Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Encounters with an anti-Semite


I took my son to school this morning but we took a different path, and as we were approaching the school gates, I told him to go ahead and I would be right behind him, and he, innocently, went ahead with me walking a few steps behind him. My son is unaware of what’s going on but he’s catching up on things quickly and he knows that it has something to do with the anti-Semitic fake blonde. I’ve actually decided to write a long story of how we met her and how she ended up being a part of our lives (but more about that later on).
Anyway, back to this morning: My son made his way to school with me walking right behind him while my wife and daughter stayed at home. All this stalking has made my wife a bit uncomfortable so I decided to take my son to school and show my face to the anti-Semitic fake blonde and her idiotic boyfriend. As my son was getting close to the school gates, I looked to my right and I saw them; the anti-Semitic fake blonde and her idiotic boyfriend inside their car, waiting for my wife and children. They saw my son straight away and the anti-Semite’s boyfriend turned the engine on and advanced forward, ready to beep the car horn and make my wife uncomfortable, but they got the scare of a lifetime when they saw me instead, and she, the anti-Semitic fake blonde, hid her face when she saw me, while he, poor fool who can’t even tell that what he’s doing is wrong, looked at me with a scared look in his eyes. This time there was no beeping the horn, no waving. Instead, he looked away while she kept her head down. My family and I are starting to get tired of these encounters with this anti-Semite and we sincerely hope this comes to an end soon. We’ve told the police about them, the school knows about them, and I’ve written about it. Now let’s just hope that this is the end of it all.


My books flights/choices and This is Not the End are available on Amazon

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

anti-Semitism makes me even more Jewish


The anti-Semitic fake blonde and her untalented boyfriend keep stalking my wife and my children. This morning they were waiting in their car next to my son’s new school, and when my wife and children were arriving at the school’s gate, the anti-Semitic fake blonde and her moronic boyfriend drove past my family and beeped their car horn. To drive past my child’s school they have to go out of their way but why are they doing this?
My wife reported it to the school and she had witnesses who saw it all, people who work at the school, and they’ve told her that if this keeps happening the school will report the anti-Semitic fake blonde to the police. Good.
I really don’t know why this woman and her boyfriend don’t like us. As I wrote in a few lines of my book flights/choices, the anti-Semitic fake blonde seems to have a problem with my Jewishness, maybe with all kinds of Jews; Reform, Orthodox, Hasidic; you name it and she probably hates us all, but funnily enough her anti-Semitism makes me even more Jewish. And instead of pushing me away from my faith, anti-Semitism makes me wanna embrace Judaism even more. Because of Judaism I know who I am. Sadly enough, I also know what kind of person the anti-Semitic fake blonde is.
Maybe she hates me because of my faith.
Maybe she hates me because I have faith.
Maybe she hates me because she doesn’t know how to love.
Whatever the reason is I don’t care. And I don’t care about her either, but if she keeps on playing these silly games we will have to involve the police. And then what?
More trouble for this poor Jewish writer, but only for a little while, and afterwards maybe we’ll consider moving. But where to? Hopefully somewhere where my Jewishness won’t be a problem.


My book flights/choices is available on Amazon

Friday, 27 March 2015

The anti-Semitic Blonde’s Pursuit of Stupidity

Extract from my book flights/choices, available on Amazon


The anti-Semitic blonde is at it again, back at being stupid, feeding her son’s head with stupidity, unaware that what she does now will have its consequences later on and her child won’t know right from wrong. But the anti-Semitic blonde is jealous; jealous and bitter; jealous of the world, of those who have more than her, jealous of me, poor Jewish writer that I am, and she’s bitter and twisted; oh, so bitter and twisted, poor woman. A broken marriage behind her, she went from man to man in pursuit of happiness, sucking penis after penis, spitting the semen out, maybe swallowing a bit of it; but she likes it (the semen), and she can’t avoid being stupid.
She wants to be an artist but her heart is so bitter; bitter, bitter, bitter, bitterness, bite, bit, bite this; so bitter, and because of it her art finds no way out of her system. Instead she lets out hate.


