Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Do you even know who I am?

Perhaps I should introduce myself.

My name is Kevin Diebold. I don't generally use my first name, though. Only good friends and family are really allowed to. I don't know why, but it's been that way since middle school. I just prefer the distance that one maintains when using the last name. It's a way of keeping people out of my way, where I want them.

I am 19. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------. When I was a few years younger, I was heavily interested and involved in leftist politics-I saw it as a way to spark change in my country. When I was 16 or 17, though, I realized that it was very difficult to reconcile my intense love for my country and the ideals that fathered it and the organizations and individuals, both on the left and right, that so vocally champion said ideals. I think once you've been inside, or even regularly exposed to any group with strong political motivations and aspirations, you are granted a sort of x-ray vision-one that allows you to, with superhuman precision and clarity, see and eventually sort out the bullshit that is being pumped, spouted, and spewed at and around you. And so, I am no longer interested in politics, unless it directly involves me and my family. It rarely does- we are simply crushed by the detritus, like so many other Americans. And so, I have no politics- I am simply fed up, and too tired to do anything about it.

I am in the military. My love for America, no matter how fucked up, my need for independence, and my desire to serve led me first to the Army(who wouldn't have me), then the Navy. It took me about 6 months after graduating boot camp to become completely and totally disillusioned. It still startles me sometimes, the admiration people have for those of us in the military. We are viewed as heroes, as freedom's guardians, and I believe that is true for a a small minority, those who are motived, either by ideal or by self-preservation, to go above and beyond. But for the ten percent who make up the proud and skilfull, the dedicated and steadfast, there still remains a surplus of shitbags, ignorant, arrogant young men and women with a smug sense of entitlement who use the military as an elaborate and reliable system of welfare, who imagine themselves to be gangsters and pimps beholden to no one, not even the iron claws of the mighty Navy. Ultimately, they are disharged, less than honorably, and we who remain are left with the mess.

I guess I fall into the ten percent, but only because of my hatred of the ninety percent. Or maybe I'm just average, the last average serviceman, not exceeding by any great amount, but still somewhat dedicated, easily tricked into staying late and showing up early. I guess that's it. I just don't want to see myself as a shitbag.

It is just too easy to fail, and so hard to achieve, especially in the military, where the cream rises ever so slowly, while the crap is on the fast float to the top of the mug.

I have a girlfriend, whom I love dearly, madly, etc. I also have a child on the way, and I couldn't be happier, and, at the same time, more anxious. Already, my kid is antisocial, silently and unobtrusively developing in the womb, sucking it's thumb and generally making nice with mom and me. I worry, often and intensively, about my future, and by extension, my child's future. I have no degree, and the structure of today's economy, culture, and society makes my getting one a dim dream at best. I desperately fear poverty, and I don't want to join the ranks of Americans who work their asses off, sixty-odd hours a week, for peasant wages. It always bothers me that those of us who work the hardest, rising at two or three in the morning to haul our asses to the shipyards and machine shops and garages and trainyards and piers of this great nation, are paid so miserably for our efforts. But I am too tired to do anything about it, except to rise before dawn every day and get on the bus to go to work. And I suppose it will be like this for many years, until some silver bullet presents itself and I am saved. Or I die. Whichever comes first.

It didn't have to be like this, I guess, and it don't have to stay that way, either. But I am so tired of everything, especially the ever present bullshit, which permeates everything. It is a constant frustration, a never-ending series of plans gone awry and things just not working the way they were intended to, systems devouring themselves and taking their workforces with them, and it make me mad. But not mad enough to do anyhting about it, except clock in at 5 am and clock out at 4 pm.

It's probably my fault, a long series of small, misguided decisions that started with me shaving my head nine years ago and continuing on, leaving me lying here, in a cold bed, under the eyes of rank after rank of meddlesome, useless persons who got it right and won't help me get unfucked.

That is me. That is who I am. And that is how I will remain.

Oh well. Everything will end or change, eventually.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

even wolves hid their teeth

ci muoviami come i fantasmi
come i giovani silenziosi,
denominati soldati
e noi muoia come glie che si sbiad
senza majestico.

My Italian is horrible. My English is suffering, too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I am standing in a place that is bordered on three sides. Behind me is a birch forest. I cannot see it, but I know it is very deep. To my right is a small village, decrepit. The houses are made with clay and driftwood from a very distant shore, painted white. The roofs are made of birch slats that are bloated, morbid with rainwater. The windows are covered, permanently, with timber and rotted rags. The chimney are crooked, or they have fallen over, or they were never there in the first place. Dark green things grow in the streets, rich forest loam converging on the hard-packed dirt. The things have a smell, a moist mushroom on a dark morning. It coats the nostrils and throat. The smell makes me sick. I hate the smells of rain.

In front of me is a small hill, not even a hill. The wind has dried this hill, and the grasses are bright green, robust. The wind makes them dance, and they sing in rustle. Flowers shelter in their midst. There is no smell, only sound and breeze. To my right is soft white sand. I can see it, and it stretches forever, leading me to places I do not want to see anymore, places where the sounds were so loud and harch, they became soft, and my ears were weak with the ringing. In this place, everything is seen through sounds. The eyes find everything offensive here, the bright luminescent flash of grenades melting the color out of the streets and buildings, until everything became dun, tan, and white. Everything is covered with thin, gritty dust. It makes everything hopeless. Everything is unhappy. Animals low and shriek-they are always dying, blood pouring from beggin eyes and pleading mouths. The bones of horses lie in splinters everywhere, and camel's teeth sit in the road. The dust turns the blood brown. Everything is dun, tan, white, and brown. I couldn't hear footsteps, and so I never knew if we were running or walking. We ran, until running became walking. We hung our heads, to avoid seeing. And even then, the ground taunted us, with sand and offal.

I will climb over the hill. And I do.

Behind this hill is a beautiful city, medieval, bright red and deep brown houses leaning together, the roofs made of stone and tile and wood. The streets were cobblestone, crooked and ancient, refelcting the setting sun at their crowns. Trees struggled upward, between houses and next to statues, displacing the cobble and wending around the stone. Church spires shot into the sky, spearing the clouds and lacerating the smoke that blew through the skies. Beyond the city lay the ocean, and I knew it was the deepest ocean ever. It was the place were the salt water met the sweet, that if I sailed far enough into it's expanse, I would find something to make the world beautiful. I turned to look at the wood behind me, the village, and finally, the desert. My heart was glad.

I returned my eyes to the city, and it was in silent flames. The night became red as it crumbled upon itself, a pile of embers by the sea.

The village rotted into nothing, the roofs splayed out on the foul mud. The rags had rotted away, and broken jugs lay in the streets.

The forest was dark, unspeakably dark, the birches sick, bent with disease and dying.

So I returned to the desert, where all water tastes of blood and sweat, where we are blind and deaf and tired, marching on and on on our feet, cracked and swollen and too infected to bleed. And I remained there.