Wire Hangers, Curtain Rods, Queers and Guns; a Short Story

I looked to the clouds gathering on the horizon . . .

Thomas Sarebbononnato

To tell a story of woe; to write down what has been suffered; to see what is afoot; to see where we are going, maybe where we have been; to understand what has been; these and more are what we are going to uncover here in the ensuing pages. What follows is what has been put to paper by pen in hand, my hand, I used to say from brain though arm into hand through pen onto page . . . I found that in a journal I had written how long ago  is irrelevant, the howling I have done on paper. For you is not much of a consideration. I am not writing for your entertainment here.

What could it do for you to know when? I ask this question often of my readers. What I imagine to be your expectations, how I will or will not meet them. Facts, facts, nothing but the facts. We have been burdened by book-keeping for several centuries. Defoe began writing with the ledger present in the subtext; a court stenographers pen and paper, perhaps? Who then do you imagine you are as the reader of any text? What then do I imagine for me as I set pen to paper?

The layers, you know—you have seen those Russian dolls in stores, haven’t you? Matryoishka, a set of brightly painted hollow wooden dolls of varying sizes, designed to nest inside one another. I hope, not really hoping,  you get what I mean, what I wish my words to say. Hoping and wishing are utterly useless though; to hope; to wish, perhaps to daydream my life away . . .

All of a Piece

I remember hearing, I forget where, cannot see now, a woman’s voice then, my incredulity clearly now understood, Who shoves a wire hanger up her cunt? Yes, she said this, words, words, more words could have been said, other words were probably said, these words might have been said . . . if I were put to it and had to say exactly what was said–but, truly, who does shove–who ever shoved–a curtain rod up her cunt? It’s easier to shove the latter than it is the former? She got a Q-tip swab stuck in her ear . . .

Have you ever read the words of Les Marsellaise?

Almost everything is hazy in recollection; I recall this, but vaguely. Why vaguely? I do not ask myself. Perhaps I do not want it to remain anything other than hazy in mind? What is that supposed to mean, and to whom? Recollection is something willful and more certain in its search, to look for is sometimes what we have already found, to find a need expressed by the kind of search we engage. To recall, to recollect, to remember are all not exactly the same thing, are they? You should know. How is it that I am supposed to imagine that I need to explain to you what living with your eyes opened should have taught you? Anymore questions? You know the fool of all proverbs asks questions to avoid learning anything. There is a way for this. Curtain rods?

I recall myself having said something like this, I do not exactly recall where or to whom, but I must have said something like, Who shoves a curtain rod up her cunt? And we have to imagine the correct curtain rods for vaginal insertion. It is interesting to note that the manufacture of unwindable clothes hangers has dramatically decreased since the days of Roe versus Wade. Need I see correlation whether one exists or not? We can make all hangers plastic because there’s no need today to shove a wire hanger up the cunt, is there?

I also forget where or when I did, say what I said after having heard that girls used to shove curtain rods up their cunts to induce miscarriage. How the fuck . . .? I did not understand how they could do so–I did not ask her if she had ever done so. It was how long then after Roe and Wade? Girls I knew ere inclined to say You can’t understand, whether they did or not.

On the beach at the shore at Land’s End, the South Fork . . . coming here to relax, to unwind . . . 

I had no cunt. I have never wanted a cunt. I have never imagined what it would be like, or might be like, to have a cunt. I did, though, have an asshole, and I knew that I would never shove a curtain rod up my ass. I have had suppositories shoved up my ass when I was a young boy and had, however infrequently, constipation–prescribed by my GP.

I have used wire hangers unraveled at the hook to clear clogged drains; I could not imagine being able to imagine shoving that up my ass. A wire hanger? How desperate would a girl have to be to shove a curtain rod or a wore hanger up the cunt–and I still do not understand the kind of morality that functions on the level of punishment as a means of instruction. I do understand Nietzsche’s observation, if not his thesis, in The Geneology of Morals, but I am confused by a society of Judaeo-Christian moralizers who are against abortion and use pregnancy as a form of punishment, perhaps because they can no longer get away with stoning the girl who gets pregnant mostly from a lack of foresight or caution as she engages in the most natural of all our inclination. We have lost or have yet to develop the idea that the desire to fuck is in itself love, and that from the choice to act on this inclination of love, we can do a whole lot of messing things up, denying, refusing, corrupting by other choices. Has anyone ever shoved a wire hanger up his ass to rid himself or herself of constipation?

