If [A Short Story]

A man not so unlike any other man, but certainly in many details unlike every other man, this one and that one and another one, each of them (us) is part of the general scheme of things we call human, all too human, what we mean when we say that–what do we mean when we say that he is human, I am human, what is this thing human, toi have humanity or not to have humanity, something to have, to hold, as well as something to be a part of, I am human because I choose to be human as I have said before, have heard before, have written down before, either in the form of notes taken or arguments made, another essay, to try to say something about something said, something thought, something believed, what do I believe, do you, does he or she, this other person to be orto become, I do become when I am not to be. What we call humanity–what? Anothert asking of a kind about what I am, each of us is unique, an exception, if only in potential–yes, an exception  to every generality we conceive or conclude for being human . . . and I have not yet touched on those generalities for the species called Homo-Sapiens, of which I too am a member. But this man, like and not so like every other man, like and unlike me, asks himself a question about what we do and why we do the things we do, yes Why do we do the things we do, or say the things we say? To say or not to say might be question, but not as important as the one concerning our being, my being, yours, this other man’s, his to be or not, all of this in art rhetorical, yet, part actual question; a minor inquiry into the human heart? What heart is there in many of the things we do, the things we say, as cruel as we can be? Generalities again? They exist; they have veracity, as do all exceptions. The thing about exceptions is that each one is only an exception when it is an exception, and every exception does not refute the general. The general and the exception are equally true when each is true. Who wants to take responsibility for the way we are? Who criticizes human actions by saying we instead of they? Yes, we do what we do, or they do what they do; not the same, no, never the same, could not be anything but mutually exclusive, what one says and the other means.

We instead of they; one from the other much different in rhetoric, as well as in ethics, but then this could be manipulated by those whose intentions are other than what we might call ethical? Why so wishy-washy, you might ask, circumlocutions? Someone could ask? No, certainly not this . . .this man not so unlike other men does ask the question why do we do the things we do, or say the things we say when we do, do or say, how and when, where, might be of some significance, to whom most certainly important. What is done or what is said, words, words and more words, they do not always mean what we try to say at. To whom am I speaking now about this man who then talks about this query of his with respect to another man who sees something and says something, particularly with respect to where he lives and who his landlord’s are, the owners of the building complex where he lives:

“I know a man who does not hesitate to say what he thinks irrespective of who he thinks it against or of or about or for or with or to whom. What he says that he does say, he says with conviction, and thus the man says what he does about what he sees, this man who knows what he sees and says what he sees. To see or not to see might be this man’s question, but other questions have come to mind and thus the man says, although what he says he says about himself speaking in the third person about himself . . . ‘He sees something and says something as he has always said something about the things he has seen in New York. What more could he say, except that when it comes to Orthodox Jewish landlord’s, he is sure–as sure as he is that the sun rises and sets, as sure as he is that the light goes out inside the refrigerator when he closes the door–yes, he is certain that they are among the city’s worst, or so he has taken the word of some secular Jewish friends (and why would he do that, you might ask, I say; or why would they say what he knows they have said, that others might disbelieve they have said, as if they could not, as if no one would [unless you have read the Village Voice articles about the city’s worst landlords, as this man has])? However, and just today, this 19th day of April, 2016, in the borough of Brooklyn, in the neighborhood of Bath Beach,  the Orthodox Jewish Building Complex owners have taken the opportunity of having some blighted branches in a tree on their grounds as justification to then cut the whole healthy rest of the tree down, along with the perfectly healthy adjacent tree down because those trees would give shade, have given shade, in the summer, to the courtyard they border, and this is a problem for the Orthodox owners because currently, and over the last few years, with the rise of Muslim tenants, there has been a significant rise in the numbers of Muslim children playing in the courtyard in the summer, and now with the trees gone, they will be in the sun rather than the shade, and you cannot tell me that this is not Orthodox spite-work because in my mind it would be typical for them and just ask anyone who has lived here long enough to know them . . . and because that is the way I see politics played in New York and how as a people they play games, and their management office looks out on the courtyard, and I cannot imagine the Orthodox wanting to look out on Muslim children playing or goy9im sitting or, worse, in their minds, Russian Jewish Apikorsim (and do not tell me you do not know what I am talking about or that this is too fqr fetched for you to understand because you would be a lying fucker or a deluded ass or horribly naiev), he himself says in these words, and words like these words I recall having heard him say’ Yes, there are those who will swear that this is anti-Semitic because he has said what he has about some Jews, and of course anything that criticizes any Jews must be anti-Semitc, at least in our current received ideas yet, ‘there are those who will believe this is so, believe that this is indicative, if not proof positive, of everything they have ever thought, believed or said about Jews because they are Anti-Semities, and what do we do when Anti-Semitism meets the truth of a matter, or in the manner of conception, because tribal politics as they are played in New York have been played this way, one or another way similar to how our man conceives New York’s politics being played by the Orthodox, and in a way he is certain has nothing to do with the landlord’s being Orthodox Jewish,’ which seems a bit confusing, I think, but ‘what he means is that it is not human nature–no. There is only Homo-sapiens nature,’ he says the man thinks.” The rest, I am assuming, is culture or history or experience or resentment or bitterness or greed or laziness or something else that anyone can fall victim to as one who does or one who has done to him. “And no one, he says ‘who has been a victim historically,’ he says the man says, ‘as much as Orthodox Jews have been, will be anything but resentful and spiteful of and toward others, he says himself, unless we want to take them out of the main currents of human psychology, he himself thinks, and understand that they will always rise above the homo-sapiens reflexes of the repressed and do otherwise because maybe they are Uber-menschen, he says himself,’ the man says.” It seems that there is a conclusion to be drawn from the inferences made in response to the responses to Anti-Semitism, “and the man says that the other man says ‘their exclusiveness helps breed this.'” The man I know who talks about a man who talks about a man says, “Maybe I am off base here, but I do not think so . . . ‘and he has had enough Jewish friends, he says, who have said many things many times in support of what he believes about the Orthodox.’ And the former have been even more hostile in their opinions and conceptions of the Orthodox.” What then must we do, must he do, I do, you do in face of what is the truth of the matter at hand, “or, as he says he says, ‘just the facts at hand because much of what he has asserted has had nothing to do with the facts, or inferences restrained and based solely on the facts . . .’ What can we say about the circumstances as he sees them not as I have limitedly presented them, which is what he would say, what anyone in his position would say.” What are the facts? I ask in anticipation of you, my hypocrite reader being confused by the layering of the story telling, and even I have had to backtrack to keep the thread, but I no longer have faith in how people read, the role of reader a lost one on the actors on the stages of literacy . . . What can we conclude from them? I add: “Facts, facts, facts, nothing but the facts, no embellishment, ‘how can a man help himself?’ How can he not, if truth is what he is after, all prejudgements must be suspended, but do we ever?”

