Saturday, December 02, 2006

Monsters of Antiquity

From the December 2006 edition of Smokebox:

Like most dreams this one begins in media res.

I was incarcerated in an old industrial complex not unlike those abandoned, asbestos-filled warehouses that crowd the neglected streets and labyrinthine alleys of my hometown Cleveland. Around the crumbling ruin of this makeshift prison stretched an imposing gray wall topped with glimmering razor wire. Rumors circulated that the wall had a secret opening, a small hole just big enough for a man to squeeze through and make his way back home to friends and family. At certain times during the day prisoners were marched outside and permitted to stretch in a narrow concrete pen along the wall, but no one dared search for the opening in broad daylight. Somehow I knew, with the inexplicable logic of all dreams, that this “exercise yard” was frequently used for other, more diabolical things. When the guards informed us that it was time for our daily “exercise,” many of my fellow inmates would turn pale, cling to their cots, kick their legs like small children, scream for mercy.

Read the entire essay


Anonymous said...

War is ugly. Period. It is what it is. Both sides use the same tactics, tactics that are necessary to win. They sever heads, we blast annoying music. It's not a tea party, it's not even a rugby match where cheapshots are taken and bones are broken. It's a life-and-death struggle. A person acts differently when his/her life is at stake. The only way to know how you'll act is when you face the enemy. Until then, you can fool yourself into believing you'll hold true to your morals and ethics, be brave and not run at the first sight of trouble, jump on a mine to save your friends. But what happens when you don't jump on that mine but instead turn tail and run? That's the true horror of war is that it unveils who you truly are, and sometimes that person is gut-wrenchingly detestable. You have to do things you don't like, but again...that's war.

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