So Dog We Were Too

It was a mild summer evening. A cool breeze was bowling lightly through the Rhône valley. I gave up trying to write, showered, changed into light clothes and went out for a stroll. I needed cigarettes and so I climbed the small hill and then descended down towards the back end of town to catch the late night tobacconist.

It is a plain walk, though not unpleasant, culminating at Grange Blanche, the city's largest easternmost transport interchange. Due to the sheer volume of commuters passing through each day the upper station and its surroundings is a magnet for the neighbourhood’s drunks, beggars, miscreants and pick thieves. Coming into that main hub the change is manifest: raised voices, drunken growls, car horns blaring at the insane, the monotonous pleas of beggars, beer cans and wine bottles left under the seats of the tramway stop, human shit dehydrating and turning black in dark corners, piss streaming across the sidewalk, men wandering around holding their trousers up, going through bins, harvesting cigarette ends. In this place that can deliver anyone to any corner of the city, it's ironic just how many others have no place to go.

She was sat in the island in the middle of the road. She had legs only they were bent far back in the wrong direction at the knees and fixed there by some diabolical force of nature so as her back calves were facing the world. Her filthy toes were a tongue's length from her mouth; her face looking out over the soles of her inward twisted feet. To her left was a little straw egg basket containing a cardboard sign asking for money, and alongside that a few coins were scattered about as encouragement to the world. Her arms were also affected: one full length and crippled with the hand frozen in a contortion of fear, and the other, shrivelled away to just a small wing like thing. I was horrified and curious. There was something in the young beggar girl's deformity which repulsed me, and yet the freakiness of such a sight attracted me for the paragraph of literature I could exploit from it. Crossing the road I made my way to the tobacconist and then purposely took the same route back just so as I could pass her by once more.

I walked at a half pace. From behind I studied her form, her clothes, her hair. I could taste the grease, the dried skin and lice in it. Her backbone was surprisingly straight. I made my way past, crossed over the main road, then doubled back around the metro as if I'd gone to take the wrong entrance. From across the road I watched her, balanced on the axle of her arse. It made me cringe, imagining the angle of her lower pelvis bone crumbling away against the hard concrete ground. I crossed the road once more. She eyed me. She was a beggar exploiting her misfortune and was infinitely aware of everything moving on around her, every look of horror or sympathy, every hand going into every pocket and by movement alone knowing which hands would pull out a coin or two and which were going in just to rattle the cash and taunt her. On arriving at the island this time I decided to approach her. I asked if I could take her picture for 5 euros. She wasn't French and didn't understand. She looked at me lost, her eyes wide with fear and panic like I'd pulled chloroform around her mouth and nose. I mimicked taking a photo and then showed her five euros, holding it up like it would make sense of anything. She said something, some tragic noise that belonged to no language

He appeared out of nowhere like he'd been there all the time. A little man in a cheap white panama hat, thick skin the colour of tobacco spittle and hands covered in dark-blue self-inked tattoos. In very poor French he asked what I wanted with the girl.

"Photo," I said, once again mimicking a camera clicking, "five euros."

"No. No foto!" he said, waving his hands like it was completely out the question.

I didn't argue. We had attracted a small crowd of onlookers and I'd have felt like a right scoundrel taking a photo of a severely handicapped beggar girl. I already did feel like a scoundrel. I made to walk away when I heard: "Ten euros."

"Five" I said, stopping and turning back.

"No, not five, TEN!"

I shook my head.

Then he said: "Anglaizi? English?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Me, I live in Dublin for two years,” (holding up two fingers). "So you want foto of my daughter, yes?"

He said that with à bizarre look in his eyes, usually swapped only between males when referring to sex or illegal activity.

"No, it's OK. No photo. Forget it."

At that he lent in, a stub of a cigarettes in his mouth, the smoke curling up into my face. "You want fuck-fuck with my daughter? Foto too! 50 euros. Fuck-fuck clik-clik?" He gave a smile that revealed teeth as rotten as my own, though which repulsed me more. Sensing I was fixed to give a negative response, he said, "Look, she a good one, look", pulling on one of the invalids upturned calves as if to demonstrate how flexible she was. The calf didn't budge, just trembled like a short plank of wood but was otherwise locked in place. It was now apparent that the girl was also slightly mentally retarded. I wondered how many men had fucked her. I couldn't possible know the answer to that, but I did. I knew because I know this world. Too many was the answer. I made quick to get away from this circus, the beggar man's dark tanned and dirty tattooed hand clawing me back as he laughed and said "fuck-fuck clik-clik fuck-fuck clik-clik."

