I Could See The Smallest Things

I was in bed when I heard the gate. I listened carefully. I didn’t hear anything else. But I heard that. I tried to wake Cliff. He was passed out. So I got up and went to the window. A big moon was laid over the mountains that went around the city. It was a white moon and covered with stars. Any damn fool could imagine a face there.

There was light enough so that I could see everything in the yard – lawn chairs, the willow tree, clothesline strung between the poles, the petunias, the fences, the gate standing wide open.

But nobody was moving around. There were no scary shadows. Everything lay in moonlight, and I could see the smallest things. The clothespins on the line for instance.

I put my hands on the glass to block out the moon. I looked some more. I listened. Then I went back to bed.

But I couldn’t get to sleep. I kept turning over. I thought about the gate standing open. It was like a dare.

Cliff’s breathing was awful to listen to. His mouth gaped open and his arms hugged his pale chest. He was taking up his side of the bed and most of mine.

I pushed and pushed on him. But he just groaned.

I stayed a while longer until I decided it was no use. I got up and got my slippers. I went to the kitchen and made tea and sat with it at the kitchen table. I smoked one of Cliff’s unfiltereds.

It was late. I didn’t want to look at the time. I drank the tea and smoked another cigarette. After a while I decided I’d go out and fasten up the gate.

So I got my robe.

The moon lighted up everything – houses and trees, poles and power lines, the whole world. I peered around the backyard before I stepped off the porch. A little breeze came along that made me close the robe.

I started for the gate.

There was a noise at the fences that separated our place from Sam Lawton’s place. I took a sharp look. Sam was leaning with his arms on his fence, there being two fences to lean on. He raised his fist to his mouth and gave a dry cough.

‘Evening Nancy’, Sam Lawton said.

I said, ‘Sam you scared me.’ I said, ‘What are you doing up?’ ‘Did you hear something?’ I said. ‘I heard the gate unlatch.’

He said, ‘I didn’t hear anything. Haven’t seen anything, either. It might have been the wind.’

He was chewing something. He looked at the open gate and shrugged. His hair was silvery in the moonlight and stood up on his head. I could see his long nose, the lines in his big sad face.

I said, ‘What are you doing up, Sam? and moved closer to the fence.

‘Want to see something?’ he said.

‘I’ll come round’, I said.

I let myself out and went along the walk. It felt funny walking around outside in my nightgown and my robe. I thought to myself that I should try to remember this, walking around outside like this.

Sam was standing over by the side of his house, his pyjamas way up high over his tan-and-white shoes. He was holding a flashlight in one hand and a can of something in the other.

Sam and Cliff used to be friends. Then one night they got to drinking. They had words. The next thing, Sam had built a fence and then Cliff built one too.

That was after Sam had lost Mille, gotten married again, and become a father again all in the space of no time at all. Millie had been a good friend until she died. She was only forty-five when she did it. Heart failure. It hit her just as she was coming into their drive. The car kept going and went through the back of the carport.

‘Look at this,’ Sam said, hitching his pyjama trousers and squatting down. He pointed his light at the ground.

I looked and saw some wormy things curled on a patch of dirt.

‘Slugs,’ he said. ‘I just gave them a dose of this’, he said, raising a can of something that looked like Ajax. ‘They’re taking over,’ he said, and worked whatever it was that he had in his mouth. He turned his head to one side and spit what could have been tobacco. ‘I have to keep at this to just come close to staying up with them.’ He turned his light on a jar that was filled with the things. ‘I put the bait out, and then every chance I get I come out here with this stuff. Bastards are all over. A crime what they can do. Look here,’ he said.

He got up. He took my arm and moved me over to his rosebushes. He showed me the little holes in the leaves.

‘Slugs’, he said. ‘Everywhere you look around here at night. I lay out bait and then I come out and get them,’ he said. ‘An awful invention, the slug. I save them up in that jar over there.’ He moved his light to under the rosebush.

A plane passed overhead. I imagined the people on it staring down at the ground.

‘Sam’, I said, ‘how’s everybody?’

‘They’re fine,’ he said, and shrugged.

He chewed on whatever it was he was chewing. ‘How’s Clifford?’ he said.

I said, ‘Same as ever.’

Sam said, ‘Sometimes when I’m out here after the slugs, I’ll look over in your direction.’ He said, ‘I wish me and Cliff were friends again. Look there now,’ he said, and drew a sharp breath. ‘There’s one there. See him? Right there where my light is.’ He had the beam directed onto the dirt under the rosebush. ‘Watch this,’ Sam said.

