war


Some of ya’ll have seen these before, but today is the day for it.

 

Pixilated

Round and round like a crystal spinning,
my father’s stories stirred
the magic behind my eyes.
Pixilated—fairy-led—that’s what I was,
entranced by his wit,
a slave to my ears, learning
the proper way to tell a proper story.

Dad told many stories.
Some of them were even true.

At seventeen, he lied about his age,
enlisted in the Army to fight the Kaiser:
World War I, the Big Show, the adventure,
to show the Evil Hun
Yankee what-for over there.

“Saw action at Saint Mihel
and at the Ardogne Forest.”

That’s the only story I have
of the charnel house he fought through—
from his discharge papers of 1919,
fresh from the convalescent hospital,
recovering from the poison gas he’d tasted.

If I can hardly comprehend
that flesh of my flesh lived through
that ancient, distant conflict,
looking at me, I imagine,
he couldn’t quite fathom himself
that more than forty years on from that time,
he’d been given new life.

Dad told many stories.
Some of them were even true.

But he never spoke of that horror,
and when I queried of glorious battles,
as children like so much to do,
loquacious Dad broke into silence.
Shifting his eyes to the floor,
he’d mutter, “Enough, now.
You don’t want to hear about that.”

He’d turn the stories neatly
to French m’amselles, especially one
whose father had a cafe in Paris;
to the time he was a cook
on a fishing boat out of Juneau
and the walls of water inside a gale
nearly sent them to the bottom;
or to the lightning strike which took out the boy
sitting next to him on a fence watching baseball . . .

Years after he died I learned the truth
of 1918, that horrible year of mud and carnage
I’ll never truly understand,
though I’ve heard other men’s stories
of sacrificed youth at a bloody altar,
seen grainy black and white photos and films,
peering anxiously at each young Yank,
hoping to see, hoping not to see
the child who would become my father.

Round and round swirled liquid in amber,
the whisky spinning in my father’s bottle,
hot on his lips, straight, no glass, burning
through to that space of not remembering.
Pixilated—demon-led—that’s what he was,
wandering a dark and lonely forest, mute,
trapped by his Celtic blood and all the blood
he’d seen, slave to memories which had no story.

PJ Thompson

 

And happy birthday, Auntie Maxine.

Maxine

Spring went screaming through the hills—
orange yellow green white purple—
dying to be noticed, all along the road
as we drove away from your sickbed.

“Life gives us clichés,” I said.
But the harsh comfort of spring remained.

The dark sky broke apart, the sun
muscled through, burning on the hills,
forcing on us the heartbreak of blue sky.

I want to believe you are in that sky.
I do believe you are in that sky,
or laughing in the hills you loved,
bare toes trailing clouds of wildflowers.

PJ Thompson

I’m not such a believer in prophecy. I give credence to premonitions because I’ve had experience with them, but grand prophecies always seem a stretch to me. Still, sometimes you can read the currents running through a society; sometimes the zeitgeist speaks clearly.

But when I was cleaning out some old files this morning, I came across this old post, “The Beauty of Moonlight,” written not long after George W. Bush launched his war against Saddam Hussein. I was not a supporter of this war. I thought it built on very shaky ground, and that it was mostly launched for two reasons: 1) because Bush wanted revenge against Saddam Hussein trying to kill his father, and 2) because the Bush Administration wanted to seem to be doing something in response to 9/11. I think the attack against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan was a direct response to that attack, but Bin Laden eluded capture and the dogs of war were baying for more and more visible and easy to hit targets. And so we launched an illicit war.

Make no mistake about it: Saddam Hussein was an evil mofo. But there are many such evil rulers across the globe which many U.S. administrations have turned a blind eye to. The attack against Iraq wasn’t about that at all, and I believe the U.S. sold a piece of its soul when we launched it. I will forever honor the men and women who fought in that war, but their honorable service was done at the behest of deceivers.

But prophecy…The first part of the post referenced above is about 9/11, the second half about the karmic debt we might have to pay as a nation for our actions in Iraq. I won’t restate it here because if you’re interested you can read that post.

The purpose of this post is to say that . . . we may currently be paying that debt. Our democracy, our “sacred” institutions are under attack in a way they have never been before. We’ve elected a Fascist and the Republican party is goose-stepping along in sync with his attack on the rule of law; hate groups are rising at an alarming rate. The good news is that we have good children who seem willing to take up the activism necessary to fight this evil, but we still have a long way to go before we can clean this mess up. And let’s be real–things will never be the same again. Once those dogs of hatred are loosed in any society they only want more chaos. It will be a long, hard fight to defeat them.

If we can.

I believe in our children. I still believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the American rule of law that once before brought down a crooked president. I was never more proud of this country than I was in the aftermath of Watergate because it proved that no American was above the law, even a president.

But I have no prophecy or premonitions to offer here. I only have hope that it’s still true.

Random quote of the day:

“The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.”

—Solomon Short (David Gerrold), The War Against the Chtorr

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would become tears.”

—Mahmoud Darwish

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“In the sex war, thoughtlessness is the weapon of the male, vindictiveness of the female.”

—Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave

kiss4WP@@@ 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

—Mohandas Gandhi, Non-Violence in Peace and War

madness4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Boredom slays more of existence than war.”

—Norman Mailer, interview, The Paris Review, Winter-Spring 1964, No. 31

 boredom4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Only the dead are safe; only the dead have seen the end of war.”

—George Santayana, “Tipperary,” Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies

dead4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.”

—attributed to Dwight D. Eisenhower

 preventive4WP@@@

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war? It is common knowledge that with the advance of modern science, this issue has come to mean a matter of life and death for civilization as we know it.”

—Albert Einstein, 1932, letter to Sigmund Freud published with Freud’s reply as Why War? by the League of Nations

 war4WP@@@

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

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