It was gone 9pm when I arrived at the Place Ambroise-Courtois in Monplaisir . The tables from the bars and bistros were still out in the square, occupied by couples and friends. The distant sky was streaked through with bubblegum clouds and a light jovial atmosphere was in the air. In the middle of the square groups of middle aged and old men were playing pétanque. I listened to the metal balls dent and crunch on the pink gravel. I smoked a cigarette and thought of nothing. It was a tranquil moment but on a nostalgic wind blew in a feeling of melancholy which seemed general to the evening and even more general to the smell of beer, coffee and perfume.

I had been aware of music playing from since I had arrived, but it was only now that I took proper notice of it. It was some kind of modern salsa-pop coming from the octagonal pavilion in the middle of the square. Wandering closer I saw couples dancing and an effeminate male instructor going to and from each couple and adjusting body parts, straightening backs, pushing male legs apart with his foot. I stopped and stood watching the evening dance lessons alongside a small crowd of other onlookers. I watched each couple, my eyes leaving one pair for another, observing their movements, their faces, the tenderness or coldness of their embraces. Then in a move that seemed choreographed for me, the couples parted like they were on revolving platforms, and in the opening, right in the middle of the pavilion, was revealed a haggard ragged man, dressed in cheap black, dancing alone though feigning clutching a partner in a classic closed position.

His eyes were gritted shut and a look of tortured pain was creased across his face. Where he'd lost his teeth his lower lip overhung like an ornate ledge. It was the face and movements of a chronic drunk. I watched the man dancing alone, watched him imagining away his loneliness, watched his hands sensually holding his imaginary partner, maybe all the women or men of his life. He wasn't dancing the salsa, but rather a waltz, living a classic romance, being the classic romancer in his drunken world.

It was while I stood fixed on the drunkard's loneliness that I first made out the laughter and the gasps. I wasn't the only one who had been drawn to this man; the better half of the square now watching him. With the laughter came fingers pointing, and following in turn, each table then moved around, the clientele of the bar straining to look his way as if it was an important part of life. Others in the square followed the fingers and eyes, all focused in with mocking at one man's public torment and distress. That's when the cheering, whistling and whoops of encouragement began. I didn't understand. I was still intent on the drunkard's face, the passion and sadness with which he waltzed with his memories. Then, under some strange spell of instinct, my eyes moved down, over the baggy black shirt tucked into trousers held closed by a thin belt, settling on the huge piss patch spread around the man's crotch and soaked down his left leg, urine still couling out his trouser leg as he danced alone in his own piss. And as the world laughed and pointed and whistled, I watched along with a volcano of sadness bubbling away inside of me, reminded of my mother in the school playground that day, or queuing up, jiggling with her legs crossed while buying cigarettes, or crashed out in social services, and I was hit by waves of brutal and tragic emotion, sobbing along to the salsa and the jeers of the world. A man wasted and alone, cradling himself in his own lonely dance. Me or him? Separated and defined by the flimsiest of events.

It was past ten when I passed the Notre-Dame homeless shelter on Rue Sébastien Gryphe. There was a lot of activity in the street, the city's down-and-outs making their way to the shelter before lockdown. One man was being carried like a wounded soldier by two mates either side, each one nearly out on his feet too. A battered woman stomped up past me, holding a can of beer, wobbling around as if walking on a pavement inflated with air, screaming obscenities at a man left behind at the gates of the shelter who was screaming back equally vulgar abuse. The street, now in the dark of evening, reeking of foulness, was full of bums, ex addicts and the mentally ill, all mooching slowly down, converging on the centre. The sidewalk and doorways were littered with the physical history of those who had almost made it but whose bodies had given out at the last. I poked my head in the entrance of the shelter glancing a quick look around for anyone I knew, anyone I'd scored methadone from in the past. From the dark of the grounds I saw someone's raised hand. At first I wasn't at all sure it was for me, but then I heard my name. I peered in more closely but couldn't make out the face in the darkness. The man rose and came across. He seemed happy to see me. Pulling out from his embrace I weaved to escape the current of bad odour he gave out. He smelled of rottenness and sperm, like my bed one winter in London. Standing back I looked at him in the tattered leather jacket he was swamped in, the grubby off-white t-shirt underneath, ripped and soiled by god-knows-what. The face was familiarish, but unplaceable.

"You won't get in tonight," he said, "I was down at 7pm to be sure of a bed."

"I'm not here for a room.. Just passing."

I looked at him trying desperately to recall his name, if he was a user or not. He didn't look like a user but I knew no-one outside of that. That's when I spotted his shoes, large loafish trainers encased in thick mud, the mud caked over his trouser bottoms too.

"you don't remember me, do you?" He asked.