I closed my arms under my breasts and bent over to where he was shining his light. The thing stopped moving and turned its head from side to side. Then Sam was over it with his can of powder, sprinkling the powder down.

‘Slimy things’, he said.

The slug was twisting this way and that. Then it curled and straightened out. Sam picked up a toy shovel, and scooped the slug into it, and dumped it out in the jar.

‘I quit you know,’ Sam said. ‘Had to. For a while it was getting so I didn’t know up from down. We still keep it around the house but I don’t have much to do with it anymore.’

I nodded. He looked at me and he kept looking.

‘I’d better get back,’ I said.

‘Sure,’ he said. ‘I’ll continue with what I’m doing and then when I’m finished, I’ll head in too.’

I said, ‘Good night, Sam.’

He said, ‘Listen.’ He stopped chewing. With his tongue, he pushed whatever it was behind his lower lip. ‘Tell Cliff I said hello.’

I said, ‘I’ll tell him you said so, Sam.’

Sam ran his hand through his silvery hair as if he was going to make it sit down once and for all, and then he used his hand to wave.

In the bedroom, I took off the robe, folded it, put it within reach. Without looking at the time, I checked to make sure the stem was out on the clock. Then I got into bed, pulled the covers up, and closed my eyes.

It was then that I remembered I’d forgotten to latch the gate.

I opened my eyes and lay there. I gave Cliff a little shake. He cleared his throat. He swallowed. Something caught and dribbled in his chest.

I don’t know. It made me think of those things that Sam Lawton was dumping powder on.

I thought for a minute of the world outside my house, and then didn’t have any more thoughts except the thought that I had to hurry up and sleep.

Source: Raymond Carver (1985) The Stories of Raymond Carver, London, Picador/Pan Books, pp.204-7


“What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” is not only the most well-known short story title of the latter part of the 20th century; it has come to stand for an entire aesthetic, the bare-bones prose style for which Raymond Carver became famous. Perhaps, it could be argued, too famous, at least for his fiction’s own good. Like those of Hemingway or any other writer similarly loved, imitated, parodied, and reviled, these stories can sometimes produce the sense of reading pastiche. “A man without hands came to the door to sell me a photograph of my house.” “That morning she pours Teacher’s over my belly and licks it off. That afternoon she tries to jump out the window.” “My friend Mel McGinnis was talking. Mel is a cardiologist, and sometimes that gives him the right.” What other writer ever produced first sentences like these? They are like doors into Carverworld, where everyone speaks in simple declarative phrases, no one ever stops at one beer, and failure or violence are the true outcomes of the American dream.

Yet these stories bear careful re-reading, like any truly important and enduring work. For one thing, Carver is one of the few writers who can make desperation–cutting your ex-wife’s telephone cord in the middle of a conversation, standing on your own roof chunking rocks while a man with no hands takes your picture–deeply funny. Then there is the sheer craft that went into their creation. Despite their seeming simplicity, his tales are as artfully constructed as poems–and like poems, the best of them can make your breath catch in your throat. In the title piece, for instance, after the gin has been drunk, after the stories have been told, after the tensions in the room have come to the surface and subsided again, there comes a moment of strange lightness and peace: “I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”

Much of what happens in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) happens offstage, and we’re left with tragedy’s props: booze, instant coffee, furniture from a failed marriage, cigarettes smoked in the middle of the night. This is not merely a matter of technique. Carver leaves out a great deal, but that’s only a measure of his characters’ vulnerability, the nerve endings his stories lay bare. To say anything more, one feels, would simply hurt too much. –Mary Park

It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna’ Rock & Roll!

 

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna Rock&Roll!

 

What the fuck is wrong with you people? I am asking this assuming, some of you might know.

Don’t you have something better to do?

 

How about television? Common, don’t be shy. It is your favorite pastime.

Not today.

Did no one make plans with you? Go to some movie or a little shopping, a little clubbing maybe. No?

That bad. Hmmm.

You can play some games, they are pretty involving. You can listen to those stupid tracks saved in your phone, you call it music. Check your FB, maybe post a selfie on INSTA. These things matter.

Isn’t that right?

You can always color your hair. Try that new shampoo you bought after seeing that commercial. Groom yourself a little. Get those yellow stained teeth cleaned. You not going to look any younger or any better. But try.

You can always sleep. I am an insomniac since the age of 14: The day I first saw a pair of titties. A 40-year-old milf neighbor showed me the doors to heaven. You call it child sex abuse. At my time, it was called fun.  Haven’t had any sleep since that day. But you love sleeping. Don’t you?