Once upon a time she had a dream, and maybe she went in search of it, but now she’s too busy hating and envying, and she finds time to do nothing else. There’s a new man in her life, a poet who is becoming as bitter as her. But I’ve seen doubt in his eyes and I can tell he’s having second thoughts about their relationship. Little by little, the anti-Semitic blonde pushes everyone away, even those who love her. And then what will you do, my little, bitter, twisted, hateful creature?


A few months ago her boy told my son that his sister –my daughter- was a midget, but my daughter isn’t a midget. She’s a baby. But the anti-Semitic, fake-blonde, face-covered-in-spots is so blinded by hatred that she doesn’t even stop to think about what she’s saying, what she’s doing; what she’s doing and saying to her son. She’s filling her poor boy’s head with lies and hatred. Doesn’t she think about tomorrow? What kind of man will her son be when he’s fed only hate?
My son ignored the other boy’s remarks. We’ve taught him better; thank G-d for that.
Once she saw that her hate and comments weren’t really working, she went a bit quiet. But then she sees happiness in others, happiness that could also be hers if she weren’t too busy pursuing stupidity, and she goes crazy. And her heart gets filled with hate; hate towards the Jews, the Muslims, the Mormons, the world, and she starts filling her son’s head with more stupidity. And so the poor boy’s heart gets filled with hate. And he approaches my son and says, “Your mother is fat.”
My son shrugs his shoulders and says nothing. What’s the point of replying to stupidity?

And no, my wife isn’t fat. She’s Jewish and I’m Jewish too. But most of all, we’re in love, and the anti-Semitic blonde can’t bear that. She’s too busy pursuing stupidity and because of that, love slips her by.

Author’s desk

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A year in space


Two astronauts are heading off to space tomorrow to spend a year on the International Space Station. Imagine that; a year away from everyone?
No sex for a year?
That doesn’t sound too good.
What will they do for entertainment?
I’m sure they must have lots of books and records on the ISS. Sex dolls too? What about coffee?
Scott Kelly, American, and Mikhail Kornierko’s, Russian, stay will last six months longer than the typical mission, and that will let experts learn more about the health risks of living outside gravity, how it will affect our cells, our bones and muscles of having no force to push against, and this will be crucial when/if humans travel to Mars.
Mark Kelly, Scott’s twin, himself also an astronaut, will remain on Earth but he is also part of the study as experts will use him to help them work out whether changes in his brother’s body are down to ageing or being on the ISS. Who said an astronaut’s life is an easy one?
Anyway, I wish all the best to the two astronauts.

My book Pussy-Foot about astronauts, life on Earth and Mars, is out on Amazon

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Humanity?


These people at work, they walk past you and they don’t talk, not even if you greet them. You’re a position, not a human being. They have status, not humanity. They only speak with you when they need a favour but seconds later, after the favour is done, they ignore you straight away.
These people at work, they aren’t human.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Suicide Club

Extract from my book This is Not the End




8: The suicide club


It started like some kind of plague, an epidemic disaster, a virus, dare I even say a fashion, and, until then, something like that was unheard of. Around the world, in places like Tokyo, Osaka, Texas, Marseille, Toronto and even Beijing, thirty five teenagers hanged themselves on the same day, probably at the same time too, leaving behind no notes, no clues whatsoever for their suicides.  None of the teenagers died alone. They were all in groups of two, three and even four, and at first no one could explain what made them all do this, this collective suicide, but then rumours started to spread online about suicide clubs, suicide holidays, suicide for the needy, and that’s when the world found out that there was a large amount of online suicide clubs where people could chat and give advice on how to choose the best way to reave themselves of their lives. And a person didn’t even have to die alone. You could arrange to meet up with others and commit collective suicide. One of those websites was called alt.suicide.holiday, or “ash” if you couldn’t be bothered to say the whole name, and the members of this virtual community called themselves “Ashers”, and in there you could find some “good” tips on how to poison yourself with carbon monoxide. Definitely not a site for happy people.

With time, due to pressure from the government and mostly from people who lost beloved ones to suicide, some of those suicide clubs were abolished, but, nonetheless, collective suicide was still happening throughout the world. There was also the case of Hiroshi Maeue who proposed to someone online that they kill themselves together, and then he tied the person with ropes in a car, in this case a woman, and choked her to death. Two other victims, a 21-year-old college student and a 14-year-old high school student, were similarly dispatched by monster Hiroshi. On July 28th, 2009, Hiroshi was hanged in Osaka. Four years and a few months later my brother Lester committed suicide alongside three other strangers. That’s when I found out about the BogMan.

