Letters from Uzbekistan: Sex Tourism

Dear PresidentTrump,

First, old business. We have photos of the subjects your representative mentioned at every border in the country and have closed all taxi access pizza parlors. (Note to RH: parlors is ok here?).

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Quickly on to new business, and happily so. Our offer has expanded ten-fold since the false revelations regarding a practice that has already been, we would like to think, brought to its highest level of artistry in our country, what we call the ‘Gulna Torrent’. Historically the art has had many names.

We have also taken your advice and expanded the range of our offer so that we now have the utterly (Rh: absolutely?) exclusive (Presidential Primo, Corporate Cameo, Diplomat Dip) all the way down to the, as your man said to me in private, which I am sure is on the tapes, the ‘freestreet’. Our Pigalle!

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We have also revised our slogan to a more globally, yet nationally appropriate verse. As I explained to your man, Uzbekistan is geographically endorheic, which means that what flows in never flows out. So try this: What Spurts (RH: drips? seems, you know, weak. Maybe you can think of something else?) in Uzbekistan Stays in Uzbekistan!

Mr. Mirzyoyez looks forward to your visit, which can be arranged to coincide with that of any other state leader!

Best,

Arslan Levantinov, Minister of Tourism

(Note: I received this letter just a few days ago and have yet to get to the changes. RH)

 

 

 

From the novel, in progress, Balkan Picaresque

 

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The narrator, a Macedonian ne’er-do-well, master of languages and thief is just encountering an American, from the US:

 

