Nonfiction

Seized by Insanity

Seized by Insanity

“You all, who will emerge out of the flood In which we have drowned, Remember When you speak of our weaknesses Also the dark time From which you’ve escaped.” —Bertolt Brecht, “To Future Generations” Translation by Terence Renaud 1. “memento mori” The madness began in the fall of 2000, after General Ariel Sharon swaggered up…

Wake

Wake

1. “A crack in the walls that ordinarily hem us in.”[1] On September 7, 2017, minutes before midnight, I was alone in a borrowed house when something began to shift: an indeterminate sensation of motion, like lapping waves. I did what I had learned to do as a child, growing up in Kuwait: I looked…

As Big as You Make It Out to Be

As Big as You Make It Out to Be

In May 2009, a year after I graduated from college, I found myself in a mangrove swamp thirty miles east of Haikou, the capital city of China’s southernmost province, Hainan Island, standing atop a massive, concrete floodgate. With me were six reporters from a Cantonese television station, the CEO of one of China’s largest telecommunications…

George and Henry and Sardari

George and Henry and Sardari

In December of 1936, George Orwell, on his way to fight in the Spanish Civil War, stopped in Paris, where he had a chat with Henry Miller. It would be the two writers’ only encounter. Neither was particularly well-known or financially secure at the time. Miller had published Tropic of Cancer two years prior, but…

Hello Kitty

I’m early again, so I sit idling in the parking lot, watching the young boys shoot baskets through the chain-link fence. My windows are open with the AC blowing at my knees on low. I just want to feel the wind on my face, but I can’t stand this heat right now, not when I’m…

Tinkles

She was seven and having her bacon and orange juice in the kitchen on North Kings Road in West Hollywood. Behind her and above the sink the jalousies were angled open. Outside were palm and hibiscus and there was weather. You could hear it. She looked at me and stopped chewing. Me at that age…

Caramelo

Caramelo

Circa 1960, in an early recording with La Sonora Matancera, Cuban songstress Celia Cruz belts out a street vendor’s tongue-twister offering candy by the kilo. Los traigo de coco y piña, de limón y miel de abeja. I’ve got coconut and pineapple, lemon and bees’ honey. De piña para las niñas y los de miel…