Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poem 17 – How to run in a war

[The assignment was to write a piece of fiction. Luckily there was something fictionish in the archive.]

How to run in a war

The director has made the decision. A single man will survive, though not the one who is a lithe expert in how to evacuate the scene of destruction, while only adding to it marginally and catastrophically though indirectly. Those who die by the hands of the director decidedly deserve it while those who die in the war upon which he directs decidedly do not. They are part of a tragedy that neither he nor I, nor the strange statesman-like figure, can speak of authentically (and therefore our impotence to meaningfully intervene) though we do go forth authoritatively.

Admissions as such more suspect than the original problem.

We breathe tremendous relief when the survivor takes the stand. Applause breaks out. After the credits roll he’ll be shot by his own hand or by one of his gold rimmed pursuers. The blond may feel guiltily about this while nodding on her own interior voice telling her and echoed by murmurs from the audience: it was all for the greater good. Friends now with his wife and his kids. On every repeated arrival, for each, a hug.

Cleansing him—the survivor—will make the booty valuable again. We buy the book and speak heavily of what he said about writing poetry, or making movies, or doing drugs.

(While writing this, I am bloody as well as greasy.) Simultaneously, a march is happening for a young soldier who was shot while on his 12 hour R&R. It’s hard to say which side his assailants were on or what the sides are. Or what we mean when we say agree, since we all do—agree to it all that is. The director put in a familiar scene in which the ‘native’ queries the young post-colonial mercenary about his lack of a wife and kids, the nod it gives to the wisdom of tribal innocence, for that must be it, where we went wrong without a substitute. Until we figure one out, and when I say figure what I mean isn’t figurative but actual figures, it’s all blood, and weapons, and knowing how to run.

But wait a minute, there’s one more…this deliberate scrambling we aren’t sure at first which language we’re in should we try to understand.

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