Grammatically-enhanced transcript of a personal statement ~ بيان شخصيّ معدّل نحوياً

for the purposes of obtaining a taxicab-licence

Photograph by Isabel, taxis are driving along Times Square.

Isabel del Rio


Here is the beginning from the short-story Grammatically-enhanced transcript of a personal statement for the purposes of obtaining a taxicab-licence by Isabel del Rio. It is included in her book ‘Paradise & Hell’, and it tells the story of a young homeless man who wishes to escape from the terrible life he leads in the streets of New York by doing everything he can to get a taxicab-licence. The story talks about injustice and oppression against the destitute and the dispossessed trying to survive in big cities. Despite all the struggles, the young man in the story will not give up.

ملّخص القصّة

هذه بداية قصة قصيرة عنوانها “مخطوطة بيان شخصيّ معدّلة نحوياً لغرض طلب رخصة سيّارة أجرة” من تأليف إيزابيل دَلْ رِيو ضمن كتابها “الجنّة والجحيم”. تحكي عن شاب يفترش طرق نيويورك حيث لا مأوى له سوى الطرقات. يوّد هذا الشاب الهرب من هذه الحياة المرعبة والحصول على إجازة سياقة سيارة أجرة وأن يعمل ما في وسعه لتحقيق ذلك. تتطرق إلى اللا عدالة والقهر الذي يتعرّض له الفقراء والمعوزين في المدن الكبيرة ومحاولاتهم للعيش؛ ورغم ذلك لا يستسلم هذا الشابّ. 

الصورة التقطتها الكاتبة في تايم سكوير حيث سيارات الأجرة، نيو يورك-أمريكا

“I’m nobody in this big dark city, but I’ll defend that position with my life if required! Will I leave one day or will I always stay, I’ve no idea if someone asked me but I’d probably not hold it against them. I’ve not been known to exert undue pressure on people in order to survive, but I submit myself to large quantities of my own coercion so that I can get by from day to day. You see, the world isn’t what you take it to be, nor is it part of you or of anyone you care to know. It’s an undying thing, the world is, and you’re just passing by without leaving so much as an indent behind you. And even when you set out to mingle with the next person, it turns out they’re well outside your reach and wish nothing of the sort. Beyond me, everything is! Well beyond me, as far away as the stars can be! So, listen to me for now. This is my music! Stop and pay attention to this violin of my voice, this humdrum of my bodily sounds, the swish and whooshing of what I’m all about! I know I’m playing something far too sentimental for anyone to care, but I’ve something to say. And here it is: the world’s a simple enough place, life far simpler, people the simplest of them all. Yes, I know that most people stick to the given to grow, to mate, to multiply. But I’ll stand by my own home-grown truth: to appear and then disappear, that’s all there is. Why make it more complicated than it is? Why screw up matters with shilly-shallying? Why obscure when you can illuminate? And if you’ve got to stand up for something, do it! Oppose whatever it is that needs opposing! Not to oppose is to accept, to accept is to condone, to condone is to endure, to endure is to stomach, to stomach is to die. So, if you don’t oppose you die. It’s all so simple!”


story and photograph: Isabel del Rio


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