The waves in one after another after yet another continuously continuing repetition of rising curling turning falling crashing thunderously tumult. . .

Plastic hangers today, and as they have been made now for a few decades, cannot be shoved up the cunt, can they? You can’t use one of today’s plastic hangers to shove up the cunt, nor can you unravel one and use it to unclog a drain, or your constipated asshole if you were a Sado-masochistic bastard, or unlock your car . . . so when you do get one of those old-fashioned wire hangers from the cleaners, keep it, save it–you never know when you might need it in a Republican future.

What more do I need to say, to say or not to say–everyone today wants you to say something if you see something–what am I supposed to be seeing, anyway–I have always mistrusted most of what most people see, but I do not want to retreat into an overbearing subjectivity or solipsism. Nonetheless, in the United States, I should say, there is a collective unconscious fear of sex and sexuality (not identical), and this has left us diametrically opposed not only on issues like gay marriage but also on abortion. Unlike the issue of gay marriage, though, life is jeopardized if we do not maintain the law that insures safe and antiseptic procedures are part of a woman’s choice. However, if historical memory as well as recent memory serves me correctly, this is reactionary America, so we must punish women who have sex and do not wish to submit to marriage as the sole means to manage their potential bastards.

White clouds up and over the horizon, East, East-South-East . . .

Most of the abortion debate–really ping-pong or rhetorical hop-scotch–pivots on this ethical and retributive hinge: do we want to punish women for having sex or do we not want to punish them for expressing themselves sexually. What are we saying–and do we say anything, or do we continue to shout badger scream respond to one or another stimulus . . . when we want to deny women access to safe, antiseptic medical procedures when they want to choose an induced miscarriage instead of going forward with the pregnancy we are taking giant steps backward . . . we systematically under-educate, allow semi-literate to masquerade as literate enough for too long for anyone in pedagogy to recall any other standard for literacy than the alphabetics we enforce, and we the members of America’s liberal establishment are astonished by the conservatives and the popularity of Donald Trump.

I never questioned my desire to fuck–I understood it to be a natural inclination. It is nature–and I am not here to debate the merits of Nature over Civilization or vice-versa. No. But the desire to fuck as a natural inclination is not identical with the Homo-sapiens natural inclination toward violence and aggression, is it? If you do see identicalness there then perhaps you should re-examine your ability to think because thinking would have nothing to do with that and randomly passing images in the mind or playing hop-scotch with words is not what thinking is in the human sense which must always be measured by the humane. The Homo-sapiens cognition is not in itself what I call thinking–it might be, but there are certainly other processes in that mode of cognition we really should not call thinking.

There is a thick vein of punitive retribution present in the anti-abortion camp. I cannot understand this mode of punishment finding support among civilized people. Most of the anti-abortion position hinges on coercing women’s chastity. It seems ridiculous–I almost imagine fathers, or mothers, even, locking up their teenaged daughters in iron belts around their pelvises–and it does not seem a stretch when one listens carefully to the vehemence and sees the violence of the people today who voice their opinions against women who seek to exercise their rights when seeking to have an abortion. The rhetoric of anti-abortion in America is paradigmatically similar to that of Jim Crow rhetoric levied against the civil and human rights of black Americans during the years of segregation, poll taxes and miscegenation laws. We are not forgetting the years pf lynching anymore than we are forgetting that abortion clinics have been bombed.

We cannot hope to have normal relationships between men and women, between any partner and another he or she chooses mutually and reciprocally, if we still want to criminalize sex out-of-wedlock, which is what we would be doing if we were to criminalize abortion. This is also what the opposition to Gay Marriage fears; legitimacy of homosexual sex–but homosexual sex is the flip-side of heterosexual sex–it is of one minting in sexuality–heterosexual and homosexual are heads and tails–no puns intended.

