Month: January 2012

The Cut on My Face

The warriors came

On their horses of fire

The roar of the beast chased me

Closer,

Closer.

 

I fell, my face shattered the ground

The well was broken

Black water only flowed

From the mouth of the life-giver.

 

They caught me

Their laughter filled the air

The sun was a blood-red as I walked home.

 

I know not who they are

The soldiers, the fighters

They have left now;

But I remember

Their footfall remains in the soil

They came to my village.

 

I have a reminder

It bleeds every day as I wake.

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Feminism: the Broken Biscuit Syndrome

Note: the following consists entirely of the writer’s opinion.

Why is feminism needed? What are the mouths on TV saying that has them so red in the face with emotion? It’s the fact that our society is intrinsically broken! If our society were a biscuit, it would be one that has been shattered to pieces and trampled on! I shall illustrate why that is so. It is not just one reason, dear person reading this, it is many! If our society was ever positively functional, it is not so now. An intricate web of malicious entities have brought us to being a society that engages in disgusting behaviour, and women have been handed the short end of the stick, for the most part.

Selective Acceptance

Within our thought and values, there is a divide favouring men over women. I scarcely have to write about that, more than enough has been said of it (and I don’t want to bore you, read on, it gets interesting). The short version is that men are assumed to be more worthy of holding power, and women inept, simply because the former have facial hair -most of them, anyway- and bits of flesh dangling out of their crotches. Ridiculous, but it happens. Behaviour that generally would be frowned upon is less likely to be so if undertaken by a man. Our society teaches us that. Our society teaches us that the man is to be given privilege, while the woman is his subordinate. That was the origin of feminism: the desire, the NEED, to rid society of its disease of sexism.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, women continue to be harassed for being women!

Economy and the Image of Beauty

Sexual desire is a primal instinct, common to everyone. It’s natural, our species, like all others, needs continuity. It took, then, a smart -or is it devious?- person to think of how to ally that with the business of selling goods. How easy and perfect: you have your product shown around to your customers by beautiful women, and they’ll have their wallets out before you can say “Idiots being scammed”.

There’s so much that is wrong with that, I’ll take it on one vile part at a time.

One, the objectification of women! The danger and outrage here is that women, human beings, are being degraded to objects of lust and desire, used to market mobile phones and laptops. Not only is it exploiting the women involved, it turns the consumers attracted by this into mindless drones driven by empty, hollow desire. We are being made into stupid machines. I WOULD LIKEN IT TO THE SEX TRADE. What is this if not a shameless sex trade that demeans the person involved?

Then, another element to the evil cocktail. The thought of the models being beautiful. They are not. Because there really is no way of telling. Why, you ask?

Because beauty is not what the skin holds. It is not what is enhanced by make-up and a trip to the hairdresser’s. Not what you get by paying a plastic surgeon to operate on your body. Rather, that’s a muddled view of it. Beauty has always been the lengths you go to make the lives of those you care about easier. Beauty is when you do good. Beauty is when someone’s soul entices you with its purity. Beauty is the sincerity of caring about the other.

Beauty is all of that, and more, but is it not what it is advertised to be. But, of course, you have to advertise it that way. How would your sell your tubes of mascara then? You wouldn’t. So you have them believe beauty is what you get when you buy whatever product you’re selling. So, the models aren’t beautiful. And considering them beautiful leads to them becoming less of human beings, and more of things that are to be used for purposes of pleasure, utilized for the feeding of greed. Would you want that for yourself?

I don’t want my sisters -blood-bound, as well as otherwise- to be swallowed whole into this system that teaches them that they’re nothing if not the agreed-upon image of beauty, nothing if without a man, nothing if they do not keel over to acts of misogyny and not stand up for themselves. No.

She’s Wrong!

Imagine this scenario: a woman is sexually harassed. She is traumatized for life. In the aftermath of it all, she is blamed for the act. Blaming, accusing fingers will be pointed to her wearing supposedly revealing clothing, acting suggestively, or otherwise bringing it upon herself. So, in short, blaming the victim for the crime.

NO.

That is, for want of a better phrase, fucking dumb, disgusting, and a sign of a rotted mindset. Are you not justifying the perpetrator’s act by blaming the victim, lessening what must be imponderable blame? Are you not creating sexual molesters and harassers-to-be by teaching them that the receiving party is really the one at fault? Are you not perpetuating a poisonous train of thought?