"The face I do... but I'm not sure from where."

"Olivier!" he cried, "It's me from the Town Hall!"

And then I remembered and was shocked at the drastic change which had came over him. It was the same Olivier I had worked with for the City of Lyon, the same Olivier who had studied the Sexual History of Prostitution, who had a degree in Belle Lettres (which is literature), who had all his hair and sanity two years ago and now stood before me with not much left of either. He seemed hyper, but it wasn't drugs. His eyes flitted about, looking over his shoulder back towards something in the darkness. Then he looked at me and gave a weak, watery smile. He gave the impression that if I hugged him he'd break down immediately and sob until he died. I didn't hug him. That wasn't my job. I thought of whose job it was and wondered why they hadn't done something which was so evidently needed.

"And work??? Are you working?" I asked, knowing he wasn't, couldn't possibly be.

He shook his head, then turned around to look into the dark grounds of the shelter again.

"I must go, Olivier," I said.

He turned back with a worried, confused look on his face, like he didn't understand. I held my hand out and he shook it, all the while looking at me like I was to say something, clear some matter up. But I had nothing to say, nothing to clear up. Suddenly his eyes took on a lost look, like he didn't know me, and without a word he turned around and was going, trudging off into the dark of the grounds, in his mud caked shoes, just an odious smell left in receipt of his presence.

By the time I made my way back to the metro station the city had mostly cleared out and was sunk in the full beauty and tragedy of night. The hordes of Romanians who congregate on the pavement outside the supermarket to sell their salvaged wares were all gone, just a few sex workers remaining, their pimps or fathers sitting on the low wall of the tram stop drinking beer and whispering "Monsieur? Monsieur?" to each passing male. Down along the row of kebab shops young Mahgrebian boys raised their eyebrows as I passed. Not responding, and walking slowly by, one left his little group, hastened to catch me up, and on doing so, slowed to my pace, and out the side of his mouth said: Hashish? Goood, gooood hashish, monsieur? When I took no notice of him he kissed his teeth, said something derogatory about America, and rejoining his little possé, shouted: "muvva fukka, bitch!" I smiled to myself and walked on, glad the world was so cowardly and cruel.

In the metro I stood along the platform, staring into the vending machine without the slightest intention of buying anything. The driverless D metro arrived. I wanted to go home, was so tired for home, but my home was far from here and one euro seventy would not get me there. Stepping inside the carriage I was hit by the smell of alcohol and vomit and could sense a tension of violence in the air. It came from a young male at the far end of the carriage to my right. I watched him furtively. Early thirties; trim and lean; hunched over in his seat, spitting out the sodden husks of sunflower seeds. With the sudden torrid heat of the night, and the alcohol in him, he was sweating profusely and his face looked like it had been treated with anti- flame gel. Every now and again he would intentionally burp, letting out a new stench of bilious alcohol fumes, before glaring across my way. Something in him disgusted me. It was as if he had forced me inside his guts, a violation, the opening gambit of his domination over others. I avoided looking blatantly across. The métro pulled into its second stop. The man rose, ignored the doors closest to him, and made his way down the aisle between the seats, passing along the hand rails, swinging with the movements of the train, to exit via the doors opposite me. Letting go of the last handrail, he stood there drunkenly staring at me, swaying forward, a sunflower husk stuck on his bottom lip.

"Pardon, Monsieur!" he growled, meaning that I was in his way. I wasn't. He could not have had any more room had I not been there. Still, I stepped a step back. As he exited he spat a last gob of damp husks out his mouth and then burped.

In the last weeks I'd had my dealer rob me three times, a so-called friend do sleight-of-hand magic with bags of gear, seen one too many people corrupted by smack habits blaming their behaviour on mental illness and unresolved emotional trauma, had people revising history so as to look the victim in it. I had smiled but the insults and corruption in people were becoming stale.

Angry. Upset. Alone. Wounded. Bitter. I watched the metro map despondently as if it held some answers. The stations came into view. Doors shuddered open. Orange lights beeped triple. The doors closed. And it went on. Standing looking out the frontal lobe of the driverless train I watched the track ahead. In the distance I could see the next station as a point of light in the dark: Grange Blanche.

There comes a time when we must all descend into the dark heart of life and unite with and become the enemy, take our frustrations out on the weak and become as ugly in our dominance as we feel under submission. I thought of the disabled deformed beggar girl, wondering if she was still there, if the offer was still open. I imagined her stripped to the skin, towering over her, angry and frothing at the mouth, speaking only with the force of my hands, her crippled legs forced wide apart, to have her be reviled by herself through the sheer greed and repulsion with which I fucked her with. I thought of stooping lower than any other man, eating her pussy and gagging on the filth of Europe's immigration problem.