Midday, before lunch, going to IGA to pick up what we need to eat, strawberries, yogurt, a rotisserie chicken, beer, olives, chips, tomatoes, cucumbers . . . I once saw Julianne Moore passing as she was coming out of the IGA and I was walking toward the front door. I nodded and smiled and and she smiled and we continued in our contrary directions. She was smaller than she appears on screen, but still a big actress—loved her work in The Hours.

The problem with many from the anti-abortion side of the argument presented in a woman’s right to choose a safe and antiseptic medical procedure in the course of induced miscarriage is that perhaps too many of them are also anti-sodomy; therefore, the idea of fellatio as birth control may never get addressed. Blow jobs do reduce the need for abortion. Yet, we still stigmatize oral sex because we are still sexually repressed if not simply sexually uptight, and that’s as a nation, a culture–you cannot imagine that even America’s liberals are not stupid. If it were not for the stupidity and lumpen minds of America’s Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist Liberals, our conservatives might not be so criminally stupid and dangerous.

We used to criminalize homosexuality–we should criminalize how we teach. We even used to criminalize sodomy–I do not know why we cannot criminalize semi-literacy among our teachers and professors . . .

The acts of sodomy themselves labelled after the ancient biblical city of Sodom. It doesn’t matter what the popular culture thinks its saying or doing; pop culture actions are reactions to the core belief; they are reactions similar to how pornography, and the proliferation of porn and its availability, reveal our true attitudes about sex. We have no healthy notions about sex or sexuality, and that’s heterosexuality. How do we expect to handle the idea that homosexuality is normal when we still fear heterosexual sex. But it is necessary that we step out of the norms of our social behavior and atttitues about sex. The issues raised by gay marriage and abortion are contingent with all discussions of basic Human Rights, the fundamentals of human sexuality and sexual expression. Imagine how backward we were even in the fifties and the sixties–and I mean really monkey-minded backward–simians all. What more do I need to say, could I say, should I–what? Say what? Say when? Say where? More than enough. Enough is always enough, but just what is enough–when is it? I am genuinely asking.

II

Gay Marriage and Abortion are both pro-choice issues–how you do not know this is beyond me? And if you do know this, how you are unable to defend this articulately only speaks to how we under-educate. These are both issues of freedom or the lack thereof, whether it be sexual freedom, which both of them do address, or what I choose to do with my body, which both of them also address albeit from different angles of approach (no puns intended; any position two humans choose when they fuck is normal, is natural). The matter of gay marriage is a part of the pro-choice issue in a larger sense, and you have to get this, and if you do not, maybe you should have someone smack you in the back of the head, and I am not a particularly violent person, I just do not have any of the received reflexes we are supposed to mimic to prove we abhor violence,more out of our societies desire to control the people, lessen their weight against the state, make them less likely to aim their rifles at the power or monied elites who keep raping them in the ass–and herein lies the difference. Homosexual men most often fuck each other in the ass out of love, but we cannot understand that because our government keeps fucking us in the ass when we don’t want them to.

Not hungry yet, breakfast was enough, almond croissants and coffee, a long walk along the shore afterwards and then a late morning pre-lunch beer from yesterday . . .

We have to know that we are not talking about a society’s obligation to ensure someone gets the appropriate psychiatric treatment who might actually be mentally defective to a point where he is a danger to himself and others. Homosexuality is not a mental illness, nor is it another kind of sickness from which someone can be cured, nor is it an incurable illness. It is normality in variegation. I am not trying to say that some Gay men are not crazy–or that lesbians are also immune to forms of insanity. What more do I have to tell you?

I wish she had said what it was she knew, what it was she understood, could say, could have said, might have said, but did not . . .

