A Journal of the War Years
"This is a phantom war and therefore in need of an anniversary." --Susan Sontag, The New York Times 9/10/02
Border skirmishes revealed a previously unknown enemy cell. They live in
trees and toss leaves at the troops. There is no defense to this new attack.
They tried to clear cut the trees, but the trees were stone. They brought in
jackhammers, and the trees were steel. We are hopeless beneath green.
Clocks and calendars have been illegal for some time. In the bunker we dug
with our hands, we watch the display flash 12:00.
Our leaders make many mistakes. Village A attacks, causing irreparable
damage. We respond by destroying Village B: decapitated children litter the
streets between burning buildings.
0/0/00 We exist as insignia. Every attribute has its mark: x's, o's, flowers, birds,
numbers. . . I wear a ram to show my astrological sign. Because I was born
under the God of War, my rations are doubled. Because I display no x and all
the wrong numbers, my rations are taken away.
The black market has choicer morsels. My connections are excellent. I must
remember to look hungry.
The military takes what it likes. Generals sit atop piles of former citizens
picking through the valuables: boats, candy bars, watches.
We are a country without a past.
I proclaim myself queen of the revolution.
I proclaim an amnesty I cannot enforce.
Cyanide pills and prefilled syringes of heroin are made available to the
"It is a pleasure to burn."
And we shall.
The elections have been postponed indefinitely.
There are new meanings to memorize:
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.
We are a country without a future
I have been captured and stand, unrepentant, before the tribunal. You are
charged with giving aid and comfort to the enemy, saying both loudly and under your
breath, that our Glorious Leader is an idiot, laughing in his handsome face. You have
told endless lies in forbidden languages. You are guilty.
I am guilty.
I am happy to martyr myself to the revolution.
My execution is set for 0 o'clock.
I must swallow the rose. I hold it in my mouth and toss leaves at their feet.
There is no defense
I am become leviathan.
I am become spirit and eyes.
I am become past, present, and future.