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Not the pine nuts

By Victoria McArtor We are supposed to think there’s an imaginary motorcycle and we are supposed to be in this position as if we are riding the motorcycle… You are bound to fall forward. Everybody in the detention centre goes through this kind of torture. — Kim Kwang-il Think motorcycle without hot girth between the legs, hold yourself apart like this.Think of riding south down Kaesŏng highway with, what was her name, nostalgia is such a distorting force. Try not to think of the crime—not the pine nuts I stole but the eating of them from her hand, as soon as we can pull this thing over to rest, or think instead she’d be eating me from her own hand, or think I could be still in shell, or a tree, I could be roots traveling south pushing towards the East China Sea. Or rather be the sea.Calm down, I think she’s saying to me. We ride & nothing is so mysterious as her body coming to a close around me she’s tight as a whip she’s as rough as the road of the trip, she’s the light near the darkness she is herself an abyss and I take her...
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The City Is In My Chest by Hisham Bustani

By Hisham Bustani Translated from the Arabic by Thoraya El-Rayyes Algiers It’s no wonder the city looks exhausted. It is besieged by history, and history besieges you within it like a foot stamping down on your lungs, everywhere and from every direction. As if it is heavy water—you try to lift your head above the surface but cannot, for hovering above you is ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā’irī, raising his curved sword in the square that carries his name; and at the corner of the Milk Bar Café, Zahra Ẓaryf-Biyṭāṭ planted a bomb, like a rose dedicated to a future love. The main shopping street is called Diydowsh Murād and at the corner of the National Museum of Contemporary Art is a framed stone plaque: The Martyr Muhammad Al’araby Ben Mahidy. And—of course—the street is named after him. The Governmental Palace is fenced with pictures of the Group of Twenty Two, and towering over the space is the Martyrs’ Memorial—a giant torrent, defying gravity so that water from the earth can inseminate the water of the sky; a torrent of white blood that rises from the Museum of the Revolution to touch the clouds. A foot stamping down on your lungs, everywhere...
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