Abortion rights and the rights of same-sex partners to marry are contingent on the law recognizing that gay marriage is not an affront to opposite sex unions, and that the legal right to choose a safe, medically induced miscarriage is not an affront to having children. Having a gay teacher does not make your children gay; allowing same sex unions does not cheapen heterosexual marriage. Allowing for same sex unions does not lessen the integrity of marriage in general. Allowing that safe medial procedures are performed when a woman has an induced miscarriage does not devalue children, nor will it lead to a significant drop in birthrates, which itself is a separate issue. Most arguments against gay marriage are absurd; most of the arguments levied against pro-choice in the matter of abortion are beside the point.

I think I am going to get ready to go and get stuff for lunch . . . should have something else in mind to pick up in place of what they might not have that we want, what about having bar-be-cue for dinner, what to get, steaks for the grill, a bottle of Margaux with that . . .

Let us not set up straw dogs, though. There are some who come from a religiously informed position, a place where their religious views and beliefs are confronted by even the idea of gay marriage or the notion that a woman should be afforded the legal right to choose an abortion, who are not zealous lunatics looking to lynch women for having an abortion or simply for supporting the right to choose one. But I do not want us here to get sidetracked into a debate about the merits and demerits of religion or the religious when it weds itself with politics. The focus here is on the rights a woman has independent of any metaphysical system, and whether the laws of her society are going to get behind her right to choose, stand behind her, remain behind her or not.

Legislation that insures a woman’s right to choose an abortion can be safe is of course the crux of any rational argument supporting pro-choice for women who are so inclined. She said she had been inclined in the past. Could not avoid feeling guilty, it seemed, sounded by how she talked about it . . . what the hell do I know? She asked. Really? She insisted.

. .. steak. The steaks we got. The strip steaks. The long part of a Porterhouse.

There are no religious beliefs that can be used to justify or support violence against a woman or clinics, not unless we live in or want to live in Muslim Theocracies–and we have to be clear about what we mean about honoring diversity in America. There is no place for Sharia law here in America, nor any of the forms of Islamic misogyny. Pro-choice is, in the specific sense of choosing to have a safe abortion, part of the larger more encompassing Human Right to choose. Every person, man or woman, heterosexual or homosexual, married or unmarried, has an unalienable right to choose the life he or she wishes to live. The right of gay men and lesbians to choose whether or not to get married in a same-sex union is on par with a woman’s legally sanctioned choice to have an abortion if she should want one. They are each a part of the Pro-Choice argument that is essential to any Pro-Freedom position in any society. I do suspect that most Muslims who are here in America want to live as Muslims, but no longer in some confused and confusing Islamic medievalism . . . or so I have come to think, as it seems to me, so I do think. And do not tell me that there are not a mass of Muslim women living in the middle ages today because they are, they do, we could see it if we weren’t so clouded by our desire to see something else in what our eyes tell us we see.

The croissants were especially good this morning, they are never stale, but on some days they certainly fresher than on other days, a fresh batch of almond croissants, I do not think the baker makes them every day, which baker would?

Nonetheless, there is no pit and the pendulum looming if gay marriage is not supported by law. There is, though, something out of Edgar Allan Poe for girls in the foreseeable future without a law that protects their Human Right to choose to have an abortion, and I remind us herein again that a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion whether the laws in her society support that right, protect that right–I do not know how anyone can be against providing women with a law that upholds her right to decide for herself how she wishes to use her body, a law that insures medicine is practiced and not something out of a chamber of horrors when she decides to have an abortion, and it is a chamber of horrors we are subjecting her to when we put her between social rocks and medical hard places.

Abortion before the law got behind it in the 1970s was appalling–most anti-abortion people would be shocked if they saw what had transpired or does transpire in some places in the world. Of course, this would then be used against the right to choose, assuming that the horror of illegal abortion is endemic to all abortions. There are no other ways to express what illegal abortion represented: terrible, shocking, appalling, horrible, frightening; what else do we have in words to say what is intended here: butchery, something out of the slaughterhouse–woman as carcass?