Europeans—to the extent we know what we are talking about here–are fond of saying that whilst they abhor America, they are generous enough to like the individuals hatched there. If I may speak for those of us without a continent of our own, and be excused for what you misconstrue as bitterness, we feel that there is no point in despising a people if we don’t despise the people comprising those people. I may not be an Albanian—I assure you—and we all hate Albanians—if you need to be reminded—but we all of us know and love some of them—even the most phrothilous despiser of Albanians has been caught off guard, liking a fellow who turns out to be Albanian, but so as not to be a hypocrite he (we) will determine that a certain Albanianism is lacking in this particular specimen: surely this one does not clean his ass with the same filthy water day after day, wiping with the same unwashed hands we have just embraced with our own, kissing his spotless face thrice upon greeting, and if he is reproducing at seventeen times the local rate, surely the intent is not to acquire our apartment, for we have seen with our own eyes that he has a swell enough apartment of his own; if he were out to colonize my birthright by birth record, he would hardly be sending half his pay check back to Albania where they, as he has told us humbly, as if it were a slip, all drive a Mercedes (which is where the real paperwork prestidigitation is necessary at those pauperous prices). But an American, an American is no person, even where he’s a minority he can’t even manage that, maybe he’s an individual but hardly a person, no, he’s a peacekeeper and a bomber, a target-picker and a panderer, a spy, a slaver, an advance man, an opportunist, a derelict dandy, a money changer, a Christ killer, a fiend, a lopo, a Barabbas, a Roman, a sadist, an asswipe, a bootlick, a stool pigeon, a fartsniffer, a computer terrorist, an extortionist, a pestilence, a tsetse fly, a ripe turd, a secular pederast, a market manipulator, an oil man, a Texan, a drawling down home damnum fatale, a grave digger, a buzzard, a baalbuster, a blusterer, a blowhard, a recrudescence, a redundancy, a shithouse stain, a collapsible shelter, a mongerer, a mongoloid, a Mongol, a menace, a martinet, a myrmidon, a withering zeitgeist, a grotesque waltzschmertzer making merrily away into the night with your mistress, an abomination to, an accessory to, a situational chimera, a proud perfidy, a vagitus, a prevaricator, a varix of the mindscape, a limpid dick in a scumpond, a margrave in a sewer, a coprophagite, a bescumberer, a diarrhetic, a creature of habit, a tool, an agomphious gobbling gourmet of graft, a shithead, a real fucking shithead, never mind if he’s a moron, he’s still a detumescence of humanity (one-eyed sceptre of the scumpond), an indespumatable desquamation, a compulsively defalcating defecation, rabiesed, distempered, a lupine lunkheaded lord of a laissez faired Laloplegia, a dungdiver, a donkey’s ass, an ass’ dong, an inkpen plague, a serial serial-killer, a momentum, a grab your ass, a tic on the face of the globe, a tumor, a cancer, bursitis, an advanced rheum, a frenetic arthritic, a travelling salesman, a yes man, a naysayer, a nabob, a billybob, a deflated boob, an electronic dartboard, computerized juke box, a handcuffer, a torturer, a worm, a rat, a squealer, a profiteer, an encloser, a bandyleg, a marfan, a class issue, a plainsman, a maggot, a carcass and a maggot, a stick in your eye, an obelus in the sentence of history, an hysteria in the belch of time, a fargalator, an obituarial factotum, the breath of Satan, the sulphur of Sodom, the shame of God, the indisputable of Bog te jebo, a red herringbone tarbaby suit, a suit passing for a man, a haircut passing for a suit, a suitcase passed to a client, a flagellator, a hurricane of cause and effect, a hoary can of tuna, a whore hefting the fasces of Fata Morgana, a boar sucking the feces of a fat Congobwana, that is to say a Lumumbaslayer sucking at the tit of an elephantiascine Tsetseseko, a gaffer, a troll, a gargoyle, the new therianthropic (dinar is served), a theroid hormone, a phetid pheromone, a steroid glutimus, a phlegmon, a gogged magog maygog gag ye whilst a Magyar rape your sister, a bahinchut, a bonehead, a bean counter, a cuntslapper, a hypocrite, a sanguinopurulence, a carpet buggerer, a sarcoughing guest, a tuber and a tubercule, a laugh a lung so laugh along alone, a tweezer, a persisting geezer, a gook killer, a nigger hanger, a spic spanker, a wop wanker, a wogswallower, a wife beater, a Don Cheney, a Lon Chaney, a Henry Kissinger, a home wrecker, a hands-off phrenologist, a fallen Semen, a fanged cherub, a deserted island in a sea of troubles, a gonorrhealpolitiker, a gunboat diplomatist without a degree, a furfuration, a scurvy, a blight, a bloat, a beaver shooter, a groping uncle, a carbuncle, a furuncle, a regulatory cystemselfhelp guru, a grandee, a narcissist, a floating egg, a dangling modifier, a migraine, a stepinfelchit, a spider, a tykophage, a finicky sponge, a tendentious cretin, a cartocephalic, a magnum carter, a fugger, a neohanseatic, a sordeswallower, an amicidal trail of amentia, a suckwad, a territory tout, a mugger, a shambling mockery, an urgent call to octogenerial on down abortion, a dank crotch, a fragged ghost, a milktoast, a tepid sip, an acidic esophagous, a torment, an ugly, a stacked deck, a three note fart, an Octavian, a Caligula, a zero, a farce to be wrecked herewith, a bloatheaded baby raper banging his head on an altar, a tall tale told by a first person idiot in sonic boom obduracy signifying nothing left, a poison mushroom, a cloud, a clod, a Kurtz, a klutz, a kaputtsker, a kibbutzer of cultures, a rectum with sphincter of invidious force—a real strangler that, a xenophop, a bucket of slop, a toad, the warts on same, a carcinomic alembic, a cyclops looking the other way, a futuristic anachronism, a poxy moron, a scree, a dopperganglia, a sinapst, an unrequited sinophile, a fluggist, a scroffs terrier, an effete fungus, a calipernian seer, a defiling rod, a wrungcock, a flung cock, a monk’s ox, a barrel of lapsus, a terrible craponus, a mountebank, a dirtball, a pissant, a stomp on a bum, a  fargone conclusion, a delphy delusion, an overt intrusion, a handkerchief passing for a man, a gaffe a minute, a pinhead, an appallbearer, a shrike, a liaison, a lesion making haste to infection, an adhesion (see stain), a stasis in the wrong places, a spurty can, a democrat, a demo, a Crassus, a Croesus, a thermoplyer, a bob to the surface, a micky finn, a sanitary puck of fluorescent green in a yellowing puddle at a roadside pissroom urinal, a cheatnik, a stasher, a terrorist, a pimp, a pusher, an insurance agent, a spent karma salesman, a tumbledumb, a ruse of a rube, a reason to rant, to rave, to riot, to rise, to raze, to rip tear and throttle, to wreak revenge.

I don’t like them.george-grosz-the-funeral-1917-18-636x301-1

Intro to the Long Awaited Translation of Roberto Arlt’s The Flamethrowers

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[The translation, by Larry Riley, has just been finished, and the search for a publisher will begin this Spring.]

THE FLAMETHROWERS Intro

  1. The Flamethrowers, by Roberto Art, originally published in Buenos Aires in 1931, is without question the most important Spanish language novel unavailable in English translation.
  2. The Seven Madmen, considered by English language literary critics the most important novel written by Roberto Arlt (published originally in 1929 in Buenos Aires), has been translated twice.
  3. Neither book is a novel.
  4. The Seven Madmen is the first half of a novel and The Flamethrowers is its second half.
  5. Roberto Arlt knew this. And I have no doubt that Julio Cortazar and every other Spanish language reader inspired by Arlt knew this as well. And since Arlt is considered a precursor to the ‘Magic Realist’ boom in Latin American literature, some would say its godfather, this strange fact of its botched delivery into English is an obscenity not without charm.
  6. In fact, Arlt likely published the book in two acts as he did for financial reasons. And of course it is for financial reasons that no one has bothered to publish The Flamethrowers. (Our translator, Larry Riley, knows more about this, for in addition to the difficulty of selling obscure translations, it seems there was a difficult heir in the Arlt family.)
  7. Certainly the two translators of The Seven Madmen—Naomi Lindstrom and Nick Caistor—knew that they were not really translating a whole novel. Arlt said so at the end of The Seven Madmen. Lindstrom and Caistor had to translate this: ‘*Commentator’s note: The story of the characters in this novel will continue in a second volume, The Flamethrowers.’ If that seems ambiguous it is because the commentator is unfamiliar to you as a voice who is telling this singular and, if multi-splenetic, single novel. And then there is that most benignly adamantine voice among Arlt’s nephews, Cortazar’s, in his introduction to the latest publication of The Seven Madmen (in English), referring with casual authority to ‘…what is in truth one novel with two titles.’
  8. Arlt’s novel is unusual in that it is imbedded in time from which he deracinates his characters.
  9. The Great War provided urgent impetus to Arlt’s characters; they viewed the horrific episodes of World War Two with wry, sating curiosity despite Arlt’s grave.
  10. Born in 1900, Arlt died in 1942.
  11. The Enigmatic Visitor of The Flamethrowers was not surprised that atomic bombs did the work that a few dedicated madmen with phosgene could easily have accomplished.
  12. Early in The Mad Toy, Arlt’s first novel, a group of visionary urchins forms a club, at which the following, among other, proposals is made: “The club should have a library of scientific works in order for its associates to be certain that they are robbing and killing according to the most modern industrial procedures.” This proposal is made directly after a discussion regarding replacing a chicken egg’s natural contents with nitroglycerin.
  13. Circuitous routes are pioneered by admirers of Arlt to reach the point where they feel it is safe, finally, to say that his writing was, after all, human. Yet what separates Arlt from all writers of his time is his anguish that the human is finished, finishing, knocked off, an anguish that is expressed like no other anguish has ever been expressed in literature, in the character of Remo Erdosain, whose essential phenomenological disturbance is an obsessive leitmotif of The Seven Madmen, quicksand for the tender readers like myself who recognize the tin skies, cubical rooms, geometric incursions of light and thought, and, anguished, Arlt compelled again and again to describe Erdosain’s anguish, perhaps already knowing that one impending horror was the inevitable scrutiny of the actions of Erdosain by Giacommetti figures picking Beckettian through ruined literary landscapes.
  14. It is difficult to argue seminality, particularly in fiction, which lacks the immediacy of painting, and more—it assumes a lack of transfer between the arts. So when Roberto Arlt is credited with being the originator of magical realism, not only is the issue absurd, it serves to deflect the meaning of Arlt’s great work, The Seven Madmen and The Flamethowers. He may have preceded Guernica, but not Tzara, and not the city scapes and madmonsters of Grosz. What makes Arlt’s work great is to some degree indeed its originality, his private cubysmal canvass that combined the abysmal industrial architecture and working conditions of the most modern of human creatures with the existential madness this engendered, and awareness of historical defeat, and the other side of that, what lurked temporally beyond, the advanced cannibalism of technological weaponry and worse, the acceptance of it. The chapter The Enigmatic Visitor in The Flamethrowers in which a jaundiced, fully uniformed (gasmasked!) soldier appears to Erdosain at night, their subsequent, almost blase conversation about gasses, including the support for Erdosain’s belief in the efficacy of phosgene as a mass murdering agent, and worse, the final declaration of the visitor, places Arlt beyond the future in which he is accursed with being labeled progenitor. For Arlt, civilization is over. As he writes, it is dying a slow death, and still is. Witness the writer who perhaps best reflects the influence of Arlt, intentionally or not, Rodolfo Walsh, who in his astonishing work of investigative writing, Operation Massacre, refers to ‘…this cannibalistic time that we are living in…’, in a book that in retrospect seems to have ushered in a regime much like that of the United States, in which the faces change, but the cannibalism gathers strength, so much so for Argentina that some 20 years after the publication of that book Walsh published an open letter to the regime and left his home with a pistol knowing he was going to need it that very day—and indeed was murdered at five in the afternoon. This is Arlt’s greatness, a diagnosis not a prophecy, and an accurate diagnosis at that. In Arlt there is absurdity, surreality, some Kafka, some Beckett, some Joyce, but mostly there is what may be called hyper-reality, an umbrella term, which to Arlt was merely the horror of reality.

 

