Book of Oppositions | Pocket Full of Mumbles |


This world is one big game of "Go"-- Black against White, Light against Darkness --and we all have a choice to make: Do we war FOR the Light?

...or against it?

Lizard Spit, High-Water, and Indecent Proposals

Saturday, September 1

This past Saturday I was out at Westgate, a local all-purpose community park. What was I doing? Walking of course. I had gotten off from the flower shop early and decided to go for a walk. I do this 4 days a week... even if it rains.

Well, I ended up at my favorite music store first. I bought a bottle of Lizard Spit, half a dozen picks, and a guitar stand. And the owner wanted to talk. A lot. But he's a nice guy so I didn't mind.

Thirty minutes later I'm at the park and I'm disappointed in the fact that it's raining. I reminded myself that it was my own fault for chatting at the music store, but I had my umbrella with me, and decided come drizzle or high-water I was going to get the exercise I came for.

I hit the trails. I figured with the canopy overhead there'd be less rain, but the truth is, within ten minutes I was soaked-- even under the umbrella! Some of the trails are hardened clay... except when it rains. So, after about a half mile of slip sliding away I decide to get back out on the tarmac.

Less than ten minutes later, a sleek red Pontiac pulls up beside me and my umbrella, and the window eases down.

Driver: "Hey! You ever been to Imaginations?"

Me: "Nope. It's not my thing." [as far as I know Imaginations is a nightclub, and as I said: 'Not my thing!']

Driver: "You ever been there? You look like the type."

Me: [I'm thinking: 'Type! What the hell 's that mean!? A bald, frumpy, 40-something looks like 'the type'?'] "No. I don't go to places like that. You need directions?"

Driver: "No. I know where it is, I was just wondering if you liked going there."

Me: "Sorry. Never been."

Driver: [pauses half a sec then asks:] "You want to get in? It's raining you know."

Me: "No thanks. I'm here to exercise come drizzle or high-water" [with that I begin to walk on]

Driver: [Calling out] "Hey!"

Me: [I stop]

Driver: "You ever let someone blow you off?"

Me: [......Huh?] "Wha?"

Driver: "You like getting blown?"

Me: ".....uh... Sorry. Not my thing" [I begin to move off... again!]

Driver: "Hey! How 'bout letting me blow you off!"

Me: "Sorry. Nope. Not my thing. Now scram!" [At this point I pull my trusty knife out and lock the blade open... I've decided to name my knife 'Stig']

Driver: [undeterred] "Come on! How do you know if it's not your thing unless you try it. Come on, get in the car."

Me: [I ignore the driver and begin walking across a grassy area, my knife still open and clearly visible... and yes, it's still raining]

Driver: [Finally drives offs]

To my own shame, the first thought that went through my mind was, "Now why couldn't a woman have asked me that!?"

Come to find out 'Imaginations' is a 'Gay' bar, and like I told the driver... not my thing. No bar is, in fact.

Now perhaps this man (young, black, good-looking-- hitting on a white guy, no less!) was a cop looking to bust him 'a pre-vert, but I have to ask: what kind of pervert asks that kind of a question in the first place? Who cares if he's a cop! To ask that kind of a question! What kind of sick mind thinks talking that way-- even to entrap --to another man?

And it happened in poe-dunk Alabama! And if it's happening here, imagine the degree to which it happens in the rest of the country! Hell! The WORLD!

For the record. I finished my walk completely freaked. And when I approached a police officer at the park, I was told that because I didn't have the presence of mind to get his license plate number (didn't have a pen anyway), there was nothing he could do.... snickering while he said it.

And for the record, Idaho Senator Larry Craig must resign immediately.

Update: It's unusual that I have a Saturday morning off... very unusual... pert near never... anyway...

Out at Westgate Park again, this time without the rain, but all kinds of gray overhead, and a nice cool-- as in Fall-ish --breeze. Right at the end of my walk I end up next to where a security guard is parked, so I ease over and ask him about last Saturday; did anyone else report being propositioned.

Security Guard: "Black guy? Six-two? Driving a red Monte Carlo?"

Me: "I thought it was a Pontiac... but yeah."

Security Guard: "We had several complaints about that person."

