I saw my first dead body on the Bagmati. It seemed clean, wrapped and tied in cream-colored sheeting. It was burning white hot in high flames, excreting human smoke up and across the valley in thin clouds. I thought of tiny particles of dead human flesh floating, light as ash, and settling on the streets and houses. In my lungs. I thought of boiling blood. Continue reading “Bagmati बागमती नदी”
In the photograph she’s looking up from the vast cosmetics vessel of her purse, brush in hand, chemical-strobe-green contacts staring straight at the camera, makeup done to a level of perfection I see evident nowhere else in any of her other endeavors. Continue reading “Mother’s Day”
I had never spent much time in Gweru before last summer. The town, capital of the Midlands province of Zimbabwe, was the place of my mother’s childhood and a four-hour car journey from Harare, the place of my mine. In the nineties, we had driven through a few times on family holidays, on our way to the southern city of Bulawayo. I remember that we stopped once at the Gweru’s Midlands Hotel for tea when I was ten or so. My siblings and I ate inconceivably gigantic scones on the verandah.
Continue reading “The Midlands Hotel”
Inside the abandoned train there’s a cartoon drawing of my girl Kelly, all naked with tits round as 24” rims. Cartoon Kelly’s arms are outstretched wide with shackles at her ankles and a conversation bubble with some words of begging, please, yes, like that written and scratched out a dozen times above the doodle loops of her hair. It could be me, or anyone we run with, but I know it was Kelly at one point because her name was there under where someone pasted a Hello My Name Is sticker and now the cartoon’s name is Fuck You, which we could have predicted from the jump. Continue reading “Amtrak”
Takura House, back then, was not surrounded by other properties like it is now. Instead, across the brick back wall that lined the property, there was a patchwork of rice paddies and zig-zag paths traversing the short distance to a narrow brown monsoon river that flowed, when the rains raged, even back then, with refuse – organic and otherwise – like a snaking drain through our corner of Kathmandu. Continue reading “The Table Saw”
Night Battles in the Underworld
‘The rain, he has come!’
The announcement appeared to herald the return of the divine. There was a bustle of galabeyyas – the long Nubian robes that distinguish upper Egyptians from their northern contemporaries – as the men tumbled out of the airy entry and hurried to relocate two motorcycles to drier ground under a tall date palm. Continue reading “Two Pieces about the Sky”
People would rather die of an illness than be told they had one – in a letter, or over the phone, or even in an office. I read this somewhere and I really believe this.
Today, I woke up too late. 10.35. My alarm was set for 10.35 because I went to bed at 5.35 and I thought that five hours was fine. Five hours IS fine.
Earlier on in the night, my boyfriend, who I love, but who’s a total dick sometimes, told me I was a come-bucket. Continue reading “I Would Rather”
This is the image I can’t get out of my mind: a black cloud in clear water, feathery at the edges but impenetrable in the center. Silent. Moving outward inexorably, like a storm cloud in slow motion, so slowly that it seems frozen and unmoving. And the horror doesn’t stop: when it’s dispersed and the water is clear again it is only an illusion of cleanliness: every spot is saturated with poison, too small to see, embedded everywhere. It lodges in our lungs, our livers, our fat. Hides in the unlit crevices inside your body, hidden so deeply and buried so well that not even your white blood cells can find them. Part of you. You are what percent poison? Continue reading “Poverty Line”
I first met jeddo (grandpa) in August 1987. I was just three years old, but I have this distinct memory of him hurriedly running down the driveway of his humble orchard-home in Zahrani, barefoot, in the pouring rain, to embrace my mother. He hadn’t seen her since just before the Israeli invasion of South Lebanon in 1982; they’d barely communicated in the interim. Tears were streaming down his face as he held her. Continue reading “Man of the Orchard”
This is a history of the last day of cellphone coverage, minute by minute, in revolutionary Egypt, pulled from my phone before all communication went quiet. Continue reading “Revolution Texts”