And don’t we play ping-pong with bigotry in this city, one of the great advances of multiculturalism has been the proliferation of hopscotch everyone plays with everyone else in the matters of race and ethnicity, prejudice and bigotry. No?

“And again, we might wonder to whom all of this is targeted–yes, ‘who might his audience be if not the chorus of Anti-Semites, some will say,’ . . .” and what then must I say in response to other questions of yours, my likeness-reader, I am presently anticipating . . . and what do I think, you must imagine, I imagine, as if this text could tell us something more about me, about this man who talks of another man, about narrators and narration and what it means to tell a story, fact or fiction, both of them reciprocal of the other, no?  “That man–which man,which one he and another he, which one am I, do you follow? Who decides to say what he knows he sees?” We would like it, you must think, my reader, if it were said, that he imagines he sees what has been presented here as if he had in fact seen. “But why do we do the things we do, or say the thing we say, when we do them or say them, where we do and where we say, how, and maybe why–is there a why? Why, why, why is what we ask when we do not want to think, do not want to know, do not want to hear the facts, the information, the evidence. Can we discern this why? ‘Will we ever be able to come to terms with the why we do the things we do or say?’ How many times can we ask question following question following question, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . .” all this about the bells that ring, every syllable, you know, don’t you see it, as it is there for you to stand under, support, be a sturdy post for yet another lintel of knowing? What else am I supposed to say? I ask. “To say or not to say,” he says. “Silence is death, or ‘is it golden, as we once were taught when we were children?’ he asks.” To be seen and not heard–what fucking bullshit, no?  “Nowhere else to go with these lines, I say he must think, as I do, as another does, whoever it might be, ‘there are always others to be met,  I stand on the shore and look behind me trying hard to see the helix of our footprints in the sand disappearing how far away, the laws of perspective here on the sands as if this were a convas and I were a painter,’ he says so much,” he says.

The lines I follow for as far as I can, I say I see while standing here myself on the shore at Land’s End.

The man ends what he says about what this other man says or has said, with words anyone can discern for themselves if they did want to avoid the received ideas of our culture, “‘or what the American media will allow or disallows,’ he has said” the man has said, I say, “with conviction on a number of occasions,” the man says. “What I did say about what this man is was will be certain he sees has seen will see did see that day–what do I see? Do you see? What about we?” The man asks. “There is and is not this we to decide on or for when and where . . . and he cannot get the picture of their horribly hideous faces, as this man said this other man had said . . . no, he cannot get them out of his mind. And the man would say about this other man something not impossible to believe, what do we do when we suspend disbelief, the stage is the world, the world another stage, he said he said he saw their looking on with glee as they destroyed two beautiful and old trees, probably because they could, the grossly criminally degenerate bastards that they are, he would say, has said in other words at other times to other people, or so the man says he has said, and I am now telling you, relying on this having said he has said to be the limit of my knowing. He is convinced that he sees what he sees, as I am convinced I have heard what was heard about what had  been said . . . as the man who wonders why we do what we do says he has said, as I now say what the man says this other man says has said did say had said would have said but did not or if . . . .



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