Me: "Was he an undercover officer trying to grab some perverts?"

Security Guard: "No. Not this guy. The police got called a bunch of times last week, and it wasn't until someone with a camera on their cell phone took a picture of the Queer, and a picture of his tag. The police rounded him up. If it ever happens again, make sure you get the tag number so we can do something about this kind of thing..."

And yes, the Security guard really said 'Queer'. Score one for the good guys.

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posted by Eric @ 7:23 PM, ,

Points, Pillars, Pearls and Lodestones

"...I want the ability to change to be a part of my personality. Can any of you Christian Conservatives say the same?..."

--BenT, previous post

In the context BenT himself presents, 'change' implies trading one previously held 'truth' for a newer, shinier, BETTER 'truth'. In terms of Christianity, what kind of fool trades a pearl for a piece of lodestone?

We can argue points-- which, ultimately, mean little in the grander scheme --but not pillars. Dan and ER in particular, and BenT to no small degree, all too often question the pillars. They're not interested in honest discussion with honest 'give and take', they want only to change MY mind... make ME capitulate. Dan especially seems to delight it the practice, while hiding behind the skirts of mutual disapprobation-- a clever ploy, which usually comes off, in my ears, as smug enlightened superiority... I get the same from BenT more often than not.

Is there any wonder why I'm bored to tears with all this?

As a Christian-- who is by no means perfect, nor claims to be --anyone who chooses to call me brother MUST accept the pillars. We can agree to disagree on the rest.

Not everyone (or organization) who calls himself 'Christian' is in fact Christian. There are certain things one MUST believe to be Christian. We've had this discussion here before and I won't engage in it again now. But BenT wants to know if I (and any other Conservative Christians out here in Blogland) am as mature and enlightened as he to ALSO "want the ability to change to be a part of my personality." Sounds like smug superiority to me, but I'll answer it.

If the ability to change means to compromise what I know, beyond any shadow of doubt, to be true, then I say, "No. Absolutely not.". But if that 'ability' means allowing the pillars to stand leaving all else subject to the aforementioned ability to 'change ones mind', then I say, "Sure, why not?"

But Dan, ER, and BenT don't want me stand for something as immutable as the pillars I am trying very hard to defend.

I've tried to stay out of this and other discussions here for reasons I've already stated. The previous post most certainly began an an elegy for what America no longer 'Is'. But I am not the one who injected politics-- I merely commented on it. But what, pray tell... what ideology/philosophy... is responsible for the sad state of modern America?

BenT, in a private discussion last week, seemed to think the United States constitution is a 'Guiding' document, but not to be taken literally today because it is outdated in that it's crafter's did not envision a world filled with modern technology and global-relativeness, which did not infect their primitive minds or social mores.

But you can't have it both ways. The Constitution is either written in stone on ALL issues, or it's a worthless scrap of 210+ year old parchment.... There is too much hypocrisy in this discussion as it currently stands... primarily on the Left, but Everyone's hands are dirty. Everyone.

My focus in turning to God is to find something better for myself, personally. Of course! But it doesn't end there-- and no one here seems to have caught on. Part and parcel with what I desire for myself is a need to tell anyone who will listen that it doesn't all go black when we die... there is something beyond this life, and no other 'deity' known to man has revealed Himself to the extent that God has. Because of that everyone has a choice to make, and it's the most important decision ANYONE will ever make.

As for what I stand for... to be my brother, you must accept these pillars:

1. Jesus is God in human flesh
2. He was born of a Virgin
3. He died a substitutionary death for all Mankind
4. He rose from the dead
5. He ascended into Heaven
6. He sits now at the right hand of God the Father
7. He is returning (Physically/Bodily/In the flesh) to establish His EARTHLY kingdom, which will last 1000 years.

The rest is negotiable. But don't ask me to trade these pearls for a pocket full of lodestones.

As to politics, for 'Leftists' who blindly, and hypocritically point their fingers at 'Rightists' I have only one thing to say....

....but then I've said it all before, haven't I? And not a bit of it has ever sunk in.