What all of the ramifications were when a girl needed to get an abortion for whatever reason convinced her she needed one–how many women still die yearly worldwide from unsafe abortions is staggering. There was something Edgar Poe about abortion, something downright gothic horror. You know, we are talking curtain rods and all that went along with less than antiseptic surgery. The question for me is why should induced miscarriage be less safe and less anti-septic than operations performed at Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals during war? This has changed here in the United States, we imagine, at least we imagine it has changed for the better and that that change for the better is permanent, as if no vigilance is necessary. Nonetheless, more women die annually from medical malpractice in America than from breast cancer. Maybe women are still the second sex in America’s mind–perhaps this second sex status crosses over to second class in other ways as well–how could it not. Is woman the nigger of the world? If so, what then are black women in the world? Think about it–I mean think, not reflex from it. I know that there are still too many people who are exclusive about the use of the word ‘nigger,’ even downright snobbish, as ironic and paradoxical as that becomes.

What do those white clouds look like, they are big, puffy, voluptuous white cumulus coming up over the horizon . . .

The idea that we cannot take giant steps backwards is naive. There is really no low that people cannot descend to; there is no limit really to how bad things can get in a society; there is no condition that people cannot get used to, none. We were shown the documentaries made with the footage taken from the liberated camps by the U.S. Armed Forces. We did not have access to any of the footage the Soviet Armed forces took in their liberation of some of the Nazis camps at the close of World War II. Don’t imagine that we could not make things any worse because we could.

The United States only sometimes an exception, there are nearly a hundred thousand women worldwide who die in the process of having an illegal and/or unsafe abortion worldwide. Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are not safe medical procedures and this has to stop. But then why should it when most of us are convinced we should be grateful that more women do not die annually from illegal or unsafe abortions. There is something uncivilized about a society that cannot protect a woman’s right to choose, or provide safe and antiseptic medical procedures when she does exercise her rights–just as there is something uncivilized about a society that systematically under-educates even most of its university graduates . . . I can imagine that semi-literate is literate enough has been an unspoken mantra on Wall Street for a long time. (And please do not imagine that I do not believe that I know that guillotines are not the solution for our problems economically; the Power and the Money have no fear; that’s what Bush senior meant when he said he envisioned a kinder and gentler nation, a nation where sheep are gentle and power and money wolves are left to ravage un-accosted.)

A society that upholds those rights by law is a civilized society. Of course, any society that does not is less than civilized and that’s another truth I hold to be self evident. I wish I could make this clearer–make something here I’m trying to say . . . to choose to have an abortion or to choose to have the baby; these are the flip sides of the pro-choice issue.

A woman’s right to choose must also include her right to have a child. Any pressure from either extreme in the diametric of the abortion issue is unacceptable in a civilized society. To oppose pro-choice is to support pro-horror, whether one supplies the curtain rods or not. You do remember the final scene in Goddard’s Masculin et Feminin, when the girlfriend (played by Chantal Goya) of the chief protagonist (played by Pierre Leaud of Truffaut’s Les Quatres Cent Coups fame) is asked what she is going to do now that she is pregnant and her boyfriend is dead, and she says something to the effect of not knowing, but that perhaps she’ll use a curtain rod?

There are donuts left from this morning if anyone wants a snack before lunch, some yogurt, maybe . . . get more for lunch, the strawberries were good from yesterday, for lunch and again before dinner last night . . .

The words from a young girl’s mouth, particularly flippantly expressed, a curtain rod–again, how could any girl shove a curtain rod up her cunt, but then I have never met a woman who thinks her cunt is beautiful. I mean, I have never met a woman who has looked at her vagina in a mirror and said, That’s beautiful. How could girls not shove curtain rods up the cunt. The last time we were in Paris I remembered the opening montage sequence of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows . . . we were staying around the corner from L’Ecole Militaire and the park that opened its vista on La Tour Eiffel. I touched the walls, rubbed the wooden doors and held the handles of the doors Napoleon might have touched . . . My English language name is the Anglo-Saxon name for the Latin name Gaius . . . how could I be put off by Napoleon?

To shove a curtain rod up the cunt or not to shove a curtain rod up the cunt, this is the question, whether it is nobler to carry a pregnancy to term, or on the other hand, shove a curtain rod up the cunt and end it.

