Sign of the Times

Bin Freund, Und Komme Nicht Zu Strafen

I've been busy and staying away from online things.
Not true. I've been very much involved in online things.
But they're things I've been building.

A new website for ChiZine Publications
A turnaround for the Kingston Archery Club
The voting process for the Copper Cylinder Award

It's all coming to an end this week.
And I can get back to writing as my main creative outlet.
Which I've been missing.

But a lot of things are coming to an end.
I'm actively pursuing the process of closing down the NGO consultancy.
And moving on to other things.
As soon as I find them.

Death is a kindly tarot card; Not Euminides kindly,
Like a terror you call kindly out of fear
But kindly all the same. It's the card of natural change:
All goodbyes are long ones.
Husks need husking, fields need clearing.
That's what the reaper is for.

Sudden death is the terrifying one; unnatural death
The Tower is the card that signifies that, and its symbol
Is a tower falling from lightning:
Fire from the sky.

Death used to be with us more often;
Stalked the wee hours, wandered around outside,
Hacking and spitting,
Showing up in a stranger's face like a promise,
Walking arm-in-arm with your grandmother.

We were more used to him, then,
I think, and it reminded us of how short and precious life is.

People think children shouldn't know about death. I had beers
With a friend of ours yesterday, and she said how one child,
Whenever a pet died—a mouse, a hamster, a cat, etc...
He would be taken to the pet cemetery and on returning:
There was a new pet waiting!
And later, even though he was ten or something like that
When his mother died, he expected to find a new one
At home after the funeral.

We value children in a perverse way like that, I find.
I remember being one, and they're not so special.
Definitely not innocent, or kind, or pure...
But not the opposite either. Just more ignorant.

Death is a good teacher of children.
Because just as we need youthful exuberance to buoy life along,
We need to temper it when it pushes too hard.

I notice, emerging at last from my basement,
That the three great colonial powers of the Levant
After two years of ignoring the Syrian civil war
Have started to flood their news channels
With imagery of what is happening to the CHILDREN.
Because somehow, because CHILDREN are suffering,
The war is more real, more brutal.
As if they weren't suffering before.

Someone wants this war.
I don't know who.
But I know that it's someone who does not dance with death.
Who is unfamiliar with death.
Someone who doesn't know the difference between Death and the Tower.
I suspect that someone is most of us.
It's how we were raised.

In Boston, one of the few of you I met in person was asakiyume.
Following up to that, she sent the most marvellous card.
Let me show it to you:

Isn't it marvellous? It's the angel of death on TV.
Driving a car.
Taking out the garbage.

It's a familiar death, and
When I say familiar, I mean in the same way as "family".
Death walks among families on the good days.
Death comes from above on the bad days.
Both to children and old ladies.

There's a man called McCain who wants this war.
He trained long and hard to deliver death from above.
Apparently he was good at it.
And thinks we should continue to deliver death that way.

Where it is far away from what we see.
Just a dot on a TV screen, blurry in infrared.

I haven't followed up on the trip to Boston.
Partly because we had one of those small deaths from above
And have probably lost our chance to have a family at this point.
But it was a small death. Not unexpected, and far from the first.

But it stings in a place where I can't even reach consciously,
Because I have no idea of what it's like to be a parent.
And probably never will.

But better this than to have a child and lose it.
By someone who thinks they are delivering justice
To someone you have never met.

Think on that before supporting "justice" from the sky, please.
Yes, you, too, John.