If you are hell bent on reading this, I must warn you. Nothing would change. You would read this, appreciate, get enlightened. And then the very next evening, you would go and buy something more entertaining. Who reads books? You do not get laid by reading books. Be honest.

They call me Goat-boy. I am a musician. No, no!

They call me Goat-boy. I am an artist. Oh, shit, no!

My name is Goat-boy. I am a recovering sex addict. Fuck this shit!

Okay, so my name is Goat-boy. I am diagnosed with chronic Insomnia. I am also a recovering sex addict. I play guitar. Shit man!

My name is Jack. I am an artist. Maybe. Maybe not.

But I like calling myself one. I create music, at least try to. I am not too good at what I do but seeing the current logistics, who is? Is Trump a good president?

You only need to be good to do great things: To make money, mediocrity does the trick. Look at you, you make money and good is a very distant expression for you. You are shitty and clumsy but still, you make good money. Don’t you?

I never wanted to be a musician but an interesting mix of life events landed me the trade.

 I won’t admit that it was easy but yes it wasn’t so tough either. My doctor asked me to channelize my sexual energy into something more meaningful than watching porn and wanking. He suggested me to try writing, painting, dancing… I thought a lot. None of these people get laid, a lot.

Writers, they are fucking sex starved delusional.

Painters, they are fucking sex starved crazies.

Dancers, they got no energy left to fuck.

Rock stars, You know the glamour. You would get laid, why won’t you? You are a Rock- star!

So I thought to try my hands on creating some original rock music. Apart from playing music, I also enjoy burning shit.

“Burn It To The Ground”

I was listening to the Radio. Nickelback was playing. Music always pleases me. It makes the voices in my head go away. You should also listen to music. But just wanted to advise you that, “Char bottle Vodka, Kaam uska roz ka” (Four bottles of Rum, Bitch drinks every day…. Please show me how she pukes and shits d pain away.) is not music. These lyrics are not thoughtful. If you listen to this kind of music, I am sure your God would save you. The same God whose idols you purchase for $50 at your nearest place of religious communion – A shopping mall!

I focused on the lyrics.

Well it’s midnight, damn right, we’re wound up too tight
I’ve got a fist full of whiskey, the bottle just bit me
Oh
That shit makes me bat shit crazy
We’ve got no fear, no doubt, all in balls out

We’re going off tonight
To kick out every light
Take anything we want
Drink everything in sight
We’re going till the world stops turning
While we burn it to the ground tonight

Suddenly doctor “UD” came. So, our doctor, an unattractive male in his 40’s, never got married. He got laid the first time when he was 28 years old and got his first job. That too because the nurse had a bad breakup and wanted a rebound. A decent doctor worked for her.

Now, he always had an issue with nervous ticks.

For the STUPID: Nervous ticks, are involuntary muscle movements caused by stress and anxiety.

Doc: Goat-boy, You know why you here?

Me: Yes sir.

Doc: Then you also know that if you do not stop lighting fire to financial institutions, they would send you to a prison. They are only acting patient with you because of your fan following.

Me: No problem. I would light the prison on fire. Lighting fire is my passion. I like it.

Doc: No. It’s a medical condition. You are a delusional and an Arsonist. You need medical attention.

Me: Okay Sir. As you say. But did you ever think why I only burn Financial institutions?

UD: Tell me!

Me: Financial institutions make money. Money is historically an emergent market phenomenon establishing a commodity money, but nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money.[4] Fiat money, like any check or note of debt, is without use value as a physical commodity. It derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for “all debts, public and private”. (For the stupid – Money is just a piece of paper and it has no value because it has no great saying or quote written over it. It’s abso-fuckin-lutely of no value.)

UD: Got it. Now make sure you buy your prescription from the shop outside. And also book the next week’s visit by paying $250 advance. Get well soon, Goatboy. We love you! 😊

Let’s get naked and run through the Jungle!

Let’s get naked and run through the Jungle!

