from the memoirs of a non-enemy combatant-alex gilvarry

“And so I spent the rest of my first day getting lost, making transfers, missing connections, falling in love. New York’s subway system is a rubber band of sexual tension, stretched and twined around the boroughs, ready to snap.” (13)

“One needed friends much more than lovers and enemies. This city was cutthroat.” (16)

“The last I will say on the matter is that when one does fall in love, there is always a dose of resentment that comes along with it. They go hand in hand. Things get on hold when two people fall for each other.” (108)

ain’t that the truth. i don’t know how it is for other people, but i have a hard time balancing my needs with those of someone i’m in a relationship with. how do you keep it together? by keeping it apart? that’s how i’ve been doing it, but i’m not sure it’s the most sustainable way.

i love the creativity employed to tell this tale. perhaps it was fitting that i was reading it just as omar khadr was being released. the setting of nyc is genius, as it’s one hostile environment that sets the scene for the next one-gitmo. and telling it under the guise of a fluffy story-fashion week rags to riches is a crafty move, because it brings into light the fact that this is a story that gets less attention than fashion week without making it so obvious that it corners people into having to bite and kick their way out of shame and denial.

“Isn’t that the hardest obstacle we artists have to cope with? Admitting to ourselves when something isn’t any good.” (140)

“And you won’t hear any of us called prisoners either. That’s forbidden too. We are detainees. It is all very clever on their part. Because we are not called prisoners, they don’t have to charge us with a crime.” (206)

“I’ve thought a lot about what my special agent said to me regarding each prisoner, how each of us has a valid reason to be here, though some of us don’t deserve to know why.” (230)

“Transport is your first introduction to solitary confinement, and so you retreat into your mind and try to endure the pain of your senses being suffocated.” (264)

“Because everything I write is in the past, I don’t see myself as living anymore. This is what happens to you when you are arrested. The present is shifted instantly into the past, and what had once seemed unfathomable-torment, misery, profound suffering-is now actual.” (267)

“What is it that they say? Home is where you hang yourself.” (5)

and, amen.


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