 

 

I already knew that Lester was suffering from depression but I didn’t know it was that bad. Or maybe I was too busy with my own life to even care for my younger brother. Yes, I guess that’s what happened.

Even as a child Lester was usually in a depressive mood, always talking about death and going to the other side, and he hated the world and his life, the suffering of many people around him. He once, accidentally, stepped on a snail outside our house and then burst into tears. By the time he was 19-years-old, just before he went to university, he was already on medication; Prozac and “shit”, going through life looking like a zombie.

I guess our parents were in some part to blame for that because while they gave me a lot of their love and time, by the time they had Lester they were too tired to give him anything apart from grief, and even as a baby, when he cried for milk, our mother would sigh deeply and curse before, reluctantly, seeing to Lester’s needs. I was ten-years-old by the time Lester was born, and the reason why there’s such a big gap between us both is because our parents didn’t wanted to have a second child. Lester was an “accident” and my parents hated “accidents”.

Because of that big age gap between us I didn’t had a lot to do with my brother, and by the time I was twenty (and my brother was ten) I was already living away from home. Our worlds were different but I’d like to think I loved him. I’m sure I loved him, didn’t I?

Did I really?

Did I love him enough?

And if I did how come I wasn’t there for him when he needed me?

My parents didn’t have a lot to do with Lester’s upbringing. They simply hired a couple of nannies to look after him and left him to them. Everything he learned he learnt it from his nannies, not from our parents.

On the last talk we had over the phone I remember him saying, “Our parents gave you all the love they had and I was left with nothing.”

That was such a terrible thing to say –but it was true- and I didn’t know what to say apart from a feeble, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Lester said and afterwards he said he had to go.

On the next day I got a call from our mother saying that Lester was dead.

When I heard her saying that he was gone, my heart seemed to freeze temporarily and I found it hard to breathe. For a brief moment I thought I was going to drop dead too. Over the phone mother told me what happened and how Lester’s body was found in car along with three other people.

“The police said it was collective suicide,” she said. And then she said something else, and something else after that, and more words were coming out of her mouth but I was too confused to say a thing.

I remembered my brother’s last call to me, his soft voice on the phone, and then I saw him as a child, always sitting in a corner of his own, watching TV on his own, reading on his own, studying on his own, going through life always on his own, without anyone to guide him, to love him. Only in death did he have someone with him.

“Are you there?” my mother asked and I said, “Yes.”

“Are you feeling alright? I didn’t thought the two of you were that close,” she said, and I detected nothing in her speech, not a hint of sadness.

Poor Lester, I’d failed you too, my little brother.

I put the phone down and I lit a cigarette. Mother called me back and asked, “What the hell was that for?”

“How do you feel, mother?” I asked. “How do you feel now that Lester’s gone? Do you even miss him?”

My questions were followed by a long silence, and while I waited for mother to say something I scanned the room where I was, my small living room, a room surrounded with expensive technology, large shelves filled with books, DVDs and CDs that went up to the ceiling, a couple of plants that needed to be watered, and I felt suffocated in that room so I put the phone down for the second time and I went out. Before I left the apartment I grabbed my coat, my mobile phone, a small notepad and a pen, my pack of cigarettes, a few coins that were lying around, and then I went out for a walk.

 

 

For the next forty minutes or so it looked as if I was walking without direction, and the buildings around me looked so ugly, like gigantic stone monsters that were coming back to life, while the faces of the people looked distorted.

A mother and a daughter walked past me, and, accidentally, I brushed against the woman without even noticing it, so lost was I in my own thoughts and tribulations as I mourned my brother, and the woman turned to me and said, “Weirdo.”