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posted by Eric @ 8:12 PM, ,

Learn to do well... or else

[originally posted in comments at Marshall Art's]

We SHOULD be protecting our borders, our ports, our nuclear facilities. We should take a more isolationist stance in the world. Our borders ARE too wide open, not just in terms of defense, but in terms of culture and decadence. America, once a proud virtuous woman on a church pew, is now little better than a $20 whore on a street corner. Oh, how the virtuous have fallen!

WHEN (not "If") we are attacked again, we WILL have ourselves to blame. Because America has become fat, lazy, hedonistic, perverted, and dare I say it? Dangerous. Not simply to the world, but to herself!

"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind"
Hosea 8:7

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Galatians 6:7

Go ahead, Hypocrites! Point your fingers and wag your heads at those who try to live virtuously and fall. Did you extend a hand and offer to help them up? Is there no stink of impropriety on you? Do you not also reek of lust, hatred, murder, avarice?

America is getting, and will continue to get, everything she deserves.

"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."

Isaiah 1:16-20

...Or don't. Continue to live in filth if you wish. Do you enjoy the whoredoms the world offers? Do you take delight in such things? If emptiness is your promised land... Behold! You are already there.

But if you want something better...

Please reconsider God's plea in Isaiah 1:16-18

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posted by Eric @ 2:58 PM, ,

Peace Declaration, August 6, 2007

That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast ― silence ― hell on Earth.

The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyeballs and internal organs burst from their bodies―Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.

Within the year, 140,000 had died. Many who escaped death initially are still suffering from leukemia, thyroid cancer, and a vast array of other afflictions.

But there was more. Sneered at for their keloid scars, discriminated against in employment and marriage, unable to find understanding for profound emotional wounds, survivors suffered and struggled day after day, questioning the meaning of life.

And yet, the message born of that agony is a beam of light now shining the way for the human family. To ensure that "no one else ever suffers as we did," the hibakusha have continuously spoken of experiences they would rather forget, and we must never forget their accomplishments in preventing a third use of nuclear weapons.

Despite their best efforts, vast arsenals of nuclear weapons remain in high states of readiness―deployed or easily available. Proliferation is gaining momentum, and the human family still faces the peril of extinction. This is because a handful of old-fashioned leaders, clinging to an early 20th century worldview in thrall to the rule of brute strength, are rejecting global democracy, turning their backs on the reality of the atomic bombings and the message of the hibakusha.

However, here in the 21st century the time has come when these problems can actually be solved through the power of the people. Former colonies have become independent. Democratic governments have taken root. Learning the lessons of history, people have created international rules prohibiting attacks on non-combatants and the use of inhumane weapons. They have worked hard to make the United Nations an instrument for the resolution of international disputes. And now city governments, entities that have always walked with and shared in the tragedy and pain of their citizens, are rising up. In the light of human wisdom, they are leveraging the voices of their citizens to lift international politics.

Because "Cities suffer most from war," Mayors for Peace, with 1,698 city members around the world, is actively campaigning to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.

In Hiroshima, we are continuing our effort to communicate the A-bomb experience by holding A-bomb exhibitions in 101 cities in the US and facilitating establishment of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Study Courses in universities around the world. American mayors have taken the lead in our Cities Are Not Targets project. Mayors in the Czech Republic are opposing the deployment of a missile defense system. The mayor of Guernica-Lumo is calling for a resurgence of morality in international politics. The mayor of Ypres is providing an international secretariat for Mayors for Peace, while other Belgian mayors are contributing funds, and many more mayors around the world are working with their citizens on pioneering initiatives. In October this year, at the World Congress of United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of our planet’s population, cities will express the will of humanity as we call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The government of Japan, the world’s only A-bombed nation, is duty-bound to humbly learn the philosophy of the hibakusha along with the facts of the atomic bombings and to spread this knowledge through the world. At the same time, to abide by international law and fulfill its good-faith obligation to press for nuclear weapons abolition, the Japanese government should take pride in and protect, as is, the Peace Constitution, while clearly saying "No," to obsolete and mistaken US policies. We further demand, on behalf of the hibakusha whose average age now exceeds 74, improved and appropriate assistance, to be extended also to those living overseas or exposed in "black rain areas."