You are.

The worst of it is that this is not spread by only men, but by women also. No one is exempt from the blame of this. The crime is never the victim’s fault. How anyone can justify a crime as ugly as rape is beyond me. This is filth: “But sometimes it’s the woman’s fault, she dressed/acted that way.” Instead, what we must champion is placing the blame entirely on the shoulders of those culpable.

“She’s asking for it,” you say? I say to the flaming, blistering pits of hell with you and everyone who agrees with you.

We must demand that no-one’s right to exist the way they see fit and right be infringed by the thought that it constitutes consent to sexual harassment. Recoiling in shame of what has befallen them does rape victims no good, and we are who force them into hiding, instead of shaming and punishing those responsible for their grief.

Feminism is not hatred or disliking of men, it is the belief and constant reminder that trampling on others’ rights must never and shall never be tolerated. Drop the silly image in the back of your mind of a bitter lady who hates men. Feminists are not women wanting to be men, they are women and men who believe in gender equality, as much of it as is humanly possible!

It occurs to me that the biscuit I likened modern society to is too smashed-to-smithereens to be fixed. We need a bake a new one. And to shatter stereotypes further, now the feminists are our bakers! Ha!

The Chair on the Left

On either end of the large room are identical oak chairs. He must have had a designer place them there. I debate within myself which to seat myself at.

It wasn’t a gradual change. Something as striking as that doesn’t happen unnoticed. I still wonder at it as I did the moment it happened. They flew back as if hidden my masks. But there are no masks. I thread the line through the handle, fix the lock to the steel shutter of the lock. It should revolve unobstructed now. I take the end of the line to the chair on the left.

I try to recall my proof. I try to recall the smile. Pulling the image back into view has become near impossible. It breaks into pieces that are blown away, piece by piece. I try to recall what the dining table looked like. The soft silk napkins. The melody of clangs of knives and forks and spoons bouncing off plates. The waitress. My confusion. How I couldn’t read the menu. “You choose,” I said. “I don’t know. What do you think?” I try to recall her smile then. I had dined alone. I loved what she had ordered on my behalf.

Outside the window is a black canvas. It’s too late for anything else to show. The towers are burnt-out fires. The hardwood floor clicks under the soles of my shoes. I wait for him. It won’t be long before he steps through the door at my side. I will be out of his view at first he enters. I will make it easy.

I walked streets searching for them. I had woke from sleep and I could find none. Where had they gone? Could it all have been a dream? Was I going to wake soon, terrified but grateful it was nothing more than my dreams at work? I didn’t know. So I searched for them, finding none in anyone. Not even my own. They do not look at me. They do not shoot me terrified or disgusted looks. I have no reflection.

It will be soon.

The faces had disappeared. In their places voids. I saw no eyes that glisten. No lips that speak words of kindness. I saw no faces. Not in anyone. Soon all the faces I knew started falling out of my memory. One remains, a phantom in my head. That of the waitress who smiled. It was as though all the faces had been erased. All but one. The only proof I have that there were ever faces where there are none now is a slowly fading memory of someone who smiled at my indecisiveness.

The ding of the elevator sounds. I follow his footfall along the long hallway. He slides the keys into the lock, and pushes inside. I’m concealed in the dark of the room. His footsteps fall heavy, he has spent another day hard at work. The light flickers open. He makes his way to the center of the room. A small sign on the main wall comes into view, hung where he would see it every day.

Happiness is taking note of the little things that make our lives. They happen only once. In that time, life is yours.

He stands before me now. From my seat, I pull the line in my hand and the structure I attached to it clicks in place. The crashing sound is that of the slide of the lock shattering. No one will open this door. No one will interrupt this. I dart toward him.

I imagine he is startled now. I imagine he is surprised at my being in his home. I do not see. I do not know. There is a thud as I strike his head. Another as he falls to the floor. The blade cuts cleanly through. The stream of blood slides smoothly across the hardwood floor. Like a river. The tip of the knife now rests where it will cause the most painless death. His body will slip into shock, his head will flood over with absence of feeling, and he will feel nothing. He will leave having hurt little. His fingers smear a streak across the floor before relaxing and stopping in place. Then I see it. I see what I came for.

For a moment, I see his tranquil face.

Once a Sky Blue

      Along the sky like bands never ceasing.