I looked at her, and then at her daughter, and the little girl stuck her tongue out, aiming it at me with venom. The child was ugly, as ugly as her mother, and I wanted to say something back, at least apologise for having bumped into the older woman, but they gave me their backs and kept on walking. Then, seconds later, while I was still looking at the mother and daughter, a young man came running out of a shopping mall, holding in his hands a lady’s bag and a mobile phone, and he was being pursued by a fat security guard and a woman wearing a white blouse and a short blue skirt, both of them shouting, “Stop! Stop!” and when the woman tried to come down the steps, one of the heels of her shoes broke, she slipped over, and then rolled all the way down, like a scene in a movie, and those of us who witnessed it all saw her as she tumbled and rolled and screamed, and the fat security guard kept giving chase, not stopping to help the woman because he had a duty to do. The woman’s legs were covered in blood and someone came over to help her, and then more people started to come out of the shopping mall, not to help the woman but to see what was happening, and we all saw the security guard run slowly up the road while the young criminal was almost out of sight, and then the security guard stopped, his hands rested on his knees as he looked down, and then he sat straight just before he collapsed on the ground. So now there was a woman bleeding on the floor and a security guard lying on the floor, probably hit by a stroke, all of this happening on the day that I heard my brother had died.

I heard sirens not that far from where I was, followed by shots, and I kept on walking, up the road I went, and I walked past the security guard, his face by now pale, death-like, and I saw someone applying first aid to him but he wasn’t moving, and a few meters ahead I saw the police standing around a body, blood on the floor, blood running slowly along the dirty pavement, and I saw a woman’s bag on the floor; its contents lying on the floor; lipstick, a small box of tissues, coins, a pocket watch, and as I was staring at it a cop put his arm around me and told me to move on because there was nothing there to see, and when he said that I looked him in the eye and said, “Right,” which was the wrong thing to see.

Another cop came to see what was happening but I kept on walking while both cops kept staring at me.

I walked past an old building where I used to work many years ago; its glass front door had been smashed by vandals or drunks or someone else (a junkie? An old employee?), and I saw a man inside the building shouting at a woman. I couldn’t hear what he was saying but I saw his mouth wide open, his face as red as a tomato, and he was waving his hands in front of the woman, looking as if he was ready to punch her. The woman had her head down and she looked as if she could burst into tears at any given time. I lit a cigarette and I stood there, in front of the glass door, staring at the woman and the man. He had on a black suit and a white shirt, the last two buttons undone, and she had on a black skirt, a few inches just over the knees, a white shirt too, and a black cardigan. The man’s mouth then stopped moving and he stamped his right foot on the floor before walking away. And even after he was gone the woman just stood there, head down, and she looked as if she was waiting for the floor to come alive and swallow her. She stood there for a few minutes, just staring at the floor, shoulders hunched forward, and no one said a word to her. I was about to reach the end of the cigarette when she finally looked up, and then she looked at me. And she looked sad. Really sad. And I walked away.

 

 

I walked all the way towards the house where my brother used to live, some place downtown where a lot of artists and junkies or a mixture of both lived. I pressed the doorbell and I waited. Seconds later a thin, old woman opened the front door, and when she saw me she smiled, and afterwards she hugged me. I just stood there, cold as a rock, taking it all in. The woman, who happened to be the landlady, said, “I’m sorry.” Then she said, “I’m so sorry.”  And afterwards she said a lot of other stuff but I was too numb to pay attention to what she was saying.

Finally, to my relief, she stopped talking, but then she stared at me for a few seconds and it looked like she could see right through me, see what a fake I was, a cold and cruel and cynical man, and I felt scared, I felt like crying, but only briefly. Mistaking confusion for sadness, she took my hand and led me to my brother’s room. She opened the door and left me there on my own.

I stood there for a few seconds, outside the room, scanning the inside of the room with tired eyes. Strangely enough, seeing how much I had walked just to get there, I felt as if I shouldn’t go inside the room. As weird as it may sound I even thought I heard a voice inside me saying, “Keep away. There’s evil here. Keep away.”

I took a step forward. And another. And another. And...

The place was spotless, a contrast to mine I might add; Lester had always been a very tidy person, with books neatly pilled on a desk, records (vinyl by the way) stacked properly and neatly inside a square IKEA plastic box, magazines in Muji boxes, etc. His large bedroom was, indeed, a contrast to my messy apartment.