Sixty-two years after the atomic bombing, we offer today our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful repose of all its victims and of Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki shot down on his way toward nuclear weapons abolition. Let us pledge here and now to take all actions required to bequeath to future generations a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Tadatoshi Akiba
The City of Hiroshima

Previous Declarations can be read here...

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posted by Eric @ 12:30 PM, ,

August 6, 1945 -- 8:15 a.m.

"Let all the souls here rest in peace as we will never repeat this mistake."

--Apology etched into the granite cenotaph in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

PERSONAL NOTE: I ask you... What need have the Japanese people to apologize for Hiroshima? Or Nagasaki? Why is it Americans today rarely demonstrate this level of humility?

"On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombing, we seek to comfort the souls of all its victims by declaring that we humbly reaffirm our responsibility never to 'repeat the evil.'

" 'Please rest peacefully; for we will not repeat the evil.' "

Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor
The City of Hiroshima
August 6, 2005

"...more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims..."

We still do not have an accurate count of human casualties inflicted by the atomic bomb, but it is estimated that approximately 350,000 soldiers and civilians were in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing. After the bombing, radioactive substances fell to earth and remained on the ground for some time. Thousands of people who came into Hiroshima to help with relief activities or look for family members were exposed to this residual radiation. Like those who were directly exposed, many fell ill and some even died. By the time the acute effects were dying down at the end of December 1945, approximately 140,000 people (±10,000) are estimated to have died as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima.

The phrase "more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims" refers to all survivors of the Hiroshima bombing known to have died thus far. To clarify the human damage done by the A-bombing of Hiroshima, a Survey of the A-Bomb Survivor Movement has been conducted regularly since 1979. In 1998, this survey confirmed that 273,212 had died by that year. A total of 30,017 names were added to the register of A-bomb victims between 1999 and 2004. Thus, the total number of A-bomb victims is now estimated to have exceeded 300,000.

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posted by Eric @ 12:25 PM, ,

To This Date....

The U.S. has yet to issue an official apology for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that doesn't mean the U.S., as a nation, shouldn't issue an apology. While the U.S., seemingly, cannot issue an official apology, there is nothing to keep a sitting U.S. president from offering an unofficial personal apology. There is nothing at all keeping individual Americans from doing the same.

Before anyone decides to accuse me of wanting blood and death on the one hand-- in the here and now --while decrying blood and death on the other, sixty-one years ago, let me point you to the preamble at the beginning of the next post, In Memoriam -- Part I

As much as I recognize the necessity of war, I find it nonetheless to be among the worst of human proclivities...

Atomic weapons. Seriously, what good has come of them? Deterrence? Okay... but don't you think the world is less safe with this genie now irrevocably out of the bottle? What of Iran and her quest for the A-bomb?

The U.S. has the utterly unique and infamous distinction of being the only nation to ever have used atomic weapons on another nation. Japan has been the only nation in history to have ever tasted of the suffering borne upon-- to quote myself --atomic winds. It wasn't enough for the U.S. to drop one bomb. One would undoubtedly have ended the war with Japan... the simple threat of a second would have, IMHO, done the trick. But the U.S. wasn't content with dropping just one. It's as though the powers that be looked at the film footage, and said, "Good God! Would you look at that!!! ...Let's do it again!"

Yes, the war needed to end. Yes, Japan started it all by attacking Pearl Harbor; a day interestingly referred to as 'a date which will live in infamy.' Nevermind the fact that Pearl Harbor suffered 2,300 to 2,900 casualties, depending on which source you use, while the Hiroshima bomb alone, in the initial blast, killed approximately 80,000 men, women, and children.

Every death is regrettable. Every shot fired, a failure for humanity. We cheapen ourselves by the use of weapons against our neighbors, and we are lessened by the loss of each life we take.

No I don't like war at all. But neither do I like the idea of men, burdened by an oppressive and insane ideology, killing 241 marines... and getting away with it. Neither do I like the idea that this same ideology mutilates and murderers women for sexual impurity, whether they're guilty or not (guilt being a non-issue as far as I'm concerned...genital mutilation and stoning are barbaric). I hate the idea that these people, warped by evil, find the idea of co-existence with other cultures is anathema to them... that they would rather fly jet liners filled with passengers into skyscrapers filled with workers... not soldiers... and if a certain faction within this country had its way, this murderous ideology would get away with that too.