The blood-red earth shines as I step through. The dead things litter the ground. I steal around them. Avoiding them is all we can do. You have little power of choice when you’re running for your life. Nothing penetrates the silence. We see them, but not hear them. Its sound is approaching. It will be soon.

The world burns red. It has been years since our world was stripped of life. We made this. The sky glows a bright crimson, and so does all else. The floor I step on, the remains of water in the ground, the dead trees, the raw wind in the air. Red as the roses of old. I run on, the shattered road beneath my feet crackles as I step on shards of its fabric. It will be soon when the rivers will arrive. The rivers will take most of us.

This is our doing. Once, this sky glimmered a beautiful blue. We cared little then. We let our world break, bathed it in the never-ending war, soaked its soil in the blood of the innocent, filled its air with the sounds of pain. Death, not life, was the constant of our lives. We brought this onto ourselves. The world we defiled for so long would then take its revenge upon us; it has, but it is not done yet. Not until we are all wiped away.

It had had enough. It had grown sick of our ignorance. When it first appeared, the red sheet spread over the land of war. That is how we knew it was fueled by the deaths. Up above, through the fabric of the sky, over the darting gunshots and blasts of missiles, it slowly spread. Threw over us the blanket of red. We didn’t know where it came from, but it had encased our planet. It sucked out sound, and life followed. The rivers came, and the wars were stopped. Its revenge had started. Our presence had only caused it agony of late, and it has been cleansing itself of us.

The red covered the whole of the world. All we see is the blood of the earth that coats all things. Then the rivers cut through the air. The rivers are white streams of light that snake through the air like the wind. They kill all along their path. No one is spared. Coming into contact with one erases your bodies from existence. Gone, like it had never been. The rivers grow bigger as they collect more souls. My body aches, but I must run from the rivers. In the distance, I see more like me. Delaying the inevitable.

On instinct, we run. Most of us would walk into the path of one of the rivers, relieve ourselves of this torture of a world, if not for the river’s burn. The thought of it shakes our cores. In the thin shard of a second before touching the rivers and being thrust into nonexistence, you see its pain. The Earth forces its age-long pain before your eyes. There is no time to scream, to articulate the horror that it has been through, that we put it through. The dead speak once more. None is allowed but to glance at the justification of the burning sky, the rivers of white that erase us. Not many of us remain. It will not be long before I am made to see what they have seen. The Earth is killing us. The end is near.

The rocks under my feet tremble as the river comes into being. Great as a mountain. It reaps the lives of a few in the distance. A blink of a moment later, they are pulled into nowhere. I run in the opposite direction, I could have a chance of evading it still. The river travels faster than most can run, but it is not flowing toward me. I continue on, as fast my twitching legs will allow. The red air melts my insides as I force it inside in wide gulps. The river strikes into the ground a shock of a wave as it turns in my direction. Its flow makes no sound, its travel leaves no trace. It illuminates the red, diluting it into shadows of the vivid colour. My eye meets another just as the river brushes past me. I stare into the terrified amber iris.

Brown, like an earth once alive. Like a home once loved.

The Field of Weeping Roses.

      Story and legend tell of a story. A story of our ancestors. Like many of its kind, this one begins long ago, in a time different from this.

 

The Fire of White

      A long time ago, there were two kings. Their kingdoms lay side by side. For a long there time, there had been peace and trade between the two kingdoms. Then, the two kingdoms found themselves at the brink of war. Some say it was greed that sparked the animosity: one of the kings wanted the other’s kingdom. Others say it was anger: one of the kings had ordered the other’s traders be cheated, not given their due payment. Others hold a dispute of passion and love to be the cause. Its spark was created, and the fire of war ignited. A long war was fought, with both kingdoms sending their men to fight, and die in the heat of battle. Eventually, the war ended, with neither side claiming victory. The two armies were of near identical ability and strength. The blood of the dead, it is said, crept out of the lifeless bodies, seeped into the land and soil of the battlefield. The families of the deceased mourned, with both of the kings’ subjects killing them for having lost them their family members, waged war. The war was ended.

     Those of the soldiers who fled, managed to leave the battlefield with their souls in toe, were chased out by a fire. One larger than any of them had ever seen, the flames of which were hotter than any that had ever burned. The fire burned white. White flawless and pure as the clouds. Its large beams snaked up toward the heavens. So tall, they were seen from within the gates of the two kingdoms. It burned throughout the battlefield, leaving no part of it unaffected. The fire burned for many days. The night sky was set alight by the wildfire.Amazed, the elderly and children alike watched the blaze that ate away at the land. They sang.