50 euros! Not even a meal in a half-decent restaurant.

50 euros! Half a pair of half-decent shoes.

50 euros! To possess someone entirely, to fuck and buck away with only my own orgasm to worry about.

I imagined her fear, her lack of desire, the pain that sex would cause her, the perverse light in which she'd view western sexual practices - ungodly acts which even at the height of her understanding she'd never be able to make sense of. I imagined fucking her with the hatred and sadness of an entire life, reimbursing myself of all the money I'd had robbed, really getting down to work, getting my full fifty euros worth out of her, mirroring all the horrors of our world in one brutal selfish barebacked violent fuck, a complete detox of all the rottenness of life.

I stood imagining that, wanting to abuse someone or something for all that I had seen and lived and become, somehow show in real criminal terms the hideous effect that this world does have upon us. I watched the open doors, disputing if I should alight or not. Beep beep Beep... And my chance was gone.

With no movement in the air the summer night was humid and sticky. I stared at my ghostly reflection in the dark window of the metro. I looked ravaged, life-worn. I thought of the father pimping out his handicap daughter, of thé drunk dancing alone and pissing himself, of the hordes of social shrapnel inching their wounded bodies and minds down to the homeless shelter, of the whores outside MacDonald's sucking on straws and swallowing milkshake, of the violence consuming so many people and the bitterness and corruption which reigns. In the vile regurgitated odour of red wine and vomit, in a deserted carriage of the late night metro, I stood alone and thought of all these things.

I was almost home. I had almost made it. I stepped off the tube and made towards the exit. So Dog We Were; so dog we are; So dog I am. Fuck Fuck Clic Clic Beep beep beep, at the end of another beautiful, and foul, smelling night.

- - -

My Thanks as Ever for reading, Shane. X

- - -



Kip Vanderhoff said...

Your words are like a boxing match, Shane. Heavy hit after heavy hit. I love it

Stacy said...

Another phenomenal post, Shane. Hope you are well.


Unknown said...

Brilliant as always

Anonymous said...

Fuck! Beautiful, fucked up, honest and despairing. Thanks for sharing. At least in this corner of the I internet it always seems like there is honesty in all it's full on and shocking glory. As always, thought provoking and had me hanging on every word.

Anonymous said...

"In the last weeks I'd had my dealer rob me three times, a so-called friend do sleight-of-hand magic with bags of gear, seen one too many people corrupted by smack habits blaming their behaviour on mental illness and unresolved emotional trauma, had people revising history so as to look the victim in it."

... Sorry to hear that. I hope better days are on the way for you x

Anonymous said...

Forget everything I said about the pissing. I’ll book the ticket right now

bigelow said...

I gotta admit when I began reading the ending I thought you'd blown it, trying to shock for shocks sake. I was literally shaking my head and then at the end of one of the crudest lines came : "gagging on the filth of europe's immigration problem." and I was immediately reminded that no-one else writing today - or ever - could have written that line and turned what felt like, up until then, a gratuitous and trashy sex/rape scene into a serious comment of the times. what followed on from that (the blurb you used on your FB page) was then just brilliant. Mightily impressed, Sir! Will ne'er doubt again.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thanks Kip... As I said on FB: I'd not much fancy climbing in the ring with just my words! X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Cheers Stacy... Another phenomenal woman likes a phenomenal post. This writing lark may be nothing more than a cure for loneliness. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Anon... "brilliant as always"... Not sure all those lovers who have ended up in psychotherapy will agree with that... Though one or two might. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I'm sure there'll be more in these
series of posts... Surely one concerning the Black House and all the dog behaviour that took place there. Thanks for yr words... Always appreciated. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I guess you make your own days better in this world, and though it's the only sure way, to become reclusive and rely only on yourself, for me that is also a defeat at the hands of this life and I'd rather keep some hope open for people and humanity and be often disappointed rather than live with the disease of solitude. The next person who comes along proferring hope and kindness I'll buy just as fully into it again. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I can see the future and it's decadent... God, it's frightening and thrilling thinking want success would do to someone like me. X

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to it. Thanks for responding.

