War

Long, hot night. Underline long. Underline long twice. Make a squeeze-in mark and add “very.” Scratch out “very.” Add “terribly.” Scratch out whole line. The day has been like this. Who cares? Who should? Everywhere people are being killed, beaten, raped, or caged—things I wouldn’t subject an animal to. It doesn’t matter that I had a difficult day or that this night is terribly long.

We don’t need more options. We need more money. We the people are definitely not having fun. We have been impoverished so that a few people can enjoy the privilege of vaporizing whole towns and countries from hundreds of miles away, and make films from the nose cones of missiles of the ultimate arcade game.

War is money. Money is war. I like money so my ideas war. My war comes down to money – how to gather enough of it to do the things I think I should be doing. That’s hard, and it gets harder all the time. There’s too many people and not enough money. It always makes for war.

Rain falls like the night’s own tears. The whole town is stained with shimmering grief. There, in each separate cubicle, each apart-ment, there is grief as endless as this rain. And if those griefs were all gathered to a single, enormous list, it would be measured in terabytes, and no book could ever be made that would hold it all nor computer built that could load it without crashing. That the grief would flow away and dry like the rain would be my prayer if I still had a language with which to make prayers. I’d say the prayer out loud, “Let the grief dry like the rain,” to whatever god-form happened to be standing around. Then I could go back to whatever I was doing and feel that I had done my bit at least. But even the god-forms don’t stand around anymore. They slip from cover to cover like commandoes, silent as ghosts, trying more to stay out of the cross fire than to make any sort of statement. Perhaps, I understand, but that doesn’t mean I approve, so I’m left on my own.

Night falls like tears. What we see when we look at each other is terrifying. That consuming hunger to realize self, to be seen, touched, remembered, manipulated, is so huge and impossible to fill that someone must reach for it and fail, battle and lose, fall and make new grief. It is a river. Tears fall like rain. Rain becomes torrents, and torrents become rivers. Rivers become oceans—oceans we can drown in or learn to fish. Sometimes I put on my sailor’s cap and go walking on the water.

The night’s tears fall like rain. You’d think we’d have enough grief to get us by, but no, we make these wars, scar the lives of thirty million people forever in a night, a week, an eternity of digitally interfaced hell. Shed new blood to go down in the history books next to all that old blood already there. Rain falls like the night’s own tears. If I could remember all of my own ideas, not counting what I’ve been taught, but if I could simply keep in mind what I know, I would be a rich man. I would be the most powerful man on my street. But then, were I that powerful, I would probably be as horrible as the rest of the supremely powerful. So the god-form has blessed me with forgetfulness—at least I know who to be mad at… until I forget again…

I’m not drunk, but it would be a good idea to be because Americans fight well when we’re drunk. I know this because the movies say so. We take our licks, toss down a couple of pints, forget, and come back for more. That’s part of our problem with the Moslems. They can’t drink so they can’t forget anything so they’re worked up all the time. In due course they have gotten on our nerves. Apparently, we’ve had a similar effect on them. We crush them, get drunk, and forget. I’m fighting against sitting up all night with all the lights on watching TV. That’s my war right now—to throw off the tyranny of video and inertia, and think some kind of different thought, see the world in a non-ordinary way.

There are little wars everywhere. The skirmish lines form up at cash registers and stop lights. I am driving by a house, one I’ve never noticed before, but think that I catch a little muzzle flash in an upstairs window, or maybe it was a video-guided head game finding its target. I don’t know, but I feel the hostilities everywhere. It’s spooky. This is a different kind of war, ugly, confusing, covert.

The Soviets feared our nukes—a clever diversion Truman created to amuse Stalin—but the Soviets never dreamed that it would be our Visa cards that would take them out. They should have seen it coming, so I can’t say that I’m eaten up with sympathy. “This is Chapter 11, Mr. Stalin. You need Chapter 7 down the hall. No, sir, I don’t want to buy a watch.” I am speaking darkly again, opaque, crippled with obscure meanings. It’s only because I can hardly put a name on the thing I see. This war is everywhere. Young dudes in funny clothes lie in the sand waiting to turn each other into history for the same reason that I’m sitting with the lights on all night—too much of not enough. The war is everywhere.

One comment

Leave a Reply to Margie Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s