22 June 2007

every. day. and yesterday.

my girlfriend catherine had this beautiful quote attached to an email yesterday, one somehow i've missed over the years:

"I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

lately, i sit and think about this "war," and try to write about it - but it all ends up getting erased. everything i want to say just sounds like the same old, tired rhetoric that hasn't managed to change anything - but is seemingly everywhere. i feel like i'm continually swimming upstream in a torrential downpour. suffice it to say, this has been a great source of frustration for me. every once in awhile, something i read has the power to sock me on every level - makes me think, "damn, why can't i write like that? THAT is what wants to come flowing out onto my keyboard and just can't. THAT is what eludes me with every key stroke when i try..." i had one such moment yesterday over at angry ballerina's place. i'm going to share it here, now. because it is that good. and important. and perfect. and spot. on. a piece of writing that sparks me enough to dig back in and try again:

Wolf sees sheep. Sheep runs. Gets eaten.

After a nine and a half hour pull at work, stubborn customers, crass remarks at the hands of overzealous lesbians, and a terrible argument with Boss Man over the phone, I had two choices, drink myself into a sweet oblivion, and wake up with a regret stuck in the back of my throat, or go shopping. I went shopping. There are some regrets these days I can live with out alcohol induced or otherwise.

Standing at a kiosk selling wears of "rare" turquoise and lapis rings (please I saw these things in TF Green last month) I spot a Jar Head, about my age, canvassing. I can't help but not stare at how young this kid is. Squared off, proud of his 13 week accomplishment at Parris Island, a windbreaker adorned with the and anchor. He's being chatted up by a group of tan preppy girls, who look like they are right about the age of sophomore year in high school. I don't know who to pity more, the young Marine, or the group of girls vying for his phone number. Such an impressionable age. Who knows what recruiter told this kid to get him to join. I remember my own recruiter, his cars, his clothes. His actions. He was very good at what he did. He knew how to give an illusion of success, and how to sweet talk his way out of responsibility. Through his actions, and my own, he went down in flames, and took me with him. It happens, I made my choice, Ex made his, and this kid has also.
I wonder though, if this kid has this image of how Iraq, or getting shot at in general is like? Does he think, because he went thought basic, that in the event of open fire, he will be able to keep a level head? He seems so sure of himself here, safe, on an island jutting out into the Atlantic, a world away from a future job.

"The nights here aren't what you may expect them to be. Long stretches of quiet, broken by pop pop pops. Sometimes they're close, most of the time too far away to care. But you still hear them"

This sudden onset leaves me feeling rather stingy, I leave the knockoffs at the kiosk, and walk away. Young blood looks me up and down as I walk by, I smile, the favors returned. He seems like he could be a sweet kid, the kind that should be marrying his high school sweetheart, or some cliche like that. Not walking around, being paraded by a symbol of freedom that doesn't exist anymore. Does he know what he is doing? Does he care about what is going to happen to him? Does he know? I keep what happen to Ex close to my chest, it's not my story to tell in reality. I found myself at dinner a few days ago with an overly opinionated drunk accountant who felt the blood of innocent Iraqi's fell on the hands of our soldiers. I unfortunately had to sit there, and listen to this for about ten long minutes until I excused myself from the table, and Doan told him that the blood of Iraqi innocents doesn't fall on the hands of an entire occupational force, just a few bad apples. And then from what I found out later, he told him that the chick who just left the table (me) had a former who was critically injured while serving in the line, and should he feel like continuing his misinformed verbal assault on the memories of those who are lost, he would simply shove his foot up his ass. I think I gave that conversation as much justice as possible with out actually being there.

I'm sitting here, chain smoking cigarettes that cost me just over six bucks a pack, typing on a computer that cost me about two months pay, living in a cottage (barn actually) that costs me about a months pay. And I'm safe. No one is going to shoot at me tonight, or plant IEDs on the road so when I go to work, I trigger them. This occupation is over. We lost. There is no more. It just hurts to watch the t.v, to skim over the articles, and see again and again, how much this war cost. Its not the money. But that's what it boils down to isn't it? Cash flow? How much is that kid worth? How much is Ex worth? If I had stayed, how much would I be worth? I will gladly pay double the price of gallon for gas, I would gladly do that if this would stop. It's over. It's been lost from the beginning. Nothing has been accomplished, it started with men women and children dying in a single scream caught in the back of your throat, and it's going to end with men women and children dying in the same breath.

i'm also stealing fade's image he has posted - it contains one of my favorite howard zinn quotes of All Time Infinity. i don't think he'll mind.



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