 

 

The fire of white

Burning in the night.

 

Fueled by burning souls

Of those sent to fight

Those hearts strong and fierce,

Those smiles bright.

 

The fire of white

Burning in the night

Where the dark once was

Great phantoms of might.

Oh how beautiful is the sight

Of the fire of white.

 

 

One day, a bright spring morning, a call was heard from outside both kingdoms. The call was so inviting that everyone who could followed its sweet pull. The call was emanating from what was the battlefield where the war was fought. They followed the call to its source. What they found was not the barren battlefield of the great war they knew to be there, but a bed of flowers.

 

The Song of the Flowers

      They found an expanse of white roses, each round and the size of a clenched fist. They looked for who was calling for them, and found no one. The call came from the roses. They approached the flowers, finding that each of them was called to different flower. Just as they neared the rose that pulled them, the flowers started to sing. The song they sang brought them to them to their knees. The flowers sang of the dead. The flowers sang, each lamenting the death of a husband, a father, a brother, a son. They sang their names, moments they were happy and sad and heartbroken, memories they had held, dreams they had had. The flowers only sang to the ears of those who had known the man of whom the flower sings. No one else could hear the words of the roses. When they had finished singing, the flower slowly turned a bright red, gradually, drop by drop of luminous colour, as if being stained by blood. Once red, they say, the people could hear the flowers weep. The cries of the flowers shook their souls. That is the story of field of weeping flowers.

 

      The flowers still cry now. No one hears their song.

 

The Girl in Purple.

I am the frog.

I can hear buzzing under the plastic insulation I placed on the wire. The metal of the container box shows all its rust now: it isn’t glistening in the pool of light encasing it. Ten minutes.

“Doing what is right,” they call it. It is what you read on their badges, what their news agencies claim, what their politicians dole out with all sincerity. It is the reason behind every action, and the motivation behind every crime. It is what, either by being tricked by others or tricking themselves, they believe. It is their ultimate rule. It is what I break. It is what they resent me for. It is, despite its masked ugliness, beautiful. They have taught me that.

I am not like them. They cannot see.

I was seven. Televisions were not as extravagant back then, but it did not matter. Through the fifteen inches of a multicolor screen, I first noticed it. The wall. When an explosion blows out a hospital, sending the charred, flaming remains of what used to be someone’s wife or brother into flight, or when images of the aftereffects of a missile attack are dealt out to the public, with a man in a jacket that spells PRESS guiding viewers through the mayhem that results, you can see it, if you look close enough. The wall in all its deceiving glory. On television, I saw the bombed-to-shreds buildings, and was told by a smiling man in brown glasses that these wastelands before me were the images of war. The unmistakable footprints of death leave waste in their wake, and it leaves a mark. A mark I saw in the terrified eyes, and screams, the girl in a simple purple dress stained in dirt and dust holding another tighter and tighter still trying to muffle her wails of pain, the calls for help. Tighter and tighter, as if her loosening her grip would kill the other girl. Couldn’t the foreign men with cameras help, I wondered. Clearly, they couldn’t. It was small at first, a tiny detail that got bigger and grew to become all I can see.

“Why?” I asked. No one replied other than to tell me that it was the right thing to do. There is honour in military action, and that was no exception. In the larger scheme of things, it matters little if you kill ten others in pursuing a target. Or a hundred. Or half a country. Right is right and must be pursued at all costs. I could have been that girl whose head had half of it incinerated. It wouldn’t have mattered to them. It wouldn’t have mattered to the people like me: the ones on their sofas, huddled around a living room, around a television. People like me; at least, at the time.

The wall was slightly in view then, a mirage that hid once I neared, the thread of an artifact in the corner of your eye that jumps out of view once you look in its direction. Why is this happening is the first question you ask. It is only natural to look for a reason to calm your outrage. I was offered plenty. Honour, love of country, hatred of the others. They were wrong and we were right.

Terrorist. That’s what the men in green helmets, machine guns in hand, are out to capture. One out to insight terror, one whose heart so overflows with dark, inky evil that they would make their life mission to kill innocents and rob them of their piece of mind and life. Terror. Fear. A terrorist is a maker of misery. Seven minutes.