 

A thought just came to my mind. A minute ago. Let’s get naked and run through the Jungle. I know what you are thinking, “Aa gaya pagla phir se.” (Here comes the crazy again.) But then in my defense, I have all the facts with me. Please hear me out for two minutes. I won’t rob you off your wealth. Corporations and religions are for that purpose. I just need two minutes, please. And also, “Insanity is just a state of mind like sanity. Who knows who’s what? I certainly don’t (#mostdef)”

My question to you is, “Why not?” We are clothed and civilized because we are supposedly social beings. But are we? I don’t see many social things being done around. I just see few people making money and others buying the goods made and sold by them. Then I also see Television, (fuck Television – the kind you watch. I watch RT.com), which has a propaganda content airing 24/7*365. Everywhere they teach you how to buy things and how to make money to buy em. No one teaches you to achieve freedom and not to willingly submit to slavery. A wise man said –

Don’t let the ones that want to steal your dreams 
They’ll steal your dreams away 
Just laugh and let it go 

So you’ve tried to pass along your doubt 
Oh you need somebody’s ears to hear you shout 
All your wasted and days and twisted ways are up 
So now it’s time to see the cards you dealt 

Don’t let the ones that want to steal your dreams 
They’ll steal your dreams away 
Just laugh and let it go 

A wise one said. Not me. I am the crazy one. So, the point being made is, “What’s the point of a consumerist society?” Why fight for it’s thriving? Let it perish and rot away in oblivion. Let’s just orchestrate a Phoenix event. (In the historical record, the Phoenix could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the Empiremetempsychosisconsecrationresurrection, life in the heavenly ParadiseChristMaryvirginity, the exceptional man, and certain aspects of Christian life”.[3]). We no longer need to buy things. All of us who want things to change and pave way for a better tomorrow, Let’s just sell our possessions. Buy a ton of books. Buy a backpack. Burn our identifications. Become no one. Because “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

“Let’s be a part of the great Rainbow Family. Let’s get naked and run through the Jungle!”

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A Word About Child ‘Gender Identity’ – The Child Is Fine, You’re Confused.

I was reading the newspaper sometime back and came across an article about a 16 year old boy’s struggle with gender identity ‘confusion’ and how he initially thought he was gay and how he finally embraced the fact that he’s actually a girl , and how he’s going to have a sex change operation after his class 12 exams. His family & peers are supportive and his NRI mother bought him his first dress even and thinks he has pretty legs!
The story, of course, doesn’t end here. The mother goes on to narrate how she felt he might be gay initially as he always insisted on playing with dolls and wigs and even though he was ‘encouraged’ to play with tanks and guns, he never conformed! Also, by the time he was 12 years old, he was already going in for counseling sessions as he felt he was gay and wanted help with this ‘confusion’.

Now I’ve seen 12 year olds and I’ve been a 12 year old myself. I’m sure everyone has. When I think of my childhood, I remember having a little chapter dedicated to intercourse in my science textbook and that’s about it as far as my generation’s exposure to sexual knowledge went. As a child that young, I recall being curious, but since there were so many things around to keep us distracted, like sports, debates,books,and.meaningful time spent with the family where we.learnt some values,that there was hardly any space for sexual craziness.
Also,there was nothing much on TV that depicted overt sexual imagery or homosexuality as even a concept, there was no burden on most children from my generation, to come to terms with or identify with.
What’s also interesting is,the fact that I recall not being a very stereotypical ‘girly girly’ myself in fact, I played basketball, baseball, loved wrestling and hated cooking!
But back then, this was not defined as ANYTHING really, just kids being kids and doing what they wanted without a care in the world. There was no burden of gender identity or any definitions at all.
As matter of fact ,every child goes through a phase of confusion where he or she is unable to decide what they want to become. Back then,it was about choosing a career, nowadays it’s about choosing a sexual orientation and a gender!
So what’s changed?
Nothing much, I’d say. Children are still children, but it’s the parents and culture that’s changed.
The mother in this story states, that when he discarded the guns he was ‘encouraged to play with ” she was afraid that he might be gay!!!
Wow!
THAT is very telling.
The mother,the school,the counselors managed to play havoc with this child’s absolutely NORMAL phase of exploration and led him to believe that he’s confused. What kind of a parent sends her 12 year old for counselling because her son likes to play with dolls and what kind of counselors end up convincing the child that he’s actually a boy trapped in a woman’s body? This is borderline child abuse if you ask me!

Also, where is the FATHER in all of this? I can’t help but notice the absence of a ‘father figure’ in the child’s life. Did he even get to give masculinity a chance? And I refuse to count ‘offering him guns & toy tanks’ as a fair introduction to his true, natural , masculine instinct. 
Of course,children are struggling with a lot today as their lives are full of violent and sexual imagery thrown at them through pop culture and movies and then there’s this huge LGBTQ movement to reckon with, that’s creating a turmoil in their tender minds. At an age when the knowledge of heterosexuality can be shocking enough for the child, imagine a daily dose of homosexuality, transgender-ism, androgyny, gender fluidity etc thrown at them!
No wonder they’re turning out like this.
In the end I’d like to say just one thing

“God is not the author of confusion but of peace “

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