short fiction



The backstreets of Sana’a are not places for happy fairy-tales, or reckless dreams of escape and boundless possibility. 1001 nights spent here would be something of a hell if it was spent in the gutter or the trash heaps; where the children play with old bullet casings and wear dirty linen on their heads to protect them from the sun. Such deprivation, such the albescence of the sand blasted walls soiled by a filthy rain tainted and corrupted by the offal and the rot of a large metropolis in the heyday of its splendid decay. Sons and daughters tend to fathers who have melted in the fetid pavement. Their heroin spitting syringes unholy minarets calling the disappointed and pathetic to a worship that will never end. Squalor is a language. It speaks in the gesture of a mother feeding her child tainted milk, in a dog fighting a fox for a old burger wrapper. It has its literature. Written in graffiti and in obscenities shouted at the foreign missionaries. “Fuck your USA” they scream, but they are actually saying “fuck”, just a simple endless “fuck” to everyone and everything. Not least of all themselves.

They are lizards, forked tongued limping serpents the endless poor. They are filthy, tragic and destroyed, wrecked and listless. They are wretched and cruel and stupid and ugly. But they are so very beautiful in comparison to everyone else. The shit wallowing pigs, pigs, I do mean pigs who walk the streets stepping over the corpses they never see, stepping on into a Armani clad future of decadence and well hidden misogyny. The women of the towers, and the apartments and the condos lay down and take it, their husbands never looking at anything but their asses while on another day soon they will be looking lovingly into the eyes of their Russian mistresses. Bear me a son whore, or at least get fat, quiet and learn to cook better.

There is not time for such niceties in the streets. A man who has a woman is a lord and a slave. He must feed himself and his family… but that is all he must do. Beat her, fuck her, hate her, love her. Women are added every day to the refuse. Discarded like a coffee lid. But at least they had the freedom to die of dysentery. There are no women in the middle east. Just… bodies waiting to be used. Oh how we weep for them… collecting out tears to show the world we care. What a perfume… what a decoration. The tears of a liberal. At least they cry. The conservatives and the capitalists laugh and pull out to ejaculate on the ample ass of their harlot. It was the white-man’s burden now it is everyman’s burden. Your burden. But not yours. You have no stake in this tournament. Take your chips and go home to your book of choice.

Sana’a does not exist. Neither does New York or Cairo. Only Ur exists. The first city is the only city. Everywhere we are Babylonians. We have just learned to write, but he have nothing to say. No stories to tell. Gilgamesh is a communist. He is against the market spirit. Better we cast our eyes to the Ziggaruts that seem to be extensions of the sky. Beer and wine and fountains of vodka and oil mixing into a brew of almost orgasmic profligacy. Poured onto the silicone balloons that pass for breasts in New Valhalla; all expenses paid, all checks cashed. Pygmy assassins wander the streets and pick at the eyes of the wasted and the obscene. Every optic nerve severed is another notch on their unbuckled belts, privates and privations exposed to the whispering mob who seem to float on the rain drenched sidewalks; the only thing that smells good in the city is wet pavement.

We hurt our children. We hurt them so deeply. We want them to hurt and to scream and to cry and rend their hair with their little bony fingers until they can no longer breathe for the tears. We are all warmongers when it comes to the future of our own spawn. They must not be weak. They must be strong or they will not survive on the mean streets of Sana’a/Ur. We must teach them Zionism, and Jainism, and Buddhism, and Fundamentalism, and Veganism, and every other things to can stick an I and an S and an M at the end of.  Butcherism, Golfism, Joblessism, whatever you can think of. Speak to the sky about your obsession and become a prophet. Create a religion. Do you have a brother in law you hate? Create a schism by declaring him your successor, or by ignoring the wishes of your children. Deny yourself. Impale a Buddha’s head. Open a little shop of horrors… or a bakery. Do something to be noticed. You will be noticed for awhile. Above all make sure your children DO something.

There is no room in the world for our fears. We must banish them into our minds; the only place where there is unlimited space. Lose them in that jungle of synapses and nerves. Cut loose into dreamscapes and intoxicating illusion. Fear the soldiers marching through your nebula, your realm, your foreground. Cast your sadness to the wind and it will blow away into so much sand. Sand enough to fill the desert again after the storm. Enough of reality. It is so hard to let go of fantasy.  It is so seductive to remember things that never happened or will never happen. Such carelessly emotive our lord less inequities. Force your impossibilities onto the whole of your community. Create a force to be contained. Whisper to the earth a way we can be free from freedom. The once was an Imam who said “Sana’a must be seen”. That is impossible because because there is no Sana’a. There is only a dirty little boy playing with his rain sodden toes in a dead end alley.


4 thoughts on “Sana’a

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