Category: Atticus Lish

There doesn’t seem to be a shadowThere doesn’t seem to be a shadow

“The summer would be celebrated by people of every nation in the city. People marauding after work, discontented. Thugs surfing on the sides of cars, flagging. Going into the garbage cans and throwing bottles in the street. Immigrants working, forever working, watching people go by who have days off, time off, while they don’t. Trying to stay cool. Families with five young children going to Dunkin Donuts for a night out together in the air conditioning. The littered floors, the strange lone males reading the newspaper. Cabdrivers and dysfunctional individuals sitting in the window of the all-night Tropical. Messed-up guys with Puerto Rican flag hats talking to waitresses, high-fiving them, saying when do you get off? Spanish girls with Indian blood, slave blood, mopping floors at three a.m. Caribbeans saying we were brought here as slaves from India. We got together with the blacks and threw the British out. Now we listen to dub step. Let me tell you where it’s hot like fire burning. Where the party’s at. Where you can get robbed, stuck, shook, bucked and maybe fucked down on one hundred and ninth going towards Far Rockaway. Where no one’s gonna feel bad for you if you have problems. The Wenzhounese will sit outside in folding chairs in their pajamas on Cromellin Street, talking on the steps, fanning themselves in the gleaming night. The women will be pregnant and still they will be taking out the garbage, collecting bags of recycling, saving little fistfuls of money, little investments that, like children, will turn into something later. But for now, we’ll all have to deal with the heat first—all of us no matter where we’re from.” – Atticus Lish, Preparation for the Next Life

Either way, it just goes onEither way, it just goes on

“He saw the sand going on and on across the continent. The broken palm trees and mud buildings and corrugated steel lean-tos and dead trucks and the domes and spires of the mosques. He could hear the loudspeakers wired by a man who weighed twenty pounds less and looked twenty years older and who was the same age as he was, a goat herder with missing fingers. He heard the static and the ram’s horn and the voices as they spoke together, wearing robes the same color as the landscape, kneeling together, rising together, chanting together. He could see them as if he were watching them through binoculars and the Arabian dusk was coming down. He saw the dim blue sky and smelled the sunbaked human waste and saw the dark forms of his many friends, their gear, their white eyes and very occasional smiles. He tasted the smell of burning tires, hashish, gun oil, animals, coal fire, chicken and rice and Tabasco sauce. The weight of the gear. The tearing down of the body. All the things you complained about. And the thing that was greater—the war itself. It was the one thing. You went outside the wire, and each time, either you died or you did not.” – Atticus Lish, Preparation for the Next Life