  1. In his own introduction to The Seven Madmen, Julio Cortazar, not a man to be trifled with, refers as if to a historical fact, to ‘The lack of a sense of humor in Arlt’s work’, attributing this to resentment regarding his circumstances in life (too much work to write freely, one gathers). Perhaps—I have no wish to quarrel with the master, Cortazar—it is something to do with the glimpses of optimism afforded Cortazar in the early 1980s when he wrote the introduction, but he is utterly mistaken. Arlt is extremely funny, even as he delivers the worst of all messages. Again Beckett comes up, and Kafka, both very funny men with very dark visions.
  2. Earlier in that same introduction, Cortazar referred to Arlt’s resentment—and again he got it wrong. Arlt was said to be a part of a cirlce, the more proletarian Boedos as opposed to Borges’ Floridans, each representing a part of town. To know Arlt, to know Erdosain, is to know that neither would have sought comfort in Florida (a neighborhood in Buenos Aires). And, further, to know Arlt is to know the themes that ran like wires through his life and work, his inventions, his very proletarian nature, his resentment, yes, but resentment at the state of the city, the state of the US, the condition of doomed humanity. Sure this is related to his working life—in such a condemned state, the wise man wishes to frolic.
  3. Cortazar’s errors are Argentine. He was born in Belgium, raised mostly in Buenos Aires in rather privileged settings. He is speculating. Besides, he shares a correspondence with Arlt that rises to rarefied spaces of affinity, that perhaps all readers find in a few authors, and he shares that affinity with me. I almost claim such affinity with Cortazar. I began his Hopscotch in 1984, read 70 some pages, leaving the bookmark in, returned to the same page ten years later and found myself immediately back in Paris with his lovers and their game of serendipity deferred. What is this affinity? Difficult to define, it is best rendered by example. I recently met a cultural and film critic living in Moscow by the name of Giuliano Vivaldi who read Arlt about the same time I first did, in the early 1990s. He was so taken with Arlt that he decided to try to translate him from the Italian, but needed to procure a copy of the rare book, so took the train from Trieste to Rome and photocopied it at the national library. Such fidelity and ambition has only been exceeded to my knowledge by Larry Riley, the translator of this copy of The Flamethrowers. Both Arlt and Cortazar would appreciate the story of Mr. Riley’s work. Not content to stop with reading The Seven Madmen, this veteran of the coast guard, at the time a postal worker, determined to translate this book from a language he did not know at all into English. He was advised by close literary friends that it was hopeless, that it would only lead to disappointment. Arlt could have told them otherwise. For such passion succeeds. And this translation is indeed a success. Mr. Riley finished the translation about 13 years ago, was told by a kind and indulgent Naomi Lindstrom, that it was good but ‘not quite there.’ Mr. Riley sat on it, put it away, one hopes with a feeling of great satisfaction, until recently I learned of his old project and asked to see his work. It arrived typed out with many errors, but was miraculously, unmistakably Arlt: I could feel that in the first two pages. I would finally be able to read The Flamethrowers. Subsequently, Mr. Riley and I decided to get the book typed on computer, which was not the first idea—wouldn’t Arlt have loved the story had we published the copy that was not quite there, that was riddled with typos…Yes, but as it turns out, the process of putting the book on computer revivified Mr. Riley, who dove back into the book and what was not quite there reached what is here, a fine translation of Roberto Arlt’s Flamethrowers.
  1. So who am I to write about Roberto Arlt? I plead that surfeitous affinity, combined with my own literary connection with Arlt. In my first three published novels I paid homage to Arlt by naming my characters as he so often did, by their descriptions. He had his Lame Whore, I had my Sneering Brunette; he had his Melancholy Ruffian, I had my Spleen (both I and II). Of course, Arlt is unreasonably obscure in the English speaking world and though my books received a number of perceptive reviews, none noticed the homage to Arlt. So who am I to write about Arlt? Someone with a second chance to pay him homage, someone with spleen.

SAILING THE GOOD SHIP TITO: Hospitalized in Izola

SAILING THE GOOD SHIP TITO: Hospitalized in Izola

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I chose this photo to emphasise the architectural quality of the hospital of Izola, which was designed to look like a passenger vessel. Berthed on the second to last promontory in Slovenia the hospital overlooks Izola (in this photo Izola compares a genuine vessel with the elegant one above) and on the other side, Koper, Trieste, and mountains ranging from Podnanos to Triglav and Krn to the Tirol and deep into the Dolomitis.

The brilliance of the design extends beyond the external location, and you can take that in the darkest way if you like, the hospital being the place for many a man’s final journey–women, too, but I associate ships with wandering fools, who throughout history have more often been men. But most journeys are more pleasant, like cruises were meant to be, trips from illness to health. When I got mowed down by a car while riding my bicycle I had an eight day journey in this boat that never moves–and what a journey it was! Saving the first leg, what I will refer to as the long existential embarkation, I spent about 36 hours with a dislocated shoulder–try sleeping in that condition–and a broken arm, while the medical staff, sharpening their instruments, waited for my blood density to come down (I take blood thinners, a result of a voyage about 18 years ago). I’ll never forget my boss visiting me, knowing that what I needed was to get out on deck where I could smoke, the pain being a constant so that whatever effort was necessary was all to the good.The surgeon who fixed me happened to be the former head of surgery; he lost that position when he was sued for operating on the wrong hand of a teenager who didn’t actually need the surgery in the first place. A few months after my surgery my surgeon and I experienced a very moving scene in his office when I went for a final check with him, the poor man, an excellent surgeon, admonishing me to work hard to get back to normal to help him with his reputation…or perhaps more accurately to prevent his reputation diminishing further.