Anonymous said... favorite blogger is replyijg :) you are such a great writer it brings me to the verge of tears. Please don't let them fuck you. I know you would never rape a disabled girl because the world is a fucking assholse, so don't tell yourself u would. You have morals and standards. I can tell from your writing you would never do that. There are good ppl in your corner (even of you don't know it and they are on the other side of the world). Stay awesome. I (and so many others) are hanging for those books u will write, for every blog post..... There are good ppl our there ..... Sending u a huge hug :)

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thanks, man. But personally I'm not against gratuitous sex and violence, and in many ways don't really see it as gratuitous. In life, everyday, sex and violence is gratuitous... So if that's reflectedin art, then what may seem gratuitous, really isn't as it's reflecting the world (or feeding it) and then becomes something much more interesting and required. Personally, I always like to reveal man/woman through sex/violence... those very base instinctive behaviours really interest me, the truths they show up... The honesty of who we are
hwhen we're trying so hard not to be it. The way this world is, economically, politicall'y and socially means we are all a little of what we don't to be... We all become corrupt in response to corruption. X

Anonymous said...

But despite thoughts of gratuatis sex/violence would u have actually done it? The writing and imagary aside? Would you honestly have honestly gone through with you describe?

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

No, sex with disabled girls is not my fetish... That doesn't interest me. The point was to show how sometimes, whether when angry, bitter, feeling used/abused, etc our actions and thoughts can change and we are all then capable of doing things in an effort to make ourselves feel better. Often, as humans, our response to feeling bad is to make someone else feel even worse. It's like how group therapy helps, hearing and bring calmed by someone else's horror story which makes ours look like nothing. What I wrote was an extreme case, but the same mentality exists in more subtle ways every day. And there's another thing, imagine it wasn't a handicap beggar gir offered but something that I really desired, some fetish sex act I couldn't fulfil in my everyday life. Would I take advantage then? Maybe. I guess I'm just fortunate that my lovers have mostly always satisfied me. X

JoeM said...

So dog we are indeed – and I'm a mongrel! Who wants to be a namby pamby pedigree...

I liked the way this gives off the atmosphere of the city night. And the way atmospheres change so quickly when you walk on a little or get on and off a tube/metro. Reminds me of the recent trip to London with George - endless changes of scenario with every tube ride.

She was infinitely aware of everything moving on around her, every look of horror or sympathy, every hand going into every pocket and by movement alone knowing which hands would pull out a coin or two and which were going in just to rattle the cash and taunt her.

Indeed. Those who depend on the kindness of strangers are infinitely aware of their surroundings.

Re: 'gratuitous' sex and violence. I've always found it strange that for example a sex scene in a film or TV program has to be 'justified'. Why can't it just be there for it's own sake? Nobody talks about a 'gratuitous sunset' in a film. Everything in a work of art is 'gratuitous'. The things we single out requiring special justification tells you so much about society's hangups.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Joe, yes, you're so right about gratuitous 'sunsets'.... gratuitous 'happy endings'... gratuitous soppy ot dramatic music, etc. I don't know, in life, apart from when trying for a baby, is there ever any real reason behind why two people fuck? It just happens. There doesn't need to be a reason behind it.

Yeah, I enjoy trying to capture atmosphere in my writing and there are especially two very distinct moments which I am obsessed with and have been trying my entire life to nail (without success). Those moments are: real, lazy subdued afternoons when you lay down and hear all the sounds of the city, and secondly, that magic moment in summer evenings just as the city dies, with the light on the turn, (before the coming of night and the filling of bars), when the park gates are being chained closed, the heat has dropped, the last echoes of people going home ring out, etc. I am obsessed with those two specific moments, and I think i'll never really nail them in a way i'm satisfied with. X

Anna Grace said...

I am proud to say in 2009 HeroinHead as he is/was known in the blogging world, was a follower of my blog. I liken it to having Kurt Cobain come see your bands show just before blowing up in the music world, and buying one of your bands cassettes even if he only listened to one song once or as it is here, read one blog post once.
All luck in the universe Shane, from here on out I foresee much success and hopefully happiness.

Anonymous said...

Un post discrédite parfois en un rien de temps certaines postures humanistes ( de ce vernis de conscience sociale, de profondeur et d'empathie que l'on s'offre à peu de frais en épinglant à son blog les beaux écussons de la cause gay, de la lutte contre le racisme et le fascisme ... )

La laideur et le voyeurisme de ton regard sur cette jeune fille handicapée, dont tu penses pouvoir faire "un paragraphe de littérature", que tu veux prendre en photo tel un animal de foire (qu'importe ce qu'elle pourrait ressentir!) n'a rien à envier au regard des spectateurs des zoos humains du 19ème siècle, lesquels exhibaient comme des "monstres" et des "créatures" des êtres humains différents.

Tu peux compter qu'il se trouvera plein d'internautes couillons pour trouver "brillant" l'exposé de ton fantasme de viol sadique.

