You walk alone down a yellowish street. It’s nighttime. There’s a dog, two more over there, “A nation of dogs,” you mutter. Walking alone, walking at night, wondering if life’s like this: going, coming, eating, shitting, meeting, sleeping, swearing, laying claim to human qualities you have no claim to—even detestable ones—and then repeating: going, coming, eating, shitting, meeting, sleeping, ad nauseam ….
Only nakedness distinguishes the day from night. Undressing at night as night undresses, making love with night out loud, right in front of the eyes of God. Why have you begun to sense that there’s just a single hair—half a hair, maybe—between you and insanity? You don’t know. Sleep on the ground wherever you can, on sidewalks, drains, fields, wherever you can. Lie down on the ground, touch the soil discreetly and remember the night you made love to that jar of tomato paste. You smile, you start to laugh, the ringing laughter of a deaf snake, remember your despair, the misery that made the jar of tomato paste come before you could.
Completely. Just like your imaginary girlfriend said.
Remember how afraid you were to shit? Terrified, convinced it was some kind of abnormal act. You felt so cold afterward, you’d tremble and your stomach would tighten and nothing could make you stop feeling sick. You couldn’t bring yourself to piss until the next morning. How things change, you think. Because you started enjoying it, you’ve learned to savor that delicious numb feeling, you’ve felt the hurt with a virginal pleasure as you’re penetrated-in-reverse by your own excrement. Between intromission and withdrawal, you’ve sweated an unreal sweat, pearls rolling down your body, imagining yourself a beautiful little girl who’s never met her body before. How you enjoyed it! You began making nighttime shits whenever possible. And it became a necessity each morning. Each morning you’d wake up aroused and filled with desire. You felt quiet and tranquil then. Do you remember the time you made yourself up like a girl, when you doused yourself with that mysterious, feminine perfume and went into the bedroo—I mean the bathroom—and started moaning like a whore, like you were in ecstasy as you were penetrated-in-reverse? That was your final ecstatic experience with excrement, you can’t remember what changed, why you ever stopped doing it.
The thing is, you’re untroubled now, your mind’s serene. You remember the words of a friend, the poet, the one you were secretly in love with:
When you become rain
The earth kisses you, a longing kiss,
Your longing and her longing.
When you become rain
And the earth doesn’t kiss you
Her ghost blossoms with your death.
Either way, you’re martyred at the first kiss.
You had nothing to say then. And maybe the only consolation you have left is the sky, a sky clouded over by the loudspeakers of your creation. Created without hurry, slowly, discreetly. You filled the sky with loudspeakers. They’re loud, they vibrate, and someday they’ll fall on your head. But at least they fill this morning with songs you love. Or, in any case, with songs you need—depending on your moods. Heavenly hymns to fill your voids, jazz to rejoice, reggae to bring you to tears. The voices of these heavenly girls make you feel like you’re still alive, like life’s still good, like you’re bursting with love even if no one knows but that jar of tomato paste.
Translated by: Sabah Sanhouri & Hodna Nuernberg