Refošk

This latest voyage began when I suspected my urine had some blood in it. I took a glass into the toilet with me and the result was astonishing: it was the color and density of refošk, our earthy, fresh native wine.

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I chose this picture, I admit, for the reader to imagine what readers might. I don’t actually have a photo of that first sample.

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Light cannot be seen through a good domestic refošk.

I was surprisingly calm holding that warm, loving glass in my hand. Most likely I had lost control of my blood thinner and now it was way too thin. I would merely have to go a couple days without tablets and everything would be fine.

I checked the medical dictionary, the search engine that needs no free advertising, and every site suggested that the problem was indeed likely to be unthreatening. But they all said go get it checked immediately. As it was a Saturday, I had little inclination to do so, but soon I was having absurd philosophical turbulence regarding whether to show the glass to my wife or not.

So within minutes we were on our way to the hospital’s emergency room.

It didn’t occur to me that I might have to stay there.

Dada

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I was extremely lucky, I soon realized, that I had thrown an extra book into my bag, anticipating an hour or two of waiting. I was about fifty pages into a biography of Tristan Tzara, and I nabbed it, half-conscious that another book on Dada, Andrei Codrescu’s The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess in Zurich, was already in there.

Dada cannot change the hospital that’s holding you, but if your hospital is built to look like a ship a swim in Dada is a highly recommended remedy for every facet of your hospital voyage–and of course every stage of an institutional experience is in need of human revolt, which can be accomplished invisibly by a mind steeped in Dada.

Three Dead in Izola Hospital Shooting

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As I lay there hoping there was no tear in an inner organ, that the problem was simply that my blood had gotten too thin, I naturally compared the medical situation in the US with that in Slovenia. I had for the moment forgotten that last August ‘A 70-year-old man shot and killed a police officer and a doctor and seriously injured another police officer at the Izola general hospital on Monday. The shooter died as the police attempted to prevent him from fleeing the crime scene.’  

The attempt, by the way, was successful. The guy stopped fleeing as soon as he was dead.

Throughout the world, the deranged US gun habits are a dark marvel. How do you imagine cities where hundreds are murdered every year? How do you imagine a nation that is unmoved by public massacres of children? Especially if you live in a town like Izola, where the murder rate doesn’t exist? About 9 years ago we read about one Macedonian stabbing another in the ass in a bar frequented by Macedonians. Recently the police chased an Albanian gangster through the old town down to the sea, where the guy flung his gun. Yet of all places, Slovenia’s first American style gun event occurred in the Izola hospital. Apparently the shooter was upset about waiting times or something…I just read the article I quoted from: the doctor he killed was a urologist. Today when I was told I could go home as soon as the urologist checked my results and decided what to do I asked how long it would be and was told there was no telling, as he was the only urologist in the region. Now I know how that happened.

These waiting lists are one of the reasons Slovenia, a very small and poor nation, is ranked so low among the world’s nations when it comes to health care that it usually is tied with the US. That’s how bad it is.

The good part is that everybody has health insurance and no one gets turned away. Emergencies are treated like emergencies and in a case like my own this weekend they do everything possible to be sure that they’ve not overlooked anything. In the US I probably would have been sent home and told to go see the urologist at his office, to make an appointment. Or they would have decided that as the problem was relatively clear, there was no need to go so far as to have a, a…cistoskopija, a cocktastrophe…Dada is against gratitude…

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We would prefer that you stay

Even when tests showed that my blood was indeed extremely thin, I was not allowed to go home. Not without tolerating some persuasion. The doctor, who after all has more authority throughout the world than any other weaponless creature, politely convinced me to stay when I told her that I could just wait until Monday and see if the blood had thickened sufficiently as I would simply stop taking the blood thinning medicine.

I didn’t have a tooth brush.

My blood was so thin they wouldn’t wait for it to thicken on its own–they gave me medicine right away. Maybe they wouldn’t have let me brush my teeth anyway.

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There was no telling what would happen.

ADMITTED

I was taken to NEPHRO BUNKER 5, a five bed suite with a private toilet, as the two occupants were diapered.

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Adult diapers are a much better invention for the clergy than for the ranks of nurses.

Gospod Mislimović was in the first bed on my left. He displayed an exhausted curiosity toward me that proved he was alert.

Godpod Govorović was in the last bed on the right and would be my neighbor. Little of what he said was intended for sustained communication. His teeth were not in the room.

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Does smoking kill? If so, when?

At this point in time, smoking can no longer be managed on the balcony off the room, though I would have tried had I been alone in the room, or incarcerated with another smoker.

Hospitalized in NEPHRO BUNKER 5, should I have been considering smoking at all? Fuck off. This whole voyage actually began five days earlier, on my hundredth day without alcohol (I refuse to leap to the easy conclusion that sobriety is bad for the health – the experiment is still in its infant stage). Besides, I am smoking about half a pack a day, and often even less. Snatched, in a sense, from my staid existence and taken on this voyage unprepared, it was a lucky strike that my wife had a full pack in her purse and I had a lighter in my bag.