Même tes réponses aux commentaires réifient cet être humain : elle devient "la mendiante OFFERTE" ( Tu valides donc cette exploitation ?), directement comparée - et donc réduite - à une chose et à une pratique sexuelle ("imagine it wasn't a handicap beggar girl offered but something that I really desired, some fetish sex act I couldn't fulfil in my everyday life").

A un commentateur s'inquiétant de ton réel désir de réaliser ce que tu décris, tu réponds seulement que les femmes handicapées ne sont pas ton truc ( comme si l'exploitation, elle, ne faisait pas du tout sujet). Tu parles de tes goûts et pratiques ( sexe violent), qui importent peu : quid du consentement de l'autre, de sa liberté, de son intégrité ? Quid de la domination par l'argent ?

Même en prétendant vouloir rendre compte du désir de faire mal et de sa genèse, le fait que tu questionnes si peu la domination et l'exploitation en dit long sur ton incorporation d'une certaine culture : comme si au fond, tout cela était légitime.

Mais, non, vraiment, tous les hommes ne sont pas des chiens. Il y a heureusement des hommes qui ne pourraient pas avoir ce regard, qui ont réfléchi, qui sont authentiquement féministes et fraternels. C'est sans doute aussi et avant tout une question de texture de sensibilité.

Je suis venue quelquefois ; rarement. C'est fini. ( Je laisse entre eux ceux qui trouvent subversive, brillante et neuve ta version d'une domination si ancienne)

Une lectrice française

Dana said...

This is my first visit to your blog; I am also a lover of beauty in dark places and have spent many a night nodded out in the bliss only heroin brings. What a well-written, captivating piece! I am hooked. I have found something new to be addicted to as I try to rebuild my life without drugs. (I was casually browsing as I intend to start my own blog about my years of drug abuse, the places addiction took me, and the places I will go sober/on methadone maintenance) I will most definitely be back! Thank you for putting your thoughts into words! You are a brilliant writer and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Anonymous said...

Je reviens préciser mon propos, car j’y ai repensé et j’ai trouvé que je n’avais pas été suffisamment explicite.

C’est de la culture de domination MASCULINE ( qui s'exerce sur les femmes) que je parlais. Tu sembles n’avoir jamais réfléchi à cet ordre social de la domination masculine, qui imprègne tes propos ( post et commentaires).
Ainsi, cette question incroyable que tu te poses : " Imagine it wasn't a handicap beggar girl offered but something that I really desired, some fetish sex act I couldn't fulfil in my everyday life. Would I take advantage then? Maybe. I guess I'm just fortunate that my lovers have mostly always satisfied me ". En quoi le désir de réaliser un fantasme inassouvi annulerait-il le caractère abusif de la démarche ? Le désir sexuel des hommes déciderait-il donc de ce qui est légitime, acceptable ? Faudrait-il des cohortes de femmes-objets (vendues par leur père ou le plus souvent contraintes par la détresse économique ou psychologique) dont le destin serait d' assouvir les désirs unilatéraux des hommes, en sacrifiant leur propre santé mentale et physique, leur vie personnelle, leur bonheur ? Il me semble que tu ne sais pas et ne sens pas ( en tout cas, pas en profondeur) la Nuit qu'est le plus souvent, pour les femmes, la prostitution ; les souffrances et les stratégies de survie qu'implique cette vie. Ou sinon, la prostitution t’apparaîtrait sans doute comme… une blessure de la pensée. (Faire quinze passes par jour pour acheter ses yaourts et rembourser son hypothèque est-il un horizon de vie que tu te souhaites à toi-même ?)

Mesures-tu que les femmes prostituées arrivent là justement parce qu'elles sont des femmes, dans une société inégalitaire, qui les rend plus susceptibles d'être victimes de la précarité, ou d'un passé de violences (notamment sexuelles) ? T'es-tu jamais interrogé sur le "bon-droit" que s'arrogent les hommes, depuis toujours, sur la sexualité des femmes ? As-tu déjà questionné et objectivé l'endroit d'où tu parles ? (C’est à dire, la position sociale dominante que tu occupes, en tant que : HOMME. BLANC. Et avec 50 euros dans ta poche).

Je trouve aussi qu’il y a suffisamment de violences sexuelles exercées contre les femmes dans la réalité pour ne pas se faire, en littérature, le « VRP » de cette culture de domination. (Que presque personne ne te fasse de remarque sur le sujet me paraît assez symptomatique de cette banalité de la domination, motif littéraire comme un autre… - et d’ailleurs, n’as-tu pas dit, comme d’autres, que tu aimes Sade ? Il est vrai qu’ en littérature comme dans la vraie vie, il avait le bon goût d’aimer torturer et tuer … des femmes, plutôt que, par exemple, des noirs. (C’est dire s’il était progressiste)

Il semble que la capacité d'empathie de certains hommes se dissout dans la différence sexuelle : comme si les femmes étaient des êtres radicalement différents, auxquels il serait impossible de s'identifier.

