Thursday, December 24, 2009

Driven to Tears

“How can you say you’re not responsible?’

There is no Christmas celebration here in the Z household this year. No cause for joy, beyond the love that sits in our hearts, trying to spread out and cover the reality that is right outside the door.

How can one sit in comfort, safe from the violent predation that is seemingly creeping into every corner of our planet, and ignore the fact that – even if you didn’t ask for it or support it – innocent people are being killed to “defend the American way of life”?

I said innocent, and there is no arguing that fact, no matter how you try and twist it to arrive at justification.

“What does it have to do with me?”

I can’t say what has changed, what has shifted internally, but the mask has been ripped off and I find myself sitting here alternating between despondency and rage over what is being perpetrated in my name, supported by my labor via taxation, and held up as a right and just action to defend us from the evil terrorists out there that hate us for our freedoms. I almost just threw up typing that piece of propaganda.

Our president has won the Nobel Peace Prize, as he sends more and more people to their death. He makes a speech that his supporters hail as some kind of Divine work, and tries to tell us why it is all good, perfectly fine, and entirely necessary. How is it that we can drop bombs on Somalia and launch cruise missiles into Yemen, and everyone seems cool with it? How does the rest of the world stand by and not stop this undeclared warfare? Who are these people around me that celebrate these actions and cheer on the continued march of our boots across the planet, now heating up in Africa big-time? I know that there are supposedly some “radical Islamic” types there – or is it because there is something else there that we maybe covet?

“What is my reaction, what should it be?
Confronted by this latest atrocity”

I read a report by Siebel Edmonds yesterday that linked to some commentary in the mainstream media about our intention to expand drone attacks into a large (850,000)Pakistani city in an effort to take out some Taliban or “Al Qaeda” leaders or fighters (or some such horseshit). The report also detailed the fact that the 60 previous drone engagements resulted in the of killing 687 civilians while claiming only 14 “bad guys”, but for some reason this doesn’t seem to be a big deal to a large portion of our leadership, and probably went unnoticed by the vast majority of my countrymen.

I don’t know about the “rules of war” or how much “honor” is actually involved when one group takes up arms and chooses to engage in the destruction of another country/society/culture, but I cannot imagine a more chickenshit way to go about waging war. My understanding of how this works is that it usually involves some guy sitting in a room in the American west somewhere, joystick in hand (probably listening to his iPod), watching a video feed from across the world showing the terrain his “Predator” is covering. At some point he gets the “go ahead”, pushes a button, and unleashes a Hellfire missile or 2 on his intended target. No risk to his physical being, no need for fear to enter into his mind. Hell, it’s just like playing a video game with the added bonus of getting a paycheck and the honor of bragging about the “Haji” he killed today.

“Hide my face in my hands, shame wells in my throat
My comfortable existence is reduced to a shallow meaningless party”

I have something to tell you. By any definition (and especially in the case of Pakistan) WE are the terrorists. Check out this definition and see if you can see who might fit the description when we tell the Pakistani government “deal with the problem or we will” after slaughtering several hundred civilians, women and children included:


The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

“Seems that when some innocent die
All we can offer them is a page in some magazine
Too many cameras and not enough food
'Cos this is what we've seen”

So then, what can be done about this? How about electing some leaders that will bring our troops home and stop the Empire building? Maybe work within the political system and change it from the bottom up? Or take to the streets in protest, demanding that these horrors be stopped and engagement with the world be done not with weapons and force, but with words and assistance where it is needed?

“Protest is futile, nothing seems to get through
What's to become of our world, who knows what to do”

I didn’t vote in the last elections. I will never vote again, and hope to find myself in a different locale sooner rather than later – hopefully on another continent, but where to go? I can’t keep pretending that I’m not partly to blame for all the things done by our “leadership”. I sit in a huge house with a fridge full of food, safe and secure from violence and bloodshed, and it feels wrong on so many levels. I don’t know why I was born here. Could I have just as easily been a child in one of the regions of the world currently being occupied or destroyed to “protect the American way of life”? How can this way of life be defended (or enjoyed) if it is only able to be perpetuated by violence and force? From the moment the white man landed here, we have been killing and stealing our way into the position we have, and it continues on a global scale to this very moment. We didn’t earn any of it. The notion of a noble American populace working harder and being smarter than the rest of the world to achieve what we have is a lie. In the time it took me to write this, I can guarantee that an innocent has been killed, maimed, made homeless or parentless, or thrown into a torture chamber just so I can live as I do. That’s something that negates any Holiday cheer that might have attempted to visit me this season. I can’t stop the tears, and have no desire to.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stripped, Whipped, and Ready To Be Clipped

Let me just start out by saying one thing here. The world we appear to be inhabiting is, by all accounts, totally fucked from one end to the other and from top to bottom. 6+ billion fragmented little entities all scurrying around hiding from debt collectors, death squads, their own transgressions and lies, the resulting fallout from other's lies, their inner self and each other. Prodded by some unknown and invisible stick, we feel a pressure building and this is coming out in all kinds of different ways. Wars are waged based on lies. Laws are passed in a vain attempt to keep the lid on the little guys, so that when something pops up that might create the momentum for change it gets stamped out and minimized. I'll bet lots and lots of drugs and alcohol are being consumed and many other things that I don't care to mention or even think about. And fear shows up with its good buddy anger in tow, looking for an opportunity to latch on and create a mess somewhere.

