Fiction and Drama

Not the Backward-Glancing Comrade

Not the Backward-Glancing Comrade

On Ece Temelkuran

Temelkuran, a generation removed from Gürbılek, represents something else: not the backward-glancing comrade but the daughter of one, born in 1973, raised in Izmir by a social-democrat father and Maoist mother. It’d be hard to think of a more consummate figure of what a true Turkish “new left” would look like: democratic socialist, feminist, with books on the legacies of the Armenian genocide, on the Arab Spring, on the Latin American pink tide (untranslated), chapters and articles on Kurdish politics, nearly three million Twitter followers and a vast, sui generis facility with the media. A New Left Review essay one day—a TED talk the next.

White People Anonymous

White People Anonymous

So again, cis people won, but this was unsurprising.

The story had gone away after that. A local organization for trans women of color, one that Penny had been a part of, put up a billboard in her honor at Tulane and Broad for a while, a smiling cartoon of her backed by the shadowy stone walls of the courthouse, looking down from curtains of text that informed New Orleans about the details of her murder. Patience’s errands only rarely took her that far south on Broad, but she’d felt peaceful and still, seeing it. She basked in the care evidenced by the billboard like it was sunlight, like she was a voyeur, as she rolled (infrequently) past it, let herself wonder what other people in other cars thought of it, allowed herself to believe that they could read text announcing the murder of a black trans woman with grace, at least with something besides indignation or contempt. At least not contempt, she prayed.

Estación Origen MADRID

Estación Origen MADRID

“I’m really up for anything,” she said.

The night romance of the city made little differences sparkle. I kept encountering things I didn’t quite know how to see: suet studded with cloves? A row of shuttered windows painted crimson. A toy store lit only with candles, crowded with grown-ups moving and talking among dolls and dinosaurs, stickers and blocks, potholder looms and simplified puzzle maps. I thought I saw reflected water flickering: the bay so close you hear it slap the boat ramp. For a moment I stood near dripping stacks of traps, an overlooked crab still struggling in one.

The Keeper

The Keeper

There are habits one gives up on breaking

When the worrying got too intense, Dorothy had a choice of palliatives arrayed in pouncing distance of the saggy patient sofa: stress balls, beads, figurines for rubbing and handling, various-size pillows for pounding and embracing, and the eternal tissue box, draped in its hand-knitted elephant-gray cover. The box was always full. The therapist must be keeping watch on the box’s levels. Dorothy respected her attention to detail. Fullness, plenitude, preparedness, a material well of empathy—excellent clinical values all. But where did the therapist hide the half-full boxes? Or did she cram new tissues into the same old box between sessions?

Insurance

Insurance

Liberal people, but probably the kind who never talk to a man like him unless something in their house gets broken.

Three children and two parents fastened their seatbelts. All five, pale and glum, looked straight ahead. No one spoke. The Broadway musical had been an expensive mistake involving water and darkness and lasers and stunningly loud sound effects. Mom put her hand on Dad’s arm. He glanced back to see that the kids were belted in. The engine turned over; she pulled out.

Baby Goes to Erik’s Hometown

Baby Goes to Erik’s Hometown

I was far more comfortable with grandiose nihilism.

In the living room, three dirty men sat on the floor in front of a television. They were playing a video game on a Nintendo system that looked different than the one I remembered. The game was definitely Super Mario Brothers, but the graphics were too good for Super Mario Brothers, and besides, since when did Mario ride on the back of a green lizard?

Kylie Wears Balmain

Kylie Wears Balmain

Behold, the whole of America

But here, looking through The Magazine, she worries this may have been a mistake. Behold, inside, the whole of America: fashion knockoffs, “diets that work,” stratified wealth, divorce, couture latex, infidelity, single moms, contouring, God, fame, infamy. She thinks, All I have to do is check the facts.

Paranoir

Paranoir

What is this Committee that you speak of?

We are filled with joy that you take your riding examination today. From such surmounting of physical boundaries do we prepare ourselves to traverse thresholds where matter dissolves into spirit, where time and space fall away, and where the glorious universe reveals itself to us in its infinite shades of compassion and love. A horse may be just a horse, but for you it is only the first of your many vahanas. You will not fail.

No. 32

No. 32

I was of the museum generation

We exist in a society of complex gestures, all running along their own time; we are all interrupting, witnessing, performing simultaneously, and this was much easier to accept and discern when it was believed that all of our movement happened upon an unmoving ground, when it was believed that the ground itself was a dense impaction of dirt and sediment, when we didn’t think about the ground.

Miriam

Miriam

She knew no balm for oddness

Growing up, Miriam surmised, was the process by which one became opaque to God, and this was why nobody could read her mother’s mind, or the elders’. Miriam thought of egg whites clouding in a frying pan, and wondered whether she would still have evil thoughts when no one else could see them.

Camilla and the Horse

Camilla and the Horse

“This is going to be expensive,” I tell him, “you are conducting an expensive conversation.”

I wish I was Žižek. Žižek can get everything to make sense, if I had been Žižek now, right now, I would be lying in a Punic bordello having a fucking match with Houellebecq, the whores would not be trafficked, just glo-ba-lized—can you hear it being sung by Gregorian monks, or maybe a eunuch: glo-ba-lized pro-sti-tutes.