September 5th, 2007

Escape to Sant Angelo

My father, drunk and full of venomous rage, shoves me toward the door, follows me outside. He has a butcher’s knife and he intends to cut my throat because I’ve disobeyed him and I therefore need to pay the price. Somehow I summon the courage to break free from his grasp, and run. My legs are leaden, terribly heavy, making running almost impossible. But after a while I look back. I see him in the distance, looking for me. Then he stops looking, and walks off. I’ve successfully escaped.

The scene changes. I’m in a village near a shore that was flooded by a high tide or a tsunami. Brad has some things she wants me to do for her, one of which is to gut and clean a big pile of white and silver fish that had been stranded by the receding waters. I don’t like this task, but I set to it anyway, because she has always been kind to me, and helped me, and affirmed me, almost like a mother.

There must have been much more to the dream because I awoke with a pounding heart and a cold sweat, but I’ve forgotten many of the details. It probably was just more of the same recurring theme—my father’s obsessive need to repudiate me, to destroy me. And my refusing to submit, always fighting back, determined to survive his assaults.

Like long ago, after he attacked me in the kitchen. I’d had enough. I seized him by his shoulders and threw him against the sink’s cabinet. He rose, swung at me again, so I slammed him against the cabinet, this time much more violently, and then he fell and lay moaning on the floor, knees drawn up against his chest. I learned later that I had broken several of his ribs.

Patricide is the ultimate rebellion, an assertion of young alpha male dominance, a takeover of the leadership of the tribe, a coming of age. Some men get off on it. I don’t. I suppose that’s due to the strong artistic or feminine facet of my character. Who knows? Who cares?

Reverberations from that fleeting dream lingered as I hiked down the mountain, hopped on a bus to Sant Angelo to take pictures. Not even the good news yesterday from an editor of Eclectica that he’d accepted one of my stories could dispel my dark, melancholy mood. I imagine it’s how soldiers who manage to survive bloody combat feel. Knowing that some other human being for some obscure purpose has deliberately tried to kill you, and would have, were it not for an inexplicable stroke of good luck.

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Lizzard-brained Lunatic

(image: Jason Reed/Reuters. September 2, 2007. via

This is about the most obscene photograph I’ve ever seen in my life. Take a close look. Study those young, eager faces. And then look at the alleged “Commander In Chief” in a safe US Air Base a hundred miles away from Baghdad, very nearly giddy with delight at how these young, eager troops shout their approval of him on command. Bush is shamelessly using our children, our very own boys and girls, as PR props for the war that will never end. He stands next to boys and girls who in a week from now may very well be horribly wounded, or shell shocked, or dead. Yet the moron GRINS stupidly, as if the reality that surrounds him does not exist. That the overwhelming majority of Americans want our troops home NOW, not ten or twenty years hence. When will this utter madness end? When will someone in Congress stand up and STOP this nauseating, disgusting, lizzard-brained lunatic before more of our boys and girls die needlessly?

Here’s the article in The Huffington Post this morning. Read it and weep.

“Reading The Pictures: George’s Magic Kingdom,” by Michael Shaw, The Huffington Post, September 4, 2007

I don't know why more isn't made of the White House tactic of hauling off -- in effect, kidnapping -- the traveling press on these thoroughly-scripted Iraq dog-and-camel shows.

In the style of other engineered "forced disappearances," converting the visual media into a literally captive audience during these so-called "surprise" detours does, however, offer a choice opportunity to survey this administration's main product -- plasticized and surreal impressions that misdirect the public mind.

In this case, for example, the president is not secreted away for a few hours in a runaway, force-occupied country with young and expendable flesh-and-blood soldiers. Instead, in line with all the supposed improvement in his war of liberation, the Commander - And - Chief Mouseketeer has spirited off to Disney World to tout his gains with the shiniest and most effervescent children he could pick out of the melting pot.

Original piece in HP can be seen here.