A Story for Charlie Horman

History is a sheet of ice that slowly descends the mountain.  The grinding silence crushes everything.  America is a great nation and we celebrate like young girls spinning on white slippers before frozen faces that cannot see.  Our security is indifference.  Our incurious laughter is enough to build great cities.  We have blinded the best eyes, marched into the senses without fear, and covered the starlight with buckets of sick earth, worms, and blood.

Victims do not need tickets.  They live inside cold walls or beneath the surface, always traveling down, through the cracks, toward the base; dejected they seep, carried along by the opaque milk of bitterness; pushed by the weight of ice, squeezed into the density of days without even the sound of memory.

Yet, some do remember.  In the back, they stand upon banana crates or high in the balcony where the seats are as stale as coffin cloth.  They study the abyss, with circles of lamps, and pointed shoes taken from piles dumped on the roadside.  They are the readers of the ice.  The ones who can still see into the distance and they wait their turn for a knife flying through the air.  They understand far better than all the girls in white shoes; the ones who pirouette with delicate hands and move across the red stage to the music of dollars stacked in the storefront of America.

We must wrap ourselves in the grey, weeping skin.  It is like a paper voice from a dry book written by stick men.  It is like volcanic sand filling our fingers and throats.  We must listen and feel as it speaks names: Gao Vue.  You do not know him.  He was obliterated by a land mine on a jungle trail.  Colel of the Lake: she was raped and her intestines left on the ground.  You do not know her.  Napoleon: he was shot against the hospital wall and left for the wild dogs.  You do not know him.  Milton: he was beaten to death on a military base while hanging from a metal pipe.  You do not know him.

They are the names spoken by the paper voice; they are the volcanic sand in swollen fingers and gagging mouths.  They are the ones in the graffiti upon the ministry gate and in the rocks thrown through crystal windows.  They are the traces, ground into nothingness for the indifferent; for the incurious; for the girls in ballet shoes, turning round and round, showing the perfection of America and diminishing the terrible history of ice.



3 thoughts on “A Story for Charlie Horman

  1. Very moving post. I love the prose, as usual. Trying to see what the metaphor in it meant for me. What I got out of it is that we do a lot of pretending, we’ve done a lot of bad things, and still we keep our head in the sand too.


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