Mais indépendamment même de la culture de domination masculine qui baigne ton texte et tes commentaires, ce que j’ai trouvé franchement saisissant, c’est l’absence de tout sentiment de proximité, de fraternité (ne parlons même pas de tendresse) dans ton regard immédiat sur cette fille handicapée, rendue objet, de curiosité, de littérature et de photo. Et pourtant, là encore, « Insensé qui crois que je ne suis pas toi » (Hugo)

Voilà, je crois que c’est tout ce que je voulais dire – qui n’appelle pas particulièrement de réponse ; je ne veux pas, se faisant, me poser en être moralement supérieur ni en redresseur de torts public ( du reste, qui lit le français ici ?). Mais je tenais vraiment à te faire parvenir les pensées qui m’ont traversée, et à les exprimer "au plus juste".

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Salut Lectrice Française... You must excuse me for not replying, I'm not ignoring you, I've just had no internet connection for the past two weeks and to reply to a comment like this with my phone is very difficult.

Your words are very interesting, though you have badly interpreted the text and you've read it as purely autobiographical where, in fact, the end thought of paying someone to have sex (just happens to be a woman here, but could have equally been a disabled man) in order to abuse them is not autobiographical but the part of the text which turns into comment and reflection andr reminds the reader that the 'I', the first person, the Me/the author/You, is also a dog, is far from perfect, is also terribly affected by this selfish hierarchical world in which we live and die, and like most who are victims, are dominated, we turn from abused to abuser in order to make ourselves feel better about it... Get rid of our frustrations and guilt. But that's a very simple explanation, as I could write an entire book on that imaginary abuse scene and it's meaning.

But regardless, in that scene, tje weak part of the person is not that she is female, but that she is physically disabled and financiall'y crippled and can therefore able to be dominated physicalay/financially. Male or female has nothing to do with it. The text would be unchanged if it was a young disabled male beggar.

My respect for women, after living my entire life together with a few great loves, is so great, of such equality, that you will never find me even talking about equality for women as that is a great insult in itself. I would punch a woman as I would punch a man, and that is the mark of my respect. I've never punched a woman and outside of my teenage years have never punched a man, but under the right circumstances I would treat them both the same without a second thought. I do not think civilian women being killed in war is any bigger crime than killing male civilians. And you have terribly misinterpreted the text if you believe I do. My mother is a woman, and I died and killed myself wanting to be the equal of other women. This text goes far beyond gender.

Bear with me as this isn't a proper reply. Either sign up for tje comment notification or drop me your email and I'll give you notice when I'm back online and have replied. Until then, all My Thoughts, Shane.. X

Anonymous said...

Merci pour ta première réponse. M'en voudras-tu beaucoup si j'y réponds déjà ?

Tu ne peux pas empêcher que la scène que tu décris soit aussi lue comme une scène ordinaire de la domination masculine, avec une dimension socialement très genrée :

- La prostituée handicapée que tu décris a plein de soeurs valides elles aussi victimes d'exploitation proxénète, parce qu'elles sont pauvres et parce qu'elles sont femmes ! Le handicap vient renforcer cruellement ces deux facteurs de vulnérabilité. ( Car évidemment qu'être une femme est en soi un facteur de vulnérabilité face à la force physique des hommes et dans une société empreinte de domination masculine.)
Les femmes représentent la majorité des personnes prostituées, à destination d'une clientèle masculine ; le recours à des femmes prostituées par des clients hommes est souvent légitimé et banalisé.

- le viol des femmes est une réalité sociale importante.

- Tu évoques le besoin de se décharger sur quelqu'un des amertumes de la vie : un certain nombre d' hommes se vengent et se défoulent effectivement d'un tas de choses ... précisément toujours sur le corps des femmes.

- le narrateur est un homme hétérosexuel qui vit dans ce monde-là, structuré par cet ordre sexuel-là, et qui envisage le viol d'une femme sexuellement exploitée ( renvoyant à une imagerie récurrente et à une réalité sociale récurrente). Même si tu ne l'as pas souhaité, tu ne peux pas faire que ta scène n'ait "rien à voir" avec tout ça et n'évoque pas tout ça.