This war did not end with Afghanistan-- Islam knows no physical border... has no tangible homeland. this war will not end with Iraq. This war, in fact, has only just begun, and few seem to realize it. While we fight like a pack of dogs over a few bones of contention, what's to stop these marauders from sneaking past and hitting us again? We're not paying attention. We haven't learned anything from the past. Not from Chamberlain, not from Hitler, not from Pearl Harbor, not from Hiroshima OR Nagasaki, not from Korea, not Vietnam, not Beirut, not Mogadishu. Israel, it would seem, has learned lessons we have not... Specifically, that War is indeed hell.

So... If I choose to stand with Hiroshima and decry the use and proliferation of atomic weapons, it's because I've gotten a big eye-full of what's going on in the world... and I'm surprised as hell that you haven't.

What follows, then, are two of my own tokens of apology....

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posted by Eric @ 12:23 PM, ,

In Memoriam -- Part I ..::Revisited::...

As much as I recognize the necessity of war, I find it nonetheless to be among the worst of human proclivities. Here then is my apology for dropping not one, but two atomic bombs on Japan in the summer of 1945. Admittedly, I know little of Japanese culture; what is appropriate, what is not, so it's likely I may owe yet another apology....

Please use the 'Here's More' link for the full post.

Deflowering the Crysanthemum

            She was led to a small stage prepared for just that moment; the moment they would demonstrate to the world the limit of their power over a nation, through one woman-- as though the horrors they had already unleashed were not enough. It was not enough to destroy her cities, ruin her people, her friends and family, now they would mock and shame her. Make of her something she would not otherwise have chosen. But this is the way of the victorious; they delight in examples, believing even their own propaganda; that they are righteous, and more deserving of victory... That their actions are somehow necessary.
            But she went willingly. Up three steps of aged and polished wood; probably stolen from a decimated temple. And where had they found the shoji screens? --Their paper windows intact and the purest of whites.
            They had made her paint herself in the traditional paints of a geisha, but they were ignorant and so made her paint her entire body. She did not argue... They did not understand. Her hair and pubic mound made a stark contrast to the gleaming white of the paints and she thought... How beautiful. They robed her in a kimono, crimson with yellow dragonflies, and briefly she smiled. They laughed and barked like dogs to one another; their tongues shaped about rough words... Their meaning a mystery.
            Chosen from among the victorious were three men, stripped to the waist of their pine-hued shirts, and ringed about the spot where she was to kneel before a gathering of strange pale faces and stranger eyes. She looked out and over their heads to the ghost of a city, its once proud buildings, the temples, the gardens, all gone; blown to ash in the blink of an eye, and scattered upon atomic winds.
            How many dead? Thousands? She began to cry-- tears drawing lines down the planes of her face --and then steeled herself... The victorious needed this display; garish and brutal as it was. What did it matter if they performed their little Noh play upon the charred bones of an entire city... An entire nation; once proud, now fallen to earth like cherry blossoms in spring...
            But this is summer. The end of summer. She looked to her left and saw an ensemble of taiko drums, drummers all but naked. None would look upon her; they understood her shame, and shared it. A Shakuhachi player stood with flute in hand, his head bent and eyes cast down. His breathing was rhythmic, his kimono dirty. But the flute... Ahh, it was magnificent! She turned to her countrymen and bowed slightly, then turned back to her audience.
            They were a strange people; prideful, uncouth, and so utterly ignorant. They shaped the world to their purpose rather than shaping their lives to the world about them. Their cities were ugly, and nothing about their culture held any sense of tradition. They were upstarts... Children. But children with powerful toys. And they’re eyes... So foreign.
            A man in uniform-- a general perhaps? --rose from his seat up front and turned to face the gathered. He raised his voice and spoke in his rough tongue. He used his hands expressively, but the tone of his voice was dogmatic and said he held her and her nation in contempt.
            "We are the defeated," she softly spoke, and one among those that ringed her whispered brokenly in her tongue.
            "Forgive us Hiroshima, forgive us Nagasaki."
            Another of the three grunted harshly and the first fell silent.
            "It is easy to ask forgiveness when there is no consequence to face." She replied softly. "I will forgive you when the dead do." And though she couldn’t see it she felt him bow his head to her.
            The general quickly finished and motioned to the drummers. As one they struck their drums, building swiftly a rhythm to which she could sing. Their bodies soon glistened with the sheen of sweat, and the power of their drumming grew, intent on stirring the victorious. The Shakuhachi player raised his flute and began a mournful dirge in counter to the beat of the drummers, yet his own rhythm matched them. Together they played perfectly, beautifully... But the assembled did not appreciate this, it was clear on their faces; it was alien to them.
            She knew the words she was to sing. The song had been written for her, by aliens, and memorized in the long hours between dawn and this very moment, but she would not sing it. They knew little of Japanese, and would not know what she sang.
            The man directly behind her undid her deep black hair, removing the long bamboo pins that held it, and she felt its weight as it fell long to her waist. She felt the first tug of the shears at the nape of her neck-- My hair! They are cutting my hair! It had taken years to grow... --and she began to cry once more. And through her tears she saw the child in the first row, a very young girl... What kind of people brings its children to such a spectacle? Barbarians!
            The little girls eyes were the lightest shade of blue, and her hair-- in contrast to her own --was a lighter shade of yellow than the chrysanthemum in her tiny hand. She wore a dark blue dress, and her shoes shone bright and new. She stood close to her mother who held her hand.
