Static, Part 3 - Conclusion

Static, Part 3 - Conclusion

Like he knew his father knew what he was doing working himself to death, demanding respect and affection when he knew that even in his most towering rage he could not command it, nodding OK when the doctor said “We’ll do a veinous cutdown to restore circulation to your foot. Without the operation your foot will become gangrenous and and require amputation, or kill you; you’ll be choosing anesthesia I suppose.” like he knew too, and had no problem helping him along.

    “I’m going to die soon. No one gives a **** about me.”

    Not puzzled, but knowing it really was man-to-man, that by some miracle occlusion the incipient love still existed, the utter lust for that woman that brought him into being banked back in the far embers, but could not forgive the death of his brother, laid out so cold on the coroner’s stainless steel table. So he refused to tell the man he loved him, even though he did. At that moment he chose deflection as the egress for justice, a taint to remember as he slipped into the nothing black.

    “I care.”

    “Why?”, the father demanded, the orphaned spawn of a traveling man from Tennessee whose mother remember his children with socks and hankies, seizing for a reason to hang on. A phrase from a passing-through poet and another from the pederast therapist came to mind, to save him a final pronouncement.

    “You are my father. We have fifty years of history. Most of us live longer than we think we are going to. Don’t worry.”  he said, not volunteering to answer the training his father had imposed when he drove them around Sacramento in his swell Cadillac cars, pointing out the old folks home of darkening brick they’d been put in charge to save him from, not telling him to stay, meaning go ahead, leave, somehow presumed to have been once in charge of their deaths. The casual nihilism of democracy was not a mystic’s resignation. The moments come and go, but its in the eyes where the compassion flows. Its always soul to soul. A David Bromberg riff greeted him when he got in his truck to hit I-5 and drive four hundred miles home. His father knew he was wrong about his son, but there was nothing he could do to undo what he’d done.

    Yet my envy is overwhelming, I’m mentally astounded at the distance I have to travel to attain your poise and assurance. For a second I lose my focus and understand the important part of “astound” is the “O”.  The doors of wonder are opened. Why I am here consumed by the effects of my era and out of the shared sensibility of the audience is not to gain answer to the sweeping antipathy to what appears to be anger, but is more often  injustice that is commonly and too casually accepted. I want to know of the thousand ways to steal life, shallow selfishness is the most easy attained, and that isn’t what I’m mad at at all. It was the coffin of numbers that pretended to be a destiny worshiped at the end of the mind, and that one of imagined Uriel’s minions had the power to force me at the point of a pistol or bayonet into either death, maiming, jail or ever increasing loss and grief, and why didn’t I have a right to fight back? That’s robbed. There again the soul is torn. There again is the agreement, the arrangement. Down in the heart parts there isn’t much difference between us. The Pieta still rings true. But so do the fasces adorning the halls of our senate. The Fascists never realize joy. And that too is part of the *****. The cultural emery of ten years of war had begun on the hallowed note of extinguishing Fascistic violence, quashing Hitler and Tojo with blood and explosive treasure to triumph with the sanctity of life, and going to work for the ever present monsters was simply expected. And no real soldier will endorse tyranny, nor bend his soul to its dissociation. Every life does matter. O what horrors were committed in my name, and done by my hand. At the DVA, when you walk in after a lifetime of angry outbursts, failed jobs, failed marriages, life sapping experiences whose cumulative disarray keep you in bed, or in the house, or out far away in the woods, every time you hitch to town your sad confused face is picked up by another, and the care is unasked for but freely given, at the DVA there is never an accounting or rectification. Theirs is only the model in its pristine existence, and none of this other bother needs to be addressed. They want to know how you are doing? They have a sliding scale. Somehow they are so far above you, so better balanced, so better integrated within the grand  scope of society that they can say: here, this will help you get control of what’s been too heavy on your mind.  And it is not a placebo, it is an anesthetic science has devised to defeat the mind making of nightmares, and the rage that possesses you and destroys anything within range. Like the one where you are in the water all the time, and there are skinny little boys chasing you with their rifles ready to kill you and you wake up just in time to avoid the avalanche of repugnance they’ve released at you. This time, though, the thorny jungle green is futuristic sterile concrete. Until these days, when they’ve become old  friends, sometimes the only friends you’ve got left.

     Its not like I asked for it. I didn’t say, Oh you! profoundly debilitating syndrome, take a seat in this bolted down metal chair; let me turn up the voltage for you.

    “I know its hard to believe, but you really aren’t all that special. “ I say in a precarious letter, “You have something in common with war veterans. They’ve killed people, and so have you. Off the top of my head - my brother; under your care and supervision - picked up a heroin jones in Vietnam, and subsequently died too young of an overdose after a life of criming, leaving two wives and five children to the whim and attenuations of the causal government: then Johnathan Bye, shot twice, both times by N.V.A. regulars, once in the head. Complained of increasingly severe headaches, got in a tangle with the posers in the puzzle palace, made a complaint, got people threatened and riled, and was subsequently ignored when he presented with what he thought might be an aneurysm, was sent home by someone who hadn’t read his chart, and he died straight away, of a blood vessel bursting in his brain. And Duke, who took himself out by crashing his Oldsmobile into an oncoming train when he was certain he no longer had a handle on what was being produced in his head, leaving two wives and four children, having also killed the young man he’d picked up in a bar. I don’t think my sample was statistically valid - but they represented 60% of the Vietnam veterans I knew during that five year period.