Being unable to brush my teeth is one thing, forced to go without smoking is another.

Humans would be a step closer in wisdom to the apes if they never considered such things, but from what we know, for several thousand years humans have tried to find ways to bang their brains against the walls of their skulls in order to determine who is the captain of the vessel I was on. We can more or less decide that the patients are the passengers, and the nurses, doctors, and all the rest, including the guy who left the french fries from lunch out on their own gurney overnight, are the sailors, keeping the ship from foundering.

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Which one are you? Right: these are your only choices.

Nurses probably have the most control over the success or failure, the actual nature, of the voyage. We know that no institutional voyage produces extraordinary sailors; the piranhic nibbling of the quotidian is impossible to defend against. Yet we know that certain attributes of the society where the voyage takes place can affect the constitution of the sailors. The nurses, therefore, in the United States, are known to be – on average – less empathetic, imaginative, and intelligent, than those in most countries that are not currently having a war fought in their territory. In Slovenia, this context includes Titoismus, the, in real terms untermable, the unquantifiable yet very very real, in all terms real and otherwise process that took place after World War II in Yugoslavia, by which a land ruled by a dictator who was at times brutal, at times whimsically nasty, at times downright unfair, nibbled away less of the finer nature of the resident humans than nearly any country on Earth during that time AND to such an extent that many decades after Tito’s death, after a savage war that allowed savage interventions, the rending of Yugoslavia itself into things like Slovenias, the people still retain more of the finer nature of the human than in almost any place on the globe.

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I know, enjoy it while it lasts.

One manifestation of Titoismus is that nurses are often on the side of the smoker against the blind absolute dictatorial edict of the hierarchs of the ship. The problem I did not foresee when a smiling nurse indicated she understood my need for a smoke (it had been many hours and I had smoke but two or three earlier in the day–I just needed one to satisfy the addiction) was that the hospital had undergone a great deal of reconstruction since my last lengthy voyage and I had, as it turned out, no idea how to exit the building. Luckily, I was not alone  download3

I had my five-legged rolling drip for a companion. We were on the third floor, went down to 0, where the action gets hottest during the day and where most doors are, but it turned out the former entrance was now just a couple sets of closed and inoperable sliding doors. They were near the emergency entrance, but as construction of institutions and other large buildings such as airports in recent decades has emphasized mystery, preventing the uninitiated from understanding the overall of the operations, the emergency entrance was impossible to reach from the inside for non-sailors.

The hospital is huge, but we had not yet worried about this. Obviously there would be an entrance and exit on the other side of the building. By the time I found it, it was after 10 p.m., which may have meant nothing, but the area was abandoned and the doors did not work for us. I later found that they had been having troubles, so it is unjust to conclude that I had been locked in.

Though I had effectively been locked in.

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Here we find a test of humanity. Those who relent at this point are beyond saving. We were not. The first or second floor was an option if we could find an empty room and open the balcony doors, but it seemed a better idea to try -1, which, I figured, might not be entirely underground.

Nor is it. But that does not mean there was an unlocked exit down there.

We had walked some number of kilometers by the time I decided the time had come to look not for an exit, but for a safe place to smoke. That, of course, would definitely be found, if anywhere, on -1. And naturally we drifted toward the farthest corner we could reach, finally coming upon this:

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We had just passed ‘Garderoba 2,’ the door of which was slightly ajar…I kept that in mind but moved on. Perhaps there was an exit in this forlorn corner of the building.

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But this seemed to be the end. Look: no handle, no middle slice to indicate sliding. But now look at this:

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The sliding was up and down! Not only that, it was so rapid that there was a sign warning of it. I think it was to the right on the picture above this one. It was so fascinating we went through and back twice (I knew it was some risk going through the first time, there being no guarantee of being allowed to return…but the smoker is a bold species. Perhaps they would find me in the morning, or on Monday, the pack empty, shivering, out cold, at the point with no disembarkation…My friend stoic beside me.

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The door shut behind us, this truly was the end of the line. Heavy aluminum doors with one locked handle. To the left you can just make out a dumbwaiter.

There was a great pulse of enormous industry ground to a halt about this space, not unpleasant under the circumstances…rather like a more typical vessel passing at night so close as to nearly scrape against the rock walled castle that did nothing but provide a theatre for slaughter after slaughter…

I sat next to the dumbwaiter and enjoyed a cigarette.

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Can you see it?

No?

Here:

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right down to the filter.

I suppose I philosophized a bit, took stock of ‘things’. One interesting aspect of the metaphor attending to the journey is that the light was not at the end of the tunnel, but back by the danger door.

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Back in the room

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I reclined and to my surprise, felt what is best described as the apex experience of the opium addict, the moment of optimal combination of perceived clarity and well-being.

