Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Overheard at Table 2: Notes from Underground Revisited

Niall is reading from a new book that he has recently found in a used book store:

"My head is buried in the dirt and my face is toward the sky. The earth has been slowly smoothed around my limbs and my torso. I am half buried in the underground. If you were to look at me, it would appear to you as though only the front relief of a man's body was to be seen, pulsing up from the earth. I am as a sculpture made in the sand, and if the waves were to crash over me, my body would be swept into the sea.

"My eyes are open and I can see. However, I cannot move. I am melded here to this soil. I can move my fingers, but not my wrists or arms. I can wiggle my toes, but not my ankles. I am enmeshed, immobile, and trapped in this earth that holds me like stone and will not let me go.

"All that I am able to do, from this point of view, here, in this earth, is watch. I watch my country. I watch the people. I watch the turning wheels of the machinations that are grinding these trees into sawdust and burning the rivers dry.

"Last week my country killed the villian who brought down the symbols of our financial world domination. We walked into his walled compound where he had lived in impunity in the country to which we give $80 billion per year, to pay their military to help us find this villian. They had trained their military soldiers under the shadow of his watchful, hiding eye. They, for their turn, did not know that we were going to raid his house and kill him. In retaliation, they have put another of our high ranking CIA officials in danger by calling him by name in the streets, streets filled with thieves, operatives, spies, soldiers of fortune - all who would kill him for money or sheer recognition. This is the game that we play in countries all across the world. We give them money to train their soldiers to use the guns that we sell them, guns which are occasionally used against our soldiers that we train to use the guns that we sold ourselves, to use against the countries who have the guns that we sold them to use occasionally against us.

"I am not insane. It is the we who are insane. The most sane decision that I have made is to be part of this immovable earth.

"Today the state of Illinois outlawed Planned Parenthood. An organization that was set up to lift inner-city women out of poverty by giving them some semblance of control over their own ovaries, their own uteri, their own fallopian tubes, their own vaginas, their own creation and procreation. The woman who founded the organization is vilified, and slandered. Sixty years dead and we still take her out of her grave and slap around her memory and our evangelicals rape her image, spilling their clean seed over her vile Nazi tendencies. And the girls who walk to the doors to these houses of the planning of the family are faced with the scowls and the condemnation, and we call our daughters whores for being tricked, for being slandered, and we blame them for believing in the idle promises that we have jokingly told our sons to tell whenever they want what they want whenever there is that need in their loins, and all the while we seal our mouths at the wrong times when we should be telling our daughters and sons the truth, the real truth about these bodies of ours. The truth is that these bodies are beautiful and they are made to be one half of a whole, that they are made to be joined together in holy unity, blessed by God, and we are made to enjoy each other in sensuality and in joy and to satisfy all the lustful cravings in our communal yin/yang thrashings in the marriage bed . . .

"But no. We never say this. We simply hand them a book and a class in 5th grade that tells them the mediocre scientific names of their body parts, and we say, 'If you get yourself in trouble it's all your fault.'

"And now we close the doors on the institutions that sprang up out of their need from our own inadequacies. We ourselves are too shamed to admit that we have done this to our children.

"Today I heard a story on the news, the news from a bird who had kindly consented to perch itself on a nearby fencepost and sing to me in alternating chirps and trills. At first I thought that the bird was merely sending out a locating beacon, but the chirps were different, varying, modulating in speed and tone and intensity. At times it was fast, at times slow, at times it was like a gyroscope, with a long arc up and down after cresting the wave. Eventually it dawned on me that this bird was giving the news report, it was calling out the history of America. Part of the history lesson from the news of this bird was of the Congo, in 1961, so many years before now, so many years and yet it is still happening now, in so many ways.

"We paid a butcher to assinate a democratically elected leader, because this democratically elected leader had told us that he wanted his country's natural resources to belong to his country and its people. So we had him killed. Killed by a man who, when he rose to power, put white officers in charge of black troops. These officers handed out very few bullets, for fear of mutiny. The troops were told that, for every bullet that they used, they must bring back a hand. The white officers were afraid that the black soldiers would hide the bullets, store them up, save them for a future mutiny. Many times, the black soldiers would shoot at a person and miss. The person might even get away. Then, the black soldiers would cut off someone's hand, to take back to the white officers to show them, say 'here. see? I used the bullet. here is the hand.' Sometimes it would be the hand of a child. Eventually, pictures were taken of a nation that had only one hand per person. A nation full of lopsided wraiths hip deep in mud, panning for gold for only 50 cents per day, gold which brought the butcher who ordered this collection of hands more than $50 million dollars per year.

"This was all in the time when our country was burning bras and wanting to drink from communal water fountains.

"When the bird finished her history report, she chirped three times, for some reason, and then flew away. I could not see where she went."

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