All posts by arsène hodali

How I Try To Reach With Words What Matters Most And How I Fail

Language is a poor translator.

You ask me how a moment feels, and after proper consideration I say, “Like Rwanda,” and you think I’m being poetic-yet-again, soft, weird, strangely romantic; but I’m telling you that it feels like making a dangerous game of running barefoot because it’s that hot in the summer, like visiting family who live on mountains so far removed that at night the fireflies light the edge of the world and the stars are big enough to be a handful, like classrooms with no doors and teachers with sticks big enough to beat knowledge into you, like laughing hysterically after a rabid dog bites your friend in the butt, like granddad laughing about bombs placed in his cars, like knowing dad by his presence in the shadows of your memories.

… and I say, “Like Kenya,” and I’d mean it feels like Continue Reading →

The American Flag

Refugee bans are as American as the protests against them. The mindsets behind both are deeply woven into the fabric that is the American flag.

Anne Frank and thousands of other refugees were refused admittance into a land they deemed free. And today there’s a parallel. There’s a parallel, yes, but it’s important to also realize that in that parallel the United States of “back then” would have to have been bombing Anne Frank’s house as well.

For the refugee fleeing hell today has to be wondering where all this humanitarian outrage was as she watched your country bomb her brothers, her mother, her friends. As she watches.

Imagine fleeing into the arms of the person who murders people you know and love dearly for a better life. Imagine having to plead over and over again for them to open their arms.

Imagine you having the luxury to not talk politics.

How To Double Your Income And Happiness

Each letter of W5H that you fully control doubles your income and happiness.

Someone making $40,000 a year who always works on whatever they want, with whomever they want, wherever, whenever, whyever, and however they want multiplies their income by twelve – they’re really living the life of someone who makes $480,000.

It’s that simple. Practicality over everything. Stop focusing on how much money you make or on how you absolutely love what you do, it’s about how many letters you’ve got locked down.

Looking For God

To Whoever’s Running in 2020,

Obama ran his campaign on salvation as hope for the future. And Trump ran his campaign on salvation as reclamation of the past.

Bernie told us the truth. That he’s us, only another small being in a vast and corrupt world and that the only person that can save us is ourselves. We don’t want to hear that, we want to be saved. Hillary never offered salvation of any kind. In a way, she was pretty truthful in that, her silence telling us there’s no salvation to be had in putting our lives in one person’s hands. We really don’t want to hear that.

So, if you really want to be President, whoever you are, tell us you’re going to save us. You don’t have to mean it, just dress the part of the messiah.

Yours truly, #America

On Fame And The Presidency

I hate fame. I hate it because it’s an empty currency. I hate it because a system that deals in empty currencies leads to empty men.

People keep thinking we’re past our neanderthal days of judging men solely on their success and women solely on their beauty, but we’re not – in almost all fields men will always be judged on their accomplishments and women on their beauty first and foremost, everything else is secondary. Just look around, the numbers never lie.

Even in industries solely consisting of female audiences like relationship advice and sexology women will still listen to an accomplished man of average intelligence over an ugly woman at the pinnacle of genius. The words coming out of their mouths are always secondary, just look around.

And if the ability to provide food (success) and the ability to provide children (beauty) are still our species’ golden currency, fame is the paper dollar. It’s the currency not of gold, but the idea of it.

If you’re a famous woman you can walk into a company and tell them that you’re not actually willing to do anything of worth, but you will sell them your image of beauty. And if you’re a famous man you can sell them your image of success. For an exuberant price.

That’s insane! But a man named Donald Trump saw great opportunity in the madness and became the most qualified man in the field of the empty currency. Fame became Continue Reading →

We’re Here, We’re Now

People aren’t actually obsessed with their phones. If they were they’d get one without putting most of their attention on how good the camera is. A phone’ll cost you $99 tops, a camera $300+, what are you carrying?

When you pull it out at concerts and car crashes to snap a couple, when you meet your idols and your first thought is to ask for a pic, when you’re in presence of good food and great views and your first thought is to capture rather than to breathe fumes, and when you can’t go anywhere without it, you’ve got to realize that your phone doesn’t take pictures, your camera sometimes makes calls.

Everyone’s a photographer – that photographer, subconsciously aware that something actually interesting happening in their life is a rarity, that can only be captured only if they’re always prepared, only.

And so we carry these cameras that make calls, text-gossip to pass the time Continue Reading →

Let Me Help You

This has been a weird sort of two weeks for me.

Brexit‬ made me feel angry and powerless to help my friends of African and Indian origin who were facing unjust persecution in a land they loved, and then ‪Alton Sterling‬ and ‪‎Philando Castile‬ were murdered in the land of the free so I found a small release for my powerlessness – I could donate to their families, throw money at them and feel… less impotent.

Then I realized, wow, I’m a piece of shit; here’s this amazing device for intercontinental connection and voice, and all I’m using it for is as speedy means of deriving some sort of self-satisfaction from helping the needy, wow. There loomed above me this heavy rain of a question about myself that was hard to weather.

In the meantime, I ended up being front and center as Continue Reading →


All of my UK friends of African or Indian descent have expressed to me how the racism they’ve faced in the past couple days amounts to a couple years’ worth. They’ve been verbally abused, told to go home, spit on, &c.. All of them.

People hate being told how racism is still alive in such “progressive” times, but are lost for words when things such as Brexit unfold and suddenly there’s an uptick in racism. “My word, where did all these racists come from?” the lady next door exclaims, shocked. They were always here ma’am, you don’t notice them because they don’t target you.

(I mean, I’ve lived in Texas and Georgia Continue Reading →

the cool

Our friendships are made of… the buzz. The cool, the mixed signals and covered moon. Genuine laughter. Dancing something with no name to it with you but would rather be doing anything else. Something like the middle finger, the smile, white teeth showing. Dimples, and beaches, and jungles, and weeds, and healthy foods, and tattoos, and something we think original. Pronounce that right, thank you. Whatever, go on, be happy. Topless models, breathtaking conversations, patios with great views, nights we’ll never remember and real love. Caramelized popcorn, back-to-back movies, and unforgettable sex – reel love? Hour-long somethings and chills. Under-exposed photos, the blurs. Designer shit. Good nights, bad mornings, gorgeous women with dark shades of lipsticks, tired eyes getting everything they want. Not you sweetheart, something like the movies; the noons, the mixed signals and ever coveted moons.

What are we selling? We’re on our third passport and we’re bored. Wouldn’t change a thing though.


A night full of talking that hurts; my worst held-back secrets, her worst held-back desires. Lord, our hearts can’t take this! But we keep on. Everything has to do with loving and not loving. Mystical conversation; often, the closest we come to surrender is orgasm but we’re past that… where are we? Closer. We move; milk, and honey, and warm chocolate, and a stirring of the spoon comparable to your waist around mine. Dancing something supple but we break.

This night will pass, but we had it. The night will pass, then we have work to do.