I don’t know

I guess time

time

becomes a lazy contortionist

And there’s the night nature of the vessel itself that appears during the day when things that cannot happen do not and things that can cannot, while the few impossible become

or happen

like, verifiably untrue was the fact that I received a message from my Uzbeki acquaintance Arslan Levantinov that night, mysteriously reassuring me that I had not been poisoned ‘…I mean in case you have already received by what we call camel my letter regarding the country of your birth.’

Because the thing isdownload5

I did not have my telephone with me that night. I recall thinking of it when we left for the hospital and deciding ‘for what.’ It was only the next afternoon, when my family delegation arrived that I had my phone. So the message must have come on the second night.

but in a hospital during the quiet of night the metaphor becomes hyper-real, things underwater stand on the ground

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and what is more perseveringly disconcerting than not knowing who your friends are?

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Next to me, Govorović began to grow talkative. Looking straight up, he spoke too garbled for me to make out much–at one point he did say ‘porco dio’, but without stress, and he did say quite a lot. My mood was light for a philosopher, so I was not disturbed by these night declamations, not even when I had my head on the pillow, was turned to foetal left, and

GRAČIVORGERGENŠNEKŠČNEKŽENSKEMDREKBHGRRRRRHMAČČČČECKPORCODIO

I answered, telling him how sometimes you have no idea when you’re a writer if you’re talking to anybody, in fact I have a book I finished last year, the best work I’ve ever done and what’s frustrating is the satire is playing out every day and the bo0k is being seen by no one, nor

and he was silent as if in listening response.

and he spoke again

Thinking of the cigarette adventure I tried, ‘NO SANCTUARY’ and he seemed amused enough in my imagination I tried it a few more times, and I was sleeping so I can’t remember all the good lines, but we spoke of the communication of birds who needed no language, so no no don’t get me wrong, please go on, but from a philosophical view is language really

a missing leg*

*see legs

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The device to be used to call a nurse hung above my head like a proto free range telephone, and as if factoried in, I awoke at 4:30 to see that my dripping bag was ipso facto not as it were empty and I pressed a button that summoned the nurse who replied “4:30” and when I pointed to the empty bag disconnected it and connected the backup bag factotumtorily.

That was a hospital voyage alarm clock, which is, like the very sea–that’s what I had been…getting my sealegs–fluid, even if most of us have our flimsical psychotropic moments when we are certain this or that, probably that, is behind the timing of everything, with particular and astute attention paid to that which is least what cannot be said.

One trick I learned: In the declared morning, when it is dark outside, all glass between inside and out is covered and all lights are on. In certain parts of the declared daytime all glass between outside and inside is covered and all lights are on.

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Above is the kidney, something like the bladder, and, highlighted, the stomach, which is shaped like a kidney, or kidney bean.

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AUTOCENSOR EFFECTED

Bluntnosed rhino rhamming kidney rhemoved from site.

Much ado is adone.

Rhecal mode:

Nurse in false dawn

drip dripped new drip

morning

rhino attack and rhoaches parading in stomach at same time, scissors

nurses

my friend

on knees hugging friend

nurhses disappear, frhiend remains tenacious as fiend

laborlevel pains

olympics

3 to -1 roundtrip on canvas assed wheeled chair, bobsledder expert sailor running the vehicle, manikinned poses in pain beyond typology

relief, records, parades called off for second scan

Kidney stopped, or had stopped

Tune in tomorrow. Remember, this is sunday.  The lecture on simultaneous bleedout, constipation, stomach rhazor roach march, kidney exeunt, bladder blow full stoppage was last weekend

“So, you mean I have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out? What time is it now?”

“11 a.m.”

“So, I have to

“we’re afraid so”

What were they afraid of, exactly?

So I told the family delegation

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And then there were one.

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” I looked at him he looked at me all I could do was hate him ” but I couldn’t tell who was pogueing who

point properly proposed

please proceed to probables: pick yer paisan: porpetto prose: pure purplyred to pink to painless, a mere gasp of a kidney

prognosis precedes diagnoses:

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At the meeting no one ratted.

The pains is gone. The pain are gone.

THE PAIN ARGON

Can we move in for a close up of the anti-climax here? Just a little closer.

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Add endum: shit, man, I forgot about the fourth guy in the room, the one they wouldn’t feed and who they feared was spreading something airborne that might put us in quarantine who, Gospod Canonović, who, under the conductorship of Mister Mislimović combined with Mr. Govorović to render an extraordinary midnight concert I woke up to just as it finished, the first, and perhaps last, performance of Gospod Mislimović and his A Capella Night-time all-Nephro Trio!

UZBEKISTAN LETTERS: PUTIN PRANKS TRUMP

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Funny Guys, Report from the Inner Circles of the Moscow/Tashkent Axis

Uzbekistan Letters: Putin Pranks Trump

It came as no surprise when Shavkat Mirziyoyev ‘was named’ successor to Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, and, in fact, in the few months since his succession there have been few surprises. His first foreign visit was more in the nature of a weekend trip—to Vladimir Putin’s dacha outside Moscow—than an actual state visit, and in the meantime he has been slowly resuscitating his friends who fell afoul of the favors of Karimov, though not to worry, experts predict that the prison population will be steadied once his grip on power is thoroughly secured and he feels comfortable imprisoning his own enemies and competitors.