III

I do not think women have been carefully handled by their mothers, certainly not society, in thinking they are beautiful.

They’re further up now . . . looking like something, not elephants, no . . .

When Chantal Goya said what she said about the curtain rod, the scene immediately faded to black, and everyone was shocked. There were many who were outraged, of course; but then people are always easily collectively outraged. An individual standing up against many to do the righteous thing is difficult and almost a sure futility in anyone’s expectation. But joining a mob to do anything inhuman is easy. Misunderstanding is many times dis-understanding, and that is also very easy to accomplish.

All of the outrage about Goddard’s film, though, was in 1966 Paris . . . it is 2016 and in the name of democracy we have to endure the hopelessly stupid and the criminally ignorant . . . I guess this is what we mean by honoring diversity–what did you liberal twits think you were doing when you sought to erase boundaries, blur the lines, abandon Truth, question the validity of knowledge in perpetuity and raise doubt to the highest form of wisdom? America’s contemporary liberals are so fucking stupid, they might be more stupid as liberals than contemporary conservatives are stupid as conservatives, if you could get real thinking around that . . . and I am sorry that if in a story you must be inundated with wave after wave of ideas and thoughts and critical responses and diatribes and tirades and lamentations and irony and wit and viscera, venting my spleen asI do have done will keep on doing.

Wire hangers when curtain rods were not available . . . I still can only say, What the fuck? Some took scalding hot baths, others, like Kate Winslet’s character in Revolutionary Road, used a variety of tubes and hoses and forceps, what else had we then in the fifties for middle class suburban women to have the do-it-yourself abortions.

Just add water . . .

We wonder about torture of suspected terrorists, and yet we want to send women backward historically and subject them to the horrors of illegal abortions, what some 20,000,000 women worldwide get annually–but those who want to send women backward are not the ones wondering about or worrying about torture at Guantanamo. . .

Fuck me, really, what are we talking about here when we actually entertain going back to the fifties, the forties, the nineteenth century–where are we going, where have we been . . . I did know girls who induced miscarriage with nearly scalding baths, how many of them I never asked . . . talk about torture.

These are all of piece? The pieces of embryo that do and do not come out–how do we know if all of the pieces of what was up there have come out . . . just let the air in, you know, you remember, you have to, just push the curtain rod against the cervix, how does one sterilize it, can you use rubbing alcohol or would it be better to use better for up the cunt . . . five hundred women a day commit suicide in China; there are more men than women because forced abortions, especially when the fetus is female is the rule in China.

What is all of piece? What then must we do? Let us add our light to sum of light . . . each of us adds this, can add this, should add this . . . let us still hope that light will win over darkness. I do not know why that sounds so trite–it should not, but we do wonder if it does or does not . . . we suspect anyone with convictions that cannot be packaged with the correct bows and ribbons . . . and just because gun nuts will use as a excuse to keep automatic weapons available the fact that someone shoots an anti-abortion nut is no reason I should not shoot anti-abortion nuts . . . which side are you on–yes, which side are you on? What are we willing to do in the name of civilization, democracy, freedom, Human Rights? What? Would you let the Nazis win?

Maybe hippos, yes, white hippos, the clouds up and over the horizon now have taken shape looking a lot like a group of white hippos wading there on the horizon . . .

I ask the question, More? How often? I ask it rhetorically; I ask it genuinely; sometimes I am doing both at once. Sometimes I am not aware that I am doing neither when I ask; only reflex.

I got a Matryoishka as a gift, one year. I do not know what this means or what kind of story you want out of it . . . I have lost touch with readers. I picked it up the other day and took it apart and put it back together, one inside the other and so on until complete. I have seen them displayed in stores and in homes with all the inside-each-other dolls of smaller and smaller sizes, if in one direction this one you choose, set next to one another. What anything has to do with anything we often only know after the facts of occurrence or happenstance; it is all about interpretation, all in the interpreting. I just feel sorry for all the poor bastards who think the superficial skimming of pages they do is reading.

 

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