I was ten. My mother cried. When your son dies in battle, I cannot imagine doing any less than she did. Her cries pierced the air around me, as if slicing through it in neat bands. But she was consoled. “He died serving his country,” she was told. “He was doing the right thing.” He had died of a bullet wound to the neck. By the time his accompanying teammates were able to reach him, deep into enemy territory, where he’d been shot, he had bled to death. It takes a few seconds for that kind of wound to drain you of all life. His friend from the military told me this, on account of the dead soldier being my only brother. He wore formal military garment. As he recalled the events, tears streamed down his face and he wailed as though the liquid were paining him as it exited his eyes. He told me I deserved to know how my brother died. That he died upholding what everyone virtuous and true holds to be right. After he’d left, I remember hating those responsible for my brother’s death.

They say a frog placed in boiling water will jump out, but one that is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, will not understand, will not perceive the danger. It will be cooked to death.

Five minutes.

I was thirteen. The man in the square is looking at me. He’s looking at everyone there. His eyes scan the crowd, finding every face and feeding it looks of earnestness and truthfulness. I was watching the president give a speech. Talking, he detailed why the country was entering war again. A terrorist organisation must be brought to its knees. Freedom must be granted to a besieged people. We were to sacrifice for the common good. I believed him. There was no reason not to. I was afraid. A week later, the tanks left. The fighter jets darted away. The men with guns were loaded onto massive ships and shipped to where they either kill or be killed. And if death was to be their fate, they would die with honour. Other times, I see the man laughing.

Instead, the country invaded was torn to pieces. The dead, all civilians, were too many to count. Some things engrave themselves into your memory. It was then that the wall was clear. Over every action, over everyone who believes in the deceit, is a thin, dark film that shows the true nature of things. The wall is over everything. The wall is what shows the politician to be a power-hungry chaser of wealth, whose interests are far from what he advertises. It shows wars fought in the name of freedom, dignity and liberty to be no less criminal than what they supposedly are enacted to fight. It showed me, and everyone like me, everyone who took their words to be true, everyone who feared and cried and chanted and loved and hated when they said to, to be blind.

I see it.

There is no right. There is only a surprisingly simple machine wherein I was given no choice but delusion. I was played with and told what to think. I refused to be a part in their games of greed and blood. The blind around me do not see, but they must. Three minutes.

The domino effect requires only a little push to be set in motion. One small force sets the machine in perfect chaos. It is that which I intend to do. It will only take my small act to make them realize. They must see what I see. They must drink of my blood. They must drown in misery, just as I have. Then they will know. Two minutes.

The low purr still escapes the metal box. At midnight, when I press the small button in its middle, I will die. The charge will light the fuse in the ignition chamber, and set aflame the explosives packaged inside. Instant death. So little of me will remain that they will carry my remains in their palms. This is my purpose. I am the frog who was transformed without knowing. And, like the frog deceived, I will die. My time has come. I realized my purpose. When I die, they will realize theirs. The ignition will set ablaze the letters I wrote. They will see my final message, written in ink of red flame. One minute.

I close my eyes. The last thing I ever see must not be this world. It must not be this beast. I think of her. I think how she looked as though holding back tears as she embraced the other child, caging her in her own being. She had to appear strong, unaffected, for the other girl. That might have been her sister. Her friend. I think how she changed me. I think how I was blind. How she made me see.

The button clicks softly as I push it through.

****

They lie.

Your sons and daughter are dying at war as you read this.

I was one of you.

I cannot do any more.

If you are reading this,

if you have witnessed what I have done,

if you watch death every day and cannot feel its searing pain any longer

then stand together.

Fight the war machine.

Fight death.

 

I love the girl in purple.

Ice

She collects the tears

Has done for years

In small glass bottles

Each,

A memento of things

The memory of which sears

Her soul.

 

Tears become crystals become jewels solid

Frozen

Hardened by the pain

By screams that pierce sky

And cloud.

 

To whoever she meets, she gives one

A gift of her own being

Here are my tears,

Here is my life

Here are the scars of me

Here are my bleeding cuts

That bleed with no blood.

 

Whomever receives

The frozen tear she gives

Sees in it her agony

Sees it in the glass

Lives again the life

Of she whose life is

A single line from

The age-long book

Of tragedy.

 

Go

Leave now

Walk away with my tears

Walk away with winds that blow within me

Walk away

With what my terrified heart rains.