a frying pan, or slicing into my forearm with a Swiss Army knife, as soon as I used a technique once to cope with the anxiety and anguish, I would do it again, and again, and eventually escalate it to more dangerous methods.
Rebel with a Cause
My advisor, Professor Saxena (Like many in this article, a pseudonym) suggested that I extend my senior’s work on ovarian steroids of the hamster. I studied my senior’s bulky thesis, made copious notes, and at end of the semester came to the painful and exasperating conclusion that there was nothing new that could be added to my senior’s methodical and comprehensive work.
Tuesday Throwback: Letterman on Fracking
As the retirement march continues, we thought we'd bring you this enlightening little snippet from the mind and ire of David Letterman. It a simple presentation on what makes Letterman the king and a glimpse into why he lost the ratings war. Hint: It has something to do with integrity.
One Hundred Years Worth of Cocktails in Two Minutes
If you drank one hundred years worth of cocktails in two minutes, you'd be dead or Carson McCullers (in which case you'd be both). Considering how much we like you alive, it'd be a much safer journey to travel those one hundred years through the drink-making magic of this skilled constable of the bar top.
A 661/2 Mustang, John Steinbeck, and Me
I was living in LA—Venice Beach, Ed O’Neill (Al Bundy) had just separated from his wife and was renting a parking spot next to mine—him, a Porsche something, me, an aged Volkswagen Jetta. We had some great talks, one of which was, never get married. I wasn’t, and had no immediate plans to be.
How Substandard Closet Design Inflamed My Chronic Dread
People lose things when they move. Losing things is a habitual worry. A worrisome habit. This is one reason for science’s relentless struggle to control chaos. Or it’s my persistent effort. Mercifully anxiety over losing things is soothed by the very method that helps not lose things: order, precision.
Bus Faces: Belgrade
She mumbled a half-hearted thank you and didn’t make eye contact. She didn’t make eye contact with anyone else on the bus either. She wore a green coat the color of moss with the sun shining on it. There was purple on her handbag, so she has a sense of complementary colors and uses them in her attire. Her face is nervous and she rides the bus as if suffering through a necessary torture.
“I actually don’t take many photos anymore,” she said. She stared out the window at the inky ribbon of East River unfurling just below the highway, seemed to squint into the bright red of the Pepsi-Cola sign flooding neon over the far bank of the water. “I find taking photos inhibits my ability to really be present in the experience I’ve come all that way to have.”
Jesus Doesn’t Talk to Me
The Stream goes down below.
You Will Be the Third One—
Not Her Tyler Durden
A Gaze by Any Other Name
Keep it 100: The Henry Miller Edition
The Little Book You Haven’t Read, But Should
America's (Broken) College Promise
Secrets, the Currency of Soul
Waiting for Havel
second place saturday nights
Why Punks Take Their Names
A Sleepless Night
Leaving Atlantic City