Monday, September 21, 2015

Presents ii

A short note as Monday fills our
coffee cup and Autumn settles in.
The New York Times issued yet an-
other report yesterday, on an as-
pect of our war in Afghanistan
of which we must now all profess
amazement: our proxy's pederas-
tic spoils of military conduct.
Who can bear the wait for Con-
gressional proceedings, on such
useful unintended consequences?

In keeping with brevity, amaze-
ment in this context arises as
another vainglorious display of
poor breeding, yet more of the
exultant refusal of self-aware-
ness, which lies so conspicuous-
ly to conceal the facts of force.

Now we read of boys screaming in
the most privileged tents, of be-
ing chained full time to the fur-
niture of their exploitation, who
represent a mortal threat to the
witnessing, protesting knights
who wear our uniform.

                   The wind pours dust on us;
                   there is grit on my teeth,
                   I wake up with aching gums
                   and blood in my mouth. The
                   night is still, the moon 
                   is dark. I lie for a while
                   looking up into blackness,
                   then slide back into the

Of course we could have read the
Iliad, to sort these strands of
force's fabulous tapestry. We
could have read any of our sev-
eral million soldiers' diaries.
We're not alone in preserving
ignorance, as scrupulously as any
fanatic or barbarian we've met.
War is how we reconcile. Nausea
is its advocate.

J.M. Coetzee 
Waiting for the
Secker & Warburg, 1980
Penguin Books, 1982©

i  Andrei Tarkovsky
   Ivan's Childhood

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