There were no pictures of him lying around or any pictures of any of us; me, mum, dad, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a friend, nothing. It was almost as if Lester had no one, and that, sadly, had probably been the case. As I stood there in the middle of the room, surrounded by his things, I suddenly realised that I didn’t even knew his date of birth. We were strangers in every sense of the way, related only by blood. I scanned the titles of every single book he had as I tried to search for answers, for some kind of clues, but answers for what and what kind of clues?

Lester had been lonely and we all had failed him. What else did I need to know?

Most of his books had depressing tittles or were depressing or looked depressed, and I had read none of them. Or most of them.

 

The books were:

 

Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why

Socrates Adams – Everything’s Fine

Anonymous – Go Ask Alice

Tao Lin – Eeeee Eee Eeee

Tao Lin – Bed

Tao Lin – Shoplifting from American Apparel

Michael Thomas Ford – Suicide Notes

Erlend Loe – Naïve. Super

Joanna Kenrick – Red Tears

Sam Pink – Person

Noah Cicero – The Human War

Noah Cicero – Best Behaviour

Caroline Kettlewell – Skin Game

Howard Buten – When I was five I killed myself

Patricia McCormick – Cut

Peter Wild – The Passenger

Melissa P. – The Scent of your Breath

Elizabeth Wurtzel – Prozac Nation

Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar

Rick Springfield – Late, Late at Night

John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

Andrew Kaufman – The Waterproof Bible

Ben Lerner – Leaving the Atocha Station

Edwidge Danticat – Breath, Eyes, Memory

Blake Butler – Scorch Atlas

Knut Hamsun – Hunger

Henry Miller – Black Spring

Henry Miller – Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller – Tropic of Capricorn

 

 

I only knew the books by Miller, Hamsun and Plath.

“Who was this stranger?” I wondered.

“Who was this strange man that read these strange books?”

I opened a drawer and saw socks and underwear; normal socks and plain underwear, nothing kinky or strange. I opened another drawer and saw t-shirts, long sleeves, short sleeves, all plain and dull, lifeless, just like Lester. I searched around the room for something but what?

What was I looking for?

Redemption?

Forgiveness?

An excuse for my coldness towards my own brother?

All of it?

There was nothing under his bed, nothing under the pillows, nothing (but clothes) on the small wardrobe.

I looked on his desk for something, anything that could explain me why, why did he do it, but isn’t loneliness and despair reason enough for someone to commit suicide?

There were notepads filled with poems, some written by Lester, others copied from other poetry books. I remembered once seeing Lester’s name on a magazine, followed by a poem that he wrote. Back then I barely paid attention to his name, never mind his poetry. To us all, to the family, he was invisible. He might as well be dead if that was the case.

Poor Lester, how many nights did you spend on your own crying while we were enjoying ourselves, how many nights did you cry injustice to the world, cried for lack of love, wondered why you weren’t loved?

Sorry, little brother. I’m so sorry now, now that is too late, too late to bring you back, and even if we could bring you back who’s to say that we wouldn’t do the same thing again?

 

 

I searched through the drawers of his desk, through the pages of his books, and then something fell out of The Bell Jar. It was a little leaflet, a round leaflet, shaped like a circle. In one side there was a sad face, and on the other side there were the lines: don’t die alone. see the BogMan.

Underneath that sentence was a link to a site.

 

 

I left his place without bothering to say a word to his landlady and I made my way to the nearest internet café. The sky was dark then with the promise of rain not far behind. A bus packed with tourists was parked outside the net café where I was heading to, and when I looked at the faces inside it, I saw a sad girl with her face pressed against the window. She looked like she was lost in her own world, lost in oblivion, walking along a road that would take her nowhere. There was a woman sitting beside her, a woman that –face wise- looked like the girl, probably her mother, and while the woman was laughing along with someone else, the young girl’s face remained miserable.

The suffering can be there, right in front of our eyes, and we still fail to see it, either because we don’t care or because we’re too busy with other matters.

I made my way into the café, walked to the counter, ordered a cappuccino, and paid for my drink and thirty minutes online. The place wasn’t that busy; there were two people sitting on a table, chatting and drinking coffee, and there were three other people using the computers. I sat next to a Japanese girl and I entered the pin number that I had been given at the counter. Once I was online, I typed the BogMan’s website address only to discover that it had been closed down.

