i don’t think

8 09 2004

even after all this, that you understand.

and it isn’t something i can explain better in more words, in political and ideological debates that surround and buzz and sting at me like swarms of bees–i really am allergic. this isn’t me coming up with cute, tree-hugger answers that’ll complement my hippie-skirts and long, straight hair. or me trying to cling no matter what the climate to the radical liberal politic of the academy. you say–and i’m so grateful to you for saying, for seeing how fucking hard i’m trying for this, for knowing that when i break and start to cry it’s because you’re losing me like a surgeon does a heartbeat and with the same finality of implication, for stopping when i beg you to and having only gentleness with which to coax me back to life–you love me, and have the deepest of respects for me for being passionate about the things that i believe in, and think it’s fantastic that, even though it’s so damn hard (spelled “i.m.p.o.s.s.i.b.l.e”) for me to reconcile the fact that i love you too with the banners that you wave and the patriotic propaganda and the rhetorics of enemy-making and threat-construction and civilization-salvation and the matter-of-fact way you say “if it’s down to him or me, i’m doing whatever it takes to get back home,” i still try against that impossibility to find a place for you to make sense in my head, i still argue for who and what i believe that you can be, i still insist upon the possibility of more goodness that we all, deep down, are sure will never come to pass, i still have and have to show this limping love for you that doesn’t understand, because it’s a spirit-thing and can’t see the material causes and implications of the human will to war, why it gets kicked at all, or why it’s crippled, or why just doing what it does and it has always done and knows that it was born to do hurts now.

“i want to live,” you say. “i love being alive. i love reading books. i love sunsets. i don’t want to hurt anybody; i don’t want to cause pain and suffering.” and if you’d stop there, if you could just once leave it in that order and let me know the contradicting clause without having to see it spelled out in front of me, the things you’d do in the name of fatherland and heroism, the things that wouldn’t cross that line for you of counting as “atrocities” you say your signing on allowed you to refuse… it all comes down to this (i’ve said this before, in a hundred contexts, and it always leads to disagreements that dissolve rapidly into shrugs and blank looks–the implications are too wide-rippling, and everybody’s favorite arguments all based in other bottom-lines): it’s wrong to kill people.

and if it’s wrong–if it’s an inherent, actual, spiritual wrongness, which for me it clearly, simply, is–it’s always wrong. that means it’s still wrong if they’re bad people, or if they’re stupid and about to do something destructive to others; that means it’s still wrong if they’re pointing guns at you. or your mom. or your friends. or your children. because they’re still people. somebody loves or loved them once just as much as the ones you swear you’re trying to protect. and if we can’t, as a species, learn to look that way; if we can’t divert the ridiculous amounts of money we pour into researching ways to kill more people better and faster and make more money into finding ways to problem-solve without killing (but of course we love our money too much and murder is so much more economically efficient than negotiating, translating, educating, rehabilitating, whatever-else-ing those crazy liberal freaks might think of next as ways to waste our hard-earned dollars and the privilege we need them to defend); if we can’t have as a common goal the getting past this cave-man tendency to build a bigger club than the guy in the next valley over so you can thump him and steal his stuff or thump him precautionarily because you’re sure, at some point, he’ll decide on stealing yours… then what’s the fucking point? spreading your individual sperm & thumping the other sperm-spreaders?

“biology & genetics,” you tell me, as if those motivations aren’t, themselves, an indication of what i know you know but are shutting out of remembering (we took this class at the same school; do you remember?)–the impulse to spread only your genes and thump other gene-spreaders, if you could carry it all the way out anyway, would just kill off the species by destroying the variety it needs to mute and change and carry on. there’s got to be more to it than that. or else it’s really all just about staying alive as long as you can while the entropy rages around you, making more survivors to keep spinning out their wind-up toy lives when you leave them behind, thumping each other, reproducing, and reproducing violence.

there’s no “greatness of human civilization” in that equation. there’s no “ideology worth fighting for.” there’s only this particular nation-bound group of roaches with more food than the others, who are bigger and therefore more likely to out-thump and out-reproduce them. that’s not a moral high-ground, that’s not a triumph of western civ, that’s not a flag or a dream worth dying for, it’s an accident of circumstance that had you born on this dirt instead of a different patch somewhere more thumpable. i could go on along this vein forever, but every word i type weighs heavier down on me, and i’m trying to dig out from under instead, to build up the denial it takes me rebuilding every day to get out of bed at all, amidst all the incoming alerts that let me know it really is this fucked up, there’s really so much wrong and so very little right, that creative, beautiful, brilliant people really can use what logic they possess to justify destroying beauty instead of making it, spreading ugliness and darkness, wiping out the brilliance other people might never have had a chance to even find.

i can’t live like this. i can’t know these things and function. i have to hide them behind folded pages, behind folds and wrinkles inside my head, behind smoky mirrors and heavy theater-curtains, bury them, paint over them, gouge out my eyes to keep from seeing, scald my hands numb to keep from brushing against them in the dark. i would kill myself first, before taking anyone else’s life, before even being overtly complicit in your or anybody else’s doing so. and every time the news comes on, i wonder how long the hiding can go on before i’ll have to.

just come the fuck home.
don’t kill anybody, if you can help it.
and we’ll see then what’s left to philosophize about, if you’re not one of the come-home local boys we keep hearing about on the news up here after they’ve thrown themselves out of cars to their deaths on freeways because they don’t know how to live with what they’ve seen and done.

in your reckless mind…you act as if you’ve got more lives
in your reckless eyes…you only have time and your love of danger…to it you’re no stranger…

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