Quant-à l'usage que tu fais du "nous", prêtant au plus grand nombre une disposition naturelle à désirer annihiler l'autre pour se sentir mieux, il est terriblement abusif et prend les lecteurs en otage. Ce "nous" collectif dans lequel je ne me reconnais pas du tout m'a fait bondir, car après la terrible scène de viol envisagée par le narrateur, il résonne comme une banalisation de la violence sexuelle. Ton exemple est trop terrible pour prétendre représenter la mauvaiseté humaine plus ordinaire ; et de l'autre côté, la violence sexuelle mérite une analyse plus spécifique ( notamment en termes de genre).

Anonymous said...

Par ailleurs, tu philosophes sur cette mauvaiseté potentielle et cette imperfection qui nous concerneraient tous, et sur le narrateur imparfait naviguant dans un monde hiérarchisé : mais tu réfutes, te concernant, la moindre trace de sexisme et de culture de domination masculine, tandis que je les devine justement dans tes commentaires personnels sur la sexualité ( Que tu devises légèrement sur "le sexe et la violence gratuits", alors même qu'il est question de viol et d'exploitation et qu'un internaute s'inquiète de ton éthique personnelle ; ou que tu te demandes mollement s'il serait abusif de recourir à une femme exploitée, pour peu qu'elle ne soit pas handicapée et que l' "offre" corresponde à tes désirs et à tes frustrations.). Là encore, tu ne peux faire que tu ne sois pas un homme hétéro, dans une société patriarcale, en train de considérer les modalités possibles de la sexualité avec des femmes.

L'ordre sexuel oppressif de la prostitution ( sur lequel, symptomatiquement, tu ne dis rien) et les violences faites aux femmes me semblent des enjeux et des combats nettement plus prioritaires que... la critique de la vision paternaliste qui veut protéger (pour une fois, après tout) les "faibles femmes" des coups et de la mort dans les guerres.

Quant aux autres exemples que tu donnes pour preuve de ta sensibilité égalitaire, je ne suis pas certaine qu'ils soient très judicieusement choisis : " Je taperais une femme comme je taperais un homme" serait presque drôlatique si la capacité physique de défense de la dite-femme n'était moindre que la tienne - ce qui a des chances d'être le cas. Mais, dans ce monde où tant de femmes sont frappées au nom du bon-droit masculin, il était en effet urgent et visionnaire d'imaginer en frapper une au nom de l'égalité.

Par ailleurs le mot "égalité" n'a rien d'une insulte : c'est une revendication politique, légale et sociétale dans un monde où les femmes ne sont pas, dans la loi et dans les faits, les égales des hommes. Et ça correspond à des luttes sociales réelles.

Quant à ta mère qui est une femme, c'est un mérite partagé par bien des fils - même les pires ;)

Peut-être aurais-je dû t'adresser ces messages de façon plus privée, pour une communication vraie, débarrassée de regards tiers. J'espère quoiqu'il en soit en l'authenticité de ta réponse, et j'essaie de te communiquer mon mail quelque part. ( Et pardon pour la longueur : le referai plus !)

Anonymous said...


Kiki said...

Stunned by the beauty of your ugly words.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thank you Kiki! Likewise, stunned by the beauty of our ugly world. X

Anonymous said...

Shane, are you alive? We haven't heard from you in a long while. Please tell us that there will be more splendid blog...

Anonymous said...

Will there be more posts?

Anonymous said...

Will there be more posts?

Claudia said...

I've been stalking your blog for months, have read "So Dog We Were Too" at least five times and loved it more for each reading. It reminds me of my time living in Paris and hanging around Chateau Rouge, the open air drug market where many times I went to score Skenan, Subutex, rohypnol or Rivotril or whatever combination was on tap for the day. Depravity abounds there too. While I was there I never really thought I'd miss it in all its filthy glory but this post makes me nostalgic for it.
Thank you for making your writing available like this, it's fascinating and beautiful.
All the best,

Unknown said...

You must be one of the greatest living writers. No doubt. I keep coming back to.your blog, reading your stories over and over again. Been turning people who understand good literature onto your writings. You deserve to be big, man....

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thanks Giorgio... you're way too kind. X

Unknown said...

This. This is gritty and brilliant. It is high praise when I say that this is burned in my brain and I felt like I needed a shower after reading it. You are truly a gifted writer.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thank you Emme... that's very kind to say. there's a very beautiful audio version on Youtube... have you listened to it? X

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Joshua T Ervin said...

Shane, thank you for writing and posting so many great texts on this website, I’m not a heroin user but I’m fascinated with reading your works. I’ve spent many hours being entertained by the words you’ve written. Please keep writing and posting your great stories. Among my favorites are the three syllabus of deceit stories and the one about Pete, the speed fiend. I’m not sure why your writings interest me so much but as I said I enjoy them very much. Thanks again and I hope you’re well, or as well as anyone can be.

Sincerely yours,
Joshua T. Ervin