#WAR: WHATS ALREADY BEEN SAID?

What can I say about war that hasn’t already been said? My experiences reflect those expressed by writer’s far more talented the me.

Even the greatest writers admit their inability to fully capture the experiences of horror, the crushing fear, the fury, the odors, screams and silence one suffers in between the disturbing peace. Like making love or the taste of fine wine, words on a page only trigger imagination and illicit a dark sympathy. Empathy without experience is nothing more than fantasy.

I do not make these claims in offense. My own empathy is a rope that over time has become a noose. Random moments are capable of producing the most unpredictable triggers. A playful child’s scream might reveal the man, laid bare beneath a shattered wall, his stomach and intestines uncoiled across the huts dirt floor. A door slamming shut behind me and a memory long suppressed plays in a loop just behind my eyes: our medic bagging a severed, yet still camouflaged soldiers leg. The smell of a rabbit and a phantom smell of burning tire and human flesh lingers for days.

We forget so much of what we see. This is true for almost everyone of us. War is no different. We can’t recall, but we never really forget. These shocking visions, buried just below the conscience, erupt into our lives like films about ghosts. They are insidious magic tricks, pictures from the most evil of theaters. None of us are immune, it’s just that some of the afflicted can overcome the inflicted. Count me as not one.

It’s like my best memories have been erased. I’m like a mixtape that’s been over recorded with the voice of the devil himself.

Where do I go from here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven In The Darkness; Eternity & Hope

Maybe there is a heaven? Heaven might be the black nothing of vanished memories and endless night? Or what we make it? Anything else, no matter how charming, would certainly include these memories. These short films I live with here in this hell.

This grey would rise, following into that shining city, like pet pollution; a smog that refuses to lift, becoming more dense in that miserable afterlife, I could never end. Hell such as this would be more appropriate, in its eternal pit of serpent and flame.

Behind these eyes are the fires that portend to reflect my pain. We lost you five years and two months ago today. I think about us and try to imagine you helping to douse all that’s enflamed today. It could be little more than a fantasy, you discovering a way through the cracks to save me from myself? I might have lost you anyway? I understand that. But at least the world would be a better place with you remaining in it.

I miss the way people would look at you; stare at you even, so striking, like a beautiful crash, you’d attract angular vision. Even though I tried never to show it and you never said it out loud, you liked the innocent way I could get jealous. Little secrets we couldn’t always hide though we tried. I never really believed I was good enough for you, though you never provided me reason to doubt it.

Sometimes I imagine you’re going to read this and write accordingly. It’s the rock of grace revealing an inner truth. It’s that hope you inspire. It’s that impossible dream reflecting upon a lake in motion.

If you were with us still yet, perhaps, beyond my grip, I’d be discontent. Your soul was my apex of promise, your loss, the final crushing blow. Be well in the darkness, my love, where the past has no future, no present, no hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five-Thousand Miles to Truth

Are you looking up into the great space tonight, my dear? The enormity of the sky above seemed to synchronize our minds in the darkness, alone and together. Is it all just a dream or worse, an intermission before the final act? Whatever might be, or is, I find some comfort at least in the thought, that no matter how far away, we can still look upon that space as one.

Do you recall that day in December? A flight across the entire country just to tell you the truth? All I had to go on were the tiny fragments of our silly conversations. The only way I could find you was to assemble the clues you slipped into these fragile secrets. The big city seemed like it could have swallowed you whole?

Five thousand miles, four cabs rides and three coffee shops later; I saw you standing there. Like an angel fallen from the highest places, my courage caught in my throat. That quick glance you gave me, the pause that followed mid-sentence, the smile.

For a second I wondered, had this been a poor assessment? Would an apology be enough to overcome the distance that immaturity had swollen? The second look in my direction was all I ever wanted to know. From that day forward, till the day we all lost you, I promised to love you like I did that day on the outskirts of Boston, 15 years ago.

Is it the fresh snow or is it the collapse in temperature that follows the winters storm? Whatever it is in this nature all around tonight, you feel closer this evening than in some time. Do you still believe in me? I miss you, of course, but it’s more than that at this moment. It’s like you are smiling at the thought of it all and realizing, all over again, that true love lives on.

It wasn’t like me to just jump on a plane and off my comfortable shelf. Five thousand miles isn’t that far when you consider the distance in between honesty and the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Nights & A Woman I Once Knew, So, So Long Ago

I’ve always felt so lucky having had you to fill out a chapter in my life. The more time that rolls past, the less I think of you, and yet, in my dreams, like the one I just dreamed, you were as alive and present as I ever could recall. Like you were really there, or here, as it were. It makes me wonder; do you ever dream of me? Do you even ever think of us and what could’ve been? It’s not something to dwell upon I suppose, or even necessarily important. It’s difficult to imagine, however, a film playing in my sleep so authentic and crazy real, without the force of both minds adrift and with will. If it’s so, and I guess we’ll never know, that these movies of us do unfold as you lay asleep; do you wake with as pleasant a high all around, like say, that of poppy tea, craving it were all real, or at least real again? Clinging to a small sliver of a synapse, yet understanding so well, it was all but a movie playing in your dreams?

I still feel so lucky, to have experienced a love like yours, who had me too, who can still penetrate the night, even still, overcoming the terrible fears. Funny how the darkness at times can shine so hot and bright? Irony is the term, I suppose? The way that gulf of emptiness with its opaque pool of fright, can so suddenly feel like the safest home? And then you’re there, above my head, just like those nights so long ago. That sweet smell of jasmine, that soft laugh and clever sparkle, could I ever forget? No, not as long as I can pretend, that these films about ghosts, will someday transcend a level below just my sullen head.

They say the best sleep is the kind that allows your brain to dump all its waste, a sort of toxic cleansing. This may in fact be true? After all these years apart, separated by oceans and strife, your voice, like a fingerprint, sticks to my mind. I sometimes hear you calling out, softly, giggling at the sight of me folding clothes, or trying to figure out the remote, or at the way I always seemed to load the toilet paper backwards on the spool. Thinking back now, those were the good things, the most private of inside jokes. Those little particulars are ultimately the stuff I miss the most because they are the unique tiles in a mosaic that was built to hide our love in place. Those are the things that can never be replaced. You can never be replaced. I haven’t even tried.

All things find their end, emotional atrophy. The hard feelings. The good times, even the best. Even the feeling I have tonight will end. We cannot live forever. There’s no substitute for that beginning with you. That first kiss…”just to get it out of the way,” you’d say. I remember so clearly, that electric moment of pulsing neon; it brings a tear to my eye every time, sometimes more. This isn’t about that though. Well, maybe everything’s about that? This isn’t about those yesterday’s past. Does everyone have that one true love that’s lost? Is it just part of our maturity, like a learning permit or a first funeral? Or is this all just a sleight of hand, black magic practiced on those of us too blind to see the present, to shallow to split the cell?

If you see this, you know who you are. I wont presume, or beg, or plead like maybe I should have long ago. Tonight, I’ll simply go for a walk under the stars, keep my chin up and my head held high, asking, that wherever you find yourself tonight, among the stars, on the sea, or in a quiet home, when you glance upwards…are you seeing the same sky as me?