            There was a final tug, then release, and she looked about to see her beautiful black hair lying around her. The men to either side of her barber took hold of the crimson kimono’s collar and drew it open, exposing her breasts. Their hands tugged at the sash and they stripped the fabric entirely from her, letting it drop to the platform to cover her hair. She sat kneeling, hands folded in her lap. She shone like polished bone, entirely covered in the white paint.
            Some in the crowd turned their heads, embarrassed to look upon her nakedness, others seemed to gloat, but all held an air of ambivalence. None but the child looked saddened. Then she felt the hands on her, wet with water as they began to make a show of washing her clean. There was symbolism in this of course, the drummers could see it, the Shakuhachi player could see it... And she began to sing.
            It was a song to stir souls, had the victorious possessed such... It was a beautiful melody. The song trembled deep in her throat and crashed out over the audience. It was clear none understood her, but they understood the melody... Understood its pain and suffering, and understood in its cry a longing for a way of life now gone. Whether they realized it as such or not, they also understood that with two swift, cowardly blows, they had managed to decimate not just two cities and countless lives, but an ancient culture as well. But again, that is what victors do. They tear down the temples and the shrines and the theaters and the houses and reshape the land to their own liking. What changes will these men bring? What new ideas to supplant the old?
            Her song rose and fell as hands washed her. She felt them move over her breasts, her stomach, to her thighs and the dark place between. She could feel their fingers move over her skin, but she could not sense a desire in them, they did not grope or fondle, only wash. Her face her neck, her shoulders, her back. They lifted her arms and she held them out like the very image of their crucified god on its hideous totem. They delight in torture; yet revere the god they killed! It’s not unusual to feel great respect for a vanquished foe, but worship? Never!
            If she were in the bathhouse she might have felt desire for these men whose hands touched what no other had, but not here. This was her shame... To be stripped of her mystery; a Noh play devoid of tradition, performed for barbarians. The hands cupped and lifted her breasts, moved under her arms, down her back to her buttocks, and lower. The drummers drummed, the Shakuhachi player played, and she sang as the men shamed her.
            When at last their hands left her, she finished her song and looked about her. The stage was washed in white, the pretty kimono ruined, and her hair... The men stood and left the stage, leaving her where she sat, their hands and arms now white. The general rose again to speak many words, none of which she understood. The drummers were led away. The Shakuhachi player followed. And when the general finished, the men who had led her to this place, mounted the stage to help her rise, and led her down the same steps of aged and polished wood, leaving white prints upon their dark surfaces like the footprint of ghosts.
            Movement dark and swift caught her eye and she looked to see the child running to her. The girl stopped shyly and looking up into her face, smiled and held out the chrysanthemum. She bowed deeply to the child and took the offered gift.
            The girl said something in her beautiful voice; her eyes held sympathy and embarrassment, a genuine sorrow for the painted woman.
            "Thank you, little one." She said, bowing deeper. 'I will remember your kindness."
            A soldier led the girl back to her mother, who fussed over and scolded her, admonishing her for her bravery. Would the child remember? Will she understand what she has done in years to come?
            They did not clothe her, but led her naked back to where they had held her, where they had prepared her for this spectacle. Her escort did not touch her, but directed her with their grunting, and pointing, back and forth in their savage tongue. Soldiers gawked at her, countrymen bowed to her, averting their eyes. She would, of course, commit suicide; her shame was too great. No more parties on the palace lawn, no more plays, no more poetry, no more cherry blossoms in spring. The victors had stolen it all. But she would compose a poem for her death-- though none would ever hear it.
            They came at last to the tents that were her prison. They would take her inside and allow her to wash and clothe herself before escorting her back to the palace, but she could not go back now. She could not bear the look of shame in her father’s eyes, or bear to hear her mother weeping. She would be a reminder to them, of their own shame... Better to die, with honor. So she would run! She would find a place untouched by their hideous weapon and perhaps find a shard of glass to cut her wrists, and compose her death poem.
            And as if thought were motion she leapt away from her captors and ran, ignoring their shouts. She heard them begin to chase and she ran harder. The sound of their boots fell farther and farther behind. Pain shot up from her feet as rocks and glass cut her soles, but she ignored it. There was only running... The pound of blood in her ears, and the beat of her heart. There was only running, breathing... And the sound of thunder crashing through the sky, thunder so powerful it ripped the breath from her, and threw her hard upon the torn earth.
            There was little sound now; only a loud hum over the shouting of men, the feel of their boots shaking through the ground as they neared her... Her own breath, heavy and labored... The beat of her heart, and the hot, wet feel of blood draining from the hole in her chest... They had shot her... Not thunder at all...
            Lifting her head she looked over the ground to the ruined city, to ghostly survivors picking through the rubble, and there lay the Chrysanthemum. The world about it seemed colorless, but the flower was a bright dusty yellow, the color of pollen. It layed in her dimming sight a stark contrast to the desolation that framed it, and reaching for it, she pulled the flower to her breasts. Her lips moved with her last breath and shaped the words of a poem.
            "What was it she said?" Asked one soldier.
            The gunman knelt at her side, brushed a spill of hair from her eyes, and recited,