    Back in the far long past then, death looming huge and everlasting in the arrowing hours, the passing of each second more dear now, bringing a terrible regret that you’d so vaingloriously volunteer your being to be shattered, flesh torn and left laying in the swampy stink, no chance again to know more than that regret, stuck at the Gordian nexus, burrowed down in there where the shame of venturing so cavalierly those seconds that now become more dear with each one passing, shame that you’d forfeit any one of them - then come home to no one seemed to understand, or had time enough to care one way or the other. Boom, like the cannon says. Stepping back into the somnambulant, every sense required to respond to the blaring advertisements, the bullshitty movies about the war that somehow just seemed to miss everything relevant to your soul’s particular experience. WW II didn’t happen, but ten more years of it did a generation later, starring you.


     Even hiding out in the music and the dope, working on some or any sort of therapeutic activity, pulling the threads of rigging through the model U.S.S. Constitution windlass, telling one’s lie about having to measure ourself against even the purposeful Technicals and restate the humiliation for the millionth time, “The silly idiots,” says the DVA staff psychiatrist, “fifty years old and they want to get a release to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, get back in the fight, they say. You don’t want to do that do you? Regain your honor, or some such ****.” Smirking in his superior professional distance,  sky-pilot fleecing the rubes, none of that self pitying disappointment for him, he sniffs like he’s leaving a stench behind, knowing his patients propensity toward ending and catastrophe.  He snickers at the image of too long soused sluggards trying and dying to slog their way through the blistering sands, his own neurosis of entomology concretely ensconced in a fantastic rococo room, not one of these ‘combat tested’ jerks even capable of servitude.

    “It’s just tough **** kid. Some of us just don’t make it.”

    I’m then reminded of one of those things a declaring for life that did not happen, that thought of coming back home to my wife and the work, having made a wrong turn and headed to Redding, and on the way out of Quincy there is the most beautiful young woman tan in her cotton sweater and her jeans in the Sierra high summer world so full of her graces her country clothes can’t contain her, a thousand generations spring of her, walking down the right side of the road, her face innocent and ravenous, skin blooming like the heart of a coral reef, and the old thought of luscious raptures in far countries flashes through at sight of the salacious purples of her lips and already forms the response to the cowboys back in the bad bar who keep an eye on her for their friend with the gun and reason to make promises you could believe, that the argument that she looks over eighteen, is wearing no anklet or neck chain or electronic radio collar or ring, and is her own free person rightfully acting of her own clear decision, and I’d argue that I’d fight for her freedom sooner than I’d fight for your ownership, and make the secret assignation that would bind my soul to hers forever. But a pique of despair resigning an overdraft to the gulp of the slot machines had made any transaction that valuable require too elaborate an explanation. Dark was coming on. As effective a rationalization as any.

    Even the monks took up arms against the decided Chinese who’d come to kill them; though childless and landless they concluded that their idea of being alive was better than being dead at the hands of the already dead.

    Even though it was two of those life times ago, I am still what I was. A corpsman is a combatant of death. That is the recognition of the depth of the name. Medic adds the therapeutic imprimatur of savior, but history serves up its real words hot and steaming. Here’s your role, a hard faced fate sealer in a sailor suit says. You’ll chase death away from the shattered soldier, the willingness of your courage will be renown and the war, hence the world, will depend upon your bravery. It is the observed inevitability of mass deaths that establishes and ordains the role. Standing up in a firefight, no problem. Ferrying the corpses to triage and then to the slaves at graves, sure. Then again, and long long after, traipsing my entrails through blog bardo, never touching down, never really on the sacred ground.

    Peace isn’t the absence of war. Peace is the active creation of the right and the good. The diminution of women is revenge for the gift of life and the ordination of death. Men want to be immortal because they feel they are immortal, not bearing the burden of  being the wheel of the whole story. But consciousness is one thing, the absolute urgency of biology more still. And in the middle of that “Forever Young” is as generous a ballad as has ever been written by an American poet. And I still think “The Rose” ought to be the national anthem. But you’re not going to do it, are ya, not going to make the miracle beauty livable over a long period of evolution. You’re going to go for the glam, hookem’, choke em’, smoke em’, Tinkerbell God’s left hand. Genius lemminging the cliffs cuz there’s no place left to stand. The twists and locks and wefts knotting new births into the swelling flux is neural spark, playing those mind gains forever. I’m listening, but the present driving evidence is the good incredible beauty of it all, and that the Infinite Law is iron is certainty enough.

    And so what? I love it all. I love so deeply all of the signs of being. I resent the permissions being proffered by the cautioners. Please, this is a great miracle, shut up and step worshipfully. I cherish your splendid breasts so warmly presented to me, for a kiss, for an everlasting admiration, and I glory in my fortune.

    And I am thankful as well. I’ve discovered that I’d rather engage in the ever-constant fight than suicide out at the prompting of their Thanatourgency, defiant ‘til the day I’m dead, eugenic mechanistics the silly philosophy.  Any one of us are tougher than those medicines, the cosmos works us through.

    Sunlight blowing through the aspen leaves. Take heart.

    Dan A. Barker

    July 4, 2007

P.S. Try hard as I can to be Walt Whitman or Moby ****, or any one of those big white harpooned cosmostitians, this other stuff keeps getting in the way, a ripple in the looking glass. Still, the splendid moment is my (our) ultimate informant.


troutlily troutlily
61-65, M
Mar 10, 2010