Battle Lantern

Angel holding the lantern and the sword that was used to cut the ear of Malchus, Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Battle Lantern [1]

The war witnessed the death of the witness, and the witness witnessed undying war. Because hidden meant resting in itself, revealed meant resting in us.

War planted a keening in the cold hard ground, and when it bloomed it seemed that for doves to dive through it, it had to be empty, had to be air.

Arguments about war became illusions concealing its existence.

You may eat with it. But that means you are eaten by it. And that means you become it.

Battle Lantern [2]

War is wise because it eats the marrow of the bones the light has broken.

Sometimes the ticking of the keening was quick, other times slow. The sea yielded the eyes by bringing attention to the area behind the attention.

If there had been no war, no reprisal, no variation, no revenge, then war would have been a wooden bridge, a rope to balance your driving, an acrobat of motion and rest.

If you place war’s lies so that they lie in different positions on your desk, you can point toward the vanishing points of each lie.

Battle Lantern [3]

I do not know whether the enemy was bodily or ghostly, whether the body was surgery’s map, or map’s surgery’s, whether pain’s source was light, or light’s pain’s.

If there had been no war for a person to enter, the war would not have come.

If the war would have come, we would have entered so that we could have left, but we would have wanted to stay.

Light refused to divorce itself from war, so war divorced the light. And we married darkness.

Battle Lantern [4]

Light was a door and war was a doorway of light through the darkness of war.

There is what happened. And there is how what happened) happened to each of us. But as one who it happened to) as one whose happened) happened to others: what we bound at home was loosed at war, and what we bound at war was loosed at home.

War built a mouth-shaped tomb so it could be fed bodies. Some said the tomb should have been built stronger, or more elaborately. Some said it shouldn’t have been built at all. Some worshipped the tomb. Some wanted to clone it. Some wanted you to worship the fact that they worshiped themselves because they weren’t clones.

Battle Lantern [5]

There was a repeat keening. The keening was repeating. As though the mind’s technological extensions might collapse and, in a state of anguish, cling to the trunk of mortal conditions.

War’s gears were roots, clutching themselves, contending for balance like wrestlers in the clinch.

Some say wisdom gave birth to the death of war. Some say death gave birth to the illusion that war could give birth. Some say illusion gave birth to the wisdom that war could give birth to anything but death.

Battle Lantern [6]

War was the brightness of the hunger for it. War was brightnesshunger.

Light was terror. Light was cankered with bullet holes: close enough to ignore, far enough away to cry out for.

Some say war gestated wisdom in the womb of death. Some say wisdom raised death in the shadow of war. Some say anything but wisdom would give birth to the illusion that war could give birth to anything but death.

Battle Lantern [7]

War’s lies assumed the shape of actualities. War’s actualities had the advantage of appearing to be the means by which reality and means became actual.

Because the tombs were for bodies, the bodies were for war.

Some were asked too much of; it seemed their journey was a journey of doors, each one deadly, each one walked through.

The slower they moved, the further they went into the body, but the body went no further.

Battle Lantern [8]

Light is warless until it meets with terror. Then it will not retreat.

War built freedom’s theater: inside you could watch the foreman with his pigknife open the waves, between which were valleys, and valleys between those valleys, for they were folded, creased like veils.

If the past you flash back to is the present of the flashback you are in, it can become difficult to describe certain dimensions of the keen tinnitus: the fluorescent key dimension, the blunt crescent of the golden apple dimension, the spruce of the rubbery war salad dimension, the movement of any given nervous giggler’s adam’s apple dimension, the opal wake dimension, the muscle-red eye in the moon’s eye dimension.

Battle Lantern [9]

In the valleys, we encountered island shaped lambs, grazing in the waves. From source to load we travelled, learning to relax in the presence of a spinning that did not move forward until the egg we woke up inside of replaced the sun as the source of wind.

War’s turbine compressed the sea into pinches, tumors called waves, each performing and exposing the performance of imperial numbness, which we were numb to.

I thought I had better lean into the fluorescence, the keening. I thought fasting eased the intensity. I thought intensity was easy, and ease was gladness.

Whoever burns this map will be extinguished by fire. Whoever extinguishes this fire will be wrapped in this burning map.

Battle Lantern [10]

Our bodily enemies were windmills, our ghostly enemies wind. r.

You could either hide your brightnesshunger or not let it shine. And when it shined it exposed the keening, so that the fluorescence of it returned, remaining as constant reminder that war possessed two truths: the truth it fashioned lies from, and the lies it fashioned from truth.

War has celestial realities, saltings that skim the bodies of sea-creatures, rub their icicle-rib armor, their herniated beaks, their pendulous eyes, their windbreaker claws.

Death produced war. War produced people. War put the people in charge of putting other people in charge of war. People put the people who were in charge of war to death. Then death brought war back to life so that the ghosts of the people who had died could be deployed to war.

Twenty years later I feel as if I were missing something I didn’t know I didn’t have until it was gone. I always blame the children. And when I discover I am wrong. And I always am. I pour my blame down the sink. Leaving no trace.