            "...Chrysanthemum pure
            Amid fields of wide ruin
            Its lovely hair shorn."

Written in one sitting
September 1, 2001
10 days before 9/11

I posted this last year [and the year before as well], and the version you've just read is slightly different-- Some additions, some subtractions, and a lot of changes in punctuation. It would seem Stephen King is right: 'Set your work aside for at least 6 weeks... give it a rest... then come back to it with fresh eyes and edit your work.' This version is better. And since I am the author, and this has never seen publication anywhere but here, I guess I'm free to edit as many times as I wish-- though I suspect a time will come when it will need to be left alone, lest it lose whatever charm it had at its birth.

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posted by Eric @ 12:01 PM, ,

In Memoriam -- Part II ..::Revisited::..

"Forgive us Hiroshima, Forgive us Nagasaki..."

--Deflowering the Chrysanthemum

In Memoriam

What is coming?
I asked of the sky
No thought that blue
Could ever reply
But countless birds
Away did fly
        "Something comes"

What is coming?
I asked again
And felt the brush
Of Insistent wind
Pursuing a path
Only Avians wing
        "Something Comes"

What is coming?
I asked of the sun
The air grown hot
To blister my tongue
Flesh to ash
And in a flash, done
        Something has come

Yet I remain
My ghost, my bone
Remembered this day
In memorial stone
Etched in apology
I've no right to own
        Something has come
                ...and gone

May it not be forgotten


Of course, factually, birds were incinerated in flight, and no wind rushed save those winds atomic, and those that held Enola above the fray.

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posted by Eric @ 12:00 PM, ,