I didn’t let that put me off and I wrote BogMan and moved the arrow towards the search button before pressing it. The chase was on.

For the next twenty five minutes I entered the world of suicide, a world filled with cries for help, sad tales, stories of abandonment, self-inflicted pain, cuts, rape, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and there were thousands of people on dozens of forums with sad tales to tell, but I wasn’t really interested on their tales. I just wanted to find out who was the BogMan, but time was running out and unless I paid to use the computer for a bit longer, soon it would switch off by itself. I logged off. I could always use it at home for as long as I wanted to. My cappuccino was untouched. I massaged the area above my eyes gently and then I closed them briefly. Then a voice beside me said, “You won’t find the BogMan online.”

I opened my eyes and looked to my right. The young Japanese girl sitting beside me was staring at me, her eyes so needy and sad. For some reasons she reminded me of Lester. In a way, she was as much as a stranger to me as he was.

 

 

We left the café and went to a park nearby where we could smoke and talk in peace without anyone listening to us. We lit our first cigarettes just outside the café and I took a good look at the young girl standing by my side. She was quite short. Thin, too. Not a stunner but not ugly either. She wore flat shoes, thin-fitted jeans, a plain white blouse and a thin black cardigan. Nothing about her was extravagant or said, “Look at me!”

Even the book she was reading, The Apartment by Greg Baxter, looked to be quite normal.

I wanted to ask her name but instead I just nodded when she asked if I wanted to go to the park for a chat.

We walked in silence, past fruit stools, record stools, book stools, stools filled with junk, little bars and cafés, past an old Chinese takeaway where I went once or twice a week, and then we got to the park.

We kept on walking, the little Japanese girl walking a few steps ahead of me, leading the way, and then we sat under a tree. The sky was still grey and the rain was still promising to come out but maybe that promise would stay unfulfilled.

Four young men were playing with a Frisbee while another one, a bit chubbier than the other four, sat on the grass on his own, with a book by Aleksandar Hemon for company.

The Japanese girl saw me staring at him and said, “There’s always one who is left on his own, the outsider of the group, the one who doesn’t belong, the one who is sad.”

I looked at her and she was staring at the young man, maybe even past the young man, maybe she was already staring at the end. The air was getting colder so she buttoned her cardigan. Up in the trees, the squirrels and the birds stared at us and every single person walking past.

The Japanese girl said, “One day these poor animals won’t have a place to live. Already their habitat is being restricted. Only G-d knows what will happen in the near future.”

Just being there for a small amount of time, staring at her bland face and sad eyes, listening to her morbid talk, made me feel depressed too.

I said, “The BogMan. Tell me more about him.”

“How do you know it’s a he?” she asked.

“I assumed it’s a he because it says BogMan. If it was a woman it would be BogWoman,” I said.

“You’re funny,” she said, her face remaining as bland as before.

Yeah, fucking hilarious.

 

 

“The BogMan leaves leaflets in bookshops, libraries, cafés, toilet cubicles, in places where he knows people who need help will read them. Most of it is word of mouth,” she said.

“Has anyone ever seen this BogMan?” I asked.

“Yes. I heard that once a group of four is gathered, ready to depart this world, the BogMan comes to see them.”

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Asa.”

“I’m Karl. Karl with a K.”

“As in Karl Marx?”

“Yes.”

“So tell me, Karl with a K, do you want to meet the BogMan?”
 


This is Not the End is available on Amazon 

Hebrew teacher in Portugal


Little by little, the places we left are welcoming us back again, this time with open arms. But for how long, I wonder. Forever, I hope.
It is with delight that I read the news about Belmonte, Portugal welcoming a new Hebrew teacher into the Bnei Anousim community. The teacher, Penina Amid, has taught Hebrew in the Israeli school system and is now retired, but she’s volunteering her time in Belmonte during the month of March as part of an annual project called the “Month of Hebrew”. The program is sponsored by the Belmonte municipality and gives a chance for everyone, Jews and non-Jews, to connect with Belmonte’s Jewish past.
Little by little, we’re coming back. Not to Portugal but to our home. Back to Judaism.

Penina Amid spells out the number 9 for students in Belmont