What did come as a surprise was not that his first state visit was again to Moscow, but rather the timing of it, as he and Mr. Putin behaved like old drinking buddies, drinking (reportedly) liter after liter of vodka as the last days of the United States presidential election wound down and on November 8 the great event took place, Donald J. Trump becoming the president-elect of the ‘leader of the free world’, as the two leaders repeatedly referred to the post, giggling all the while.

Though Mr. Mirziyoyev speaks more than passable Engish, his choice of co-chief foreign advisor, the successful travel minister, Arslan Levantinov, suggests an acute interest in affairs West, and it was Mr. Levantinov who was present during the congratulatory phone call Mr. Trump received from Mr. Putin. The following account is nearly word for word, as recalled from a phone call I received from my friend Arslan the very same night, after the two dignitaries finally passed out.

So it went more or less like this. Putin calls Tump, Shavkat, like a little kid jerking on a leash keeps pulling at Putin’s sleeve, ‘Let me talk to him, let me talk to him…’ until, just as the call makes it through, Putin says, fuck it, and gives Mirziyoyev the phone.

SM: Mr. Trump.

DT: Wonderful. Big, thank you, Vladimir, Mr. Putin.

SM: So you recognize me—my…my voice, sir. Mr. President, if it is not too early to refer to your highness as such.

DT: I hear you loud and clear. You know my vodka—yes, president. You know my vodka, you told me—

SM: Yes, we are all drinking to your victory, sir. We are drinking vodka.

DT: That’s—We are, Mar—We, my kids and their—all of us here. We raise a glass to you as well, Mr. Putin. You know how much you have meant to us all.

SM: Yes, yes, we know that we are to look forward on a new epoxy [whispers), epoch of relations between not only our countries as such, as such, we—Donald?

DT: Yes, Vladimir.

SM: Still there?

DT: Yes, I am here, and let me tell you it is big, big here, a big thing—

SM: About the new epoch

DT: We certainly have.

SM: First thing, Donald—I believe first name basis is best, as such…

DT: Vladimir.

SM: Donald, warming relations, as such, you are aware that out best ally to the, what direction…Same direction for you and me as well, Donald. First thing, and please do not linger over false reports. Donald, I would like you to give special—

DT: I’m sorry, Vladimir, hard to…yes honey, tell them I’m on the phone—

SM: all due respect as such I know you are on the phone as it is to me on the phone you are with, Mr—

DT: …talking to Ivanka and her mother. Sorry, yes, Vladimir—

SM: It is I who am sorry, as we here are so happy it is perhaps too much vodka as such that has been consumed.

DT: Well, Vladimir, then I would like to thank you for the call. We will do big things together—

SM: I’m not done, Donald. I was speaking of our ally to the south, east, or you know down and away. The gallant, as such, the reputable nation, our number one ally as of, Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan Donald. Can you remember that?

DT: Write this down, kid. How do you spell that, Vladimir?

DT,SM: U-Z-B-E-K-I-S-T-A-N.

DT: Like Koranistan. Right.

SM: Kor—Yes, as such, the same only with different beginning ending in stan. Donald?

DT: Vlad?

SM: Much trade between our–your countries is possible. Big trade. Wonderful. Huge things.

DT: That’s my—

SM: Democrats of your good country have mixed us, I mean Uz–you know, our friends, Uzbekistan, with a different stan, probably Turkmenistan or your Koranistan. Bad things have been said and some restrictions of trade as such have been—

DT: I am the boss now, Vladimir. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.

‘So by now Vladimir Putin is purple with laughter, suppressed laughter and just in time he slaps the phone away from Mr. Mirziyoyev so Donald Trump does not hear him blurt out with a sort of affecting triumphant humor: I pissed my pants, Shavvy!’

JUST IN FROM UZBEKISTAN: KILLER CLOWN DISRUPTS ‘CABINET’ MEETING

Apparently just yesterday the powers that be in Tashkent met to appoint the successor to the unsucceedable Islam Karimov, when the proceedings were quickly interrupted and boilded into chaos when a knife-wielding clown, likely the same that had been rampaging from Finland down to Estonia, apparently on his way to Uzbekistan. Luckily, my friend Arslan Levantinov was in the room and was able to give me this brief not:

Rick,

It was chaos. I know nothing. We had just been seated and Gulnara was calling for order, having just dashed in from the ladies, when this masked giant broke in and began flinging mineral water bottles about, tossing some into the air and slicing them in two with a very sharp knife that appeared to be an Andujar Bowie Special.  A ring of the nearest pols spread into the next circle and brawling ensued…I managed to snap one photo. (Security was unaccountably absent!)

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God knows what is next for our country.

Arslan