There is a void that needs filling. For a long time it seemed like things were pretty easy and straightforward. You do your work thing, socialize a bit, maybe create some art or just zone out and groove on someone else's creation. Then things got tricky. The ride got bumpy, and things got jarred and broken along the way. Eventually, questions creep in, like "What the fuck are we doing here?" and "How the hell do I get out of this mess?".

It is a mess. A big, stinky, expanding mess that threatens to engulf the whole world and cast us into any number of darker, more threatening conditions. Who is going to pull clean-up duty on this one? How can we recover as a species if we don't all take a deep breath and say "Do over!"? Is there really someone in charge that knows the outcome of all this and is doing these things for our own good? Are lessons being given so we have an opportunity to do better next time or down the road? I don't know. I just don't know.

I used to sit in AA meetings years ago and listen to people tell their stories. Time after time I would hear someone recall all the horrors that visited them and their loved ones (or even strangers), and I would always say to myself "Man, I'm sure glad none of that shit ever happened to me!". Well, I guess things can happen that profoundly impact our lives and the lives of the ones around us without flashing lights or high drama. Bad shit has visited me in a very stealthy but persistent manner, and now I find myself at wit's end and wishing that I could just get off this rock. I hate to admit it, but since this is my blog and is essentially for my own consumption, I get to say exactly what I feel - I feel like death would be a blessing right now. Each time I feel that crushing pain in my chest or my arm goes numb, a small part of me hopes that this will be the moment of my demise. Sorry if anyone who cares about me sees this, but I would not be fighting for my life if the Reaper came calling. If that makes me selfish and a pussy for not taking this shit and forcing a smile on my face so I can "carry on", too bad.

I know that many people have it far tougher than I do. It seems silly to sit in my warm, spacious home with my toys and food on the shelf, bitching about how much my life sucks right now, but the thing that sits on my shoulders and convinces me that it is all a scam and a bad illusion is very persistent and quite cunning. Fear, uncertainty and anger are the order of my days, and it seems just as silly to take stock of the situation and say "It's all good". The things I once viewed as important parts of my existence have all been shown to be hollow and superficial. I once defined myself as a musician, but that is a lie. I thought I had a good head on my shoulders, but it has turned against me. It once appeared that I had many friends and was a valued part of a social structure, but no more. I am on my own with this one. Even my only remaining blood relative, my own brother, who lives just a few miles away, is a stranger.

And then there is pain. Real, constant, physical pain. I can usually manage most of the other things that gnaw at me from above my shoulders, but what to do about constant pain? I suppose prescription drugs are a way of mitigating it, but that has a set of challenges associated with it, too. I have found comfort in the use of marijuana, but that isn't something that I can do legally here in Minnesota (thanks, T-Paw - you fucking asshole) and it leads to other problems. It really wears on a person. I'm soooo ready to be beyond all this, but cannot bring myself to end my life in a dramatic way, so it seems I am doing it slowly? I don't know. This all seems too dramatic and self-serving even typing this and sending it out to the world, where someone might actually read it, but I don't care. The world can kiss my ass.

So I endure. I woke up again this morning. O.K., I didn't wake up as much as I just stopped tossing and turning in bed with visions of acts of rage and words of anger rolling around in my brain. Will this ever get better? Are these the "good old days" and even harsher tests are forthcoming? Is it really the job of the world to strip away all the things that we thought were important so we are forced to see the only thing that really is?

Even as I type this and roll around in all this self-pity, that small, glowing thing with the silly grin on its face is there, mocking me from the center of my body. It stays there, silent, but knowing something that can't be shared yet. I know that the raging, pitiful creature that I see in the mirror is not who I really am. I have been given a taste of what deep, enduring love looks like, and it is not here right now. It came and went like some kind of meteor streaking across the sky, making me gasp in awe, then burning up in an instant of intense light and heat, leaving me longing for its return.

Alright, enough of this shit. I just want to say one thing to the world as I see it currently. You can batter me, drag me around behind your pickup, deny me the things I need (or think I need), hold up examples of things to taunt me, or even twist my physical being into knots so I'm rendered totally lame. You will not extinguish my inner flame. Z is beyond your reach and doesn't buy into this game. If nothing else comes from this experience here, know that that thing that is the true part, the invincible part, carries on to the next step, and I will protect and care for it no matter what is thrown my way.

I just wish it didn't have to hurt so fucking bad.