In Iran a sixteen-year-old rape victim is in court for Crimes against Chastity. She sees that the judge is against her and that Sharia Law is unyielding. She takes off her shoes and flings them at the robed man.
She remembers her contempt with satisfaction in the moment before she is hung. Like a bride, she gives herself over to contempt.
I escape to Mexico. There is no Sharia law there. If I drink enough mescal, I can forget the stupidity of Americans. When I am blind drunk, I see everything clearly. My eyes are bloodshot red. The jaguar’s eyes burn red. His mouth is red and glows from within. I come and go. The world is full of phantasmas. Americans pour agua purificado from jug to jug, as if their rituals of juggling clean water will void damnation.
The Mayan ruins sit heavily in the dark, as do the gowned Mayan women in the red brocade seats, like cups of chocolate candy in foil wrappings.
The jaguar’s teeth are sharp as a shark’s, sharp as a moray eel’s. This peninsula was once a sea. The jaguar’s whiskers are bristly as my uncle’s, who owned and ran a clothing store in Queens. His face cut me when he bent to kiss. I’d already learned that vampires came from Rumania, and here he was, with his flat cap and red eyes. Ruler of the ghetto, he cheated black men, who were afraid to buy their work clothes from someone else.
The guitar maker is like me. He withdraws from the babbling world. The Scottish call it “havering.” “Loathsome” is the word that best describes human society. People make his skin crawl. In his workshop are guitars in various stages of completion, redwood, rosewood, maple bodies and necks.
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois