TJ (17th June 1958 / England)

X-Station-Box Generation 2: Sewing The Wind

[Reader: if you have not done so, please read 'X-Station-Box Generation' first. Thanks.]

Every slug of lead bulldozing its girth through soft tissue,
Every pressure-pad mine erupting to separate sole from soul,
Every bomb-blast concussion wave
Crashing its super-power through internal organs,
Every laser-guided, precision excision,
‘Taking out’ its target......

... in their world they all add up to a competitive gore-score:
Points making prizes as if in a sick version
Of a seventies, Saturday-night game-show
Hosted by some faded, sometime almost-star:
“184 dead,376 maimed and injured:
Lance-Corporal Jones, your score entitles you to......
[Pause for effect and Foley Artist-faked, audience-excitement noises]: -
• A medal,
• The personal use of no less than two ‘comfort girls’ for a week’s R&R,
• A promotion to sergeant
• 24 hour air support for your next-level mission
[Pause for applause]
• Of course, never forgetting this show’s fabulous helmet-mounted webcam so you can stream every second and shot of your next battle direct to your beloved at home in 10 megapixel, full-colour, digital surround-sound quality: It’ll be....
[altogether audience...! ]

The Next Best Thing to Being on the Battlefield!

In my world there is a worried wife who hasn’t seen you for months on end,
Who can’t pick up the phone or answer the door for fear;
Who can’t sleep without the nightmare of your nightmare gnawing at her soul;
Whose love and lips can tremble but can’t touch, comfort or be comforted;
Who has to be strong when there is no strength to be had,
Who hopes to recognise your heart when you come home
From a world that might never quite release you to be the you she knew.

In my world there’s a wife with no news,
Crushed hopes and dreams,
No body to bury,
No grave to weep over
And no words for her young son and daughter.

Children who will remember their childhood only with pain
[If their poor battered minds (closed to protect them) permit them ever to remember anything]
Children with stolen youth and no parental hand in loving guidance,
Nothing normal,
Nothing safe,
Little or nothing human, like compassion, to enfold them,
No-one to say: “It’s alright”, and just hold them.

Then there’s ‘collateral damage’ -
Kids killed or maimed by the long-left mines of political and military expediency
Consigned to a future of impossibility and impoverished opportunity.
The months in agony, the years spent scratching painful itches in limbs long-lost.
Sightless sockets never to be reconstructed,
Groping blindly in a loud and dangerous darkness for some sort of hold on life.
Children inches shorter than the guns thrust upon them
Forced to fire upon friends and family to prove a misplaced gun-gang-loyalty,
Scared, scarred to the soul and dead to the domain of feeling.

Women and girls escaping machete and bullet
Only to be subjected to repeated rape as a human weapon in an ethnic, inhuman war:
Condemned to carry a child, conceived not in shared love and longing,
But in hate and despite of all that is sacred to life.
How does she feel about such a child brought to term –
Can she ever see him and come to love him
In such a way to cancel out his innocent living representation
Of the result of her own private hell and violation?
Some do,
Though God alone knows from whence comes the unaccountable grace so to do.
Some don’t I guess,
And I don’t pretend I can even begin write their agony or story.

Our kids don’t see any of this on the other side of their trigger-happy, war-game play.
I’m sure the manufacturers and retailers would claim they are ‘far too young’.
Not too young to kill at will, to murder and slaughter at distance, mind:
Just too damn young to have to see or understand the consequences of their actions
And feel the blood on their hands and heads.
After all, that might spoil their fun, mightn’t it?
And we can’t have that, now can we?

First sew the wind........................

by Tony Jolley

Comments (1)

Fantastic post scriptum to 'X-station-box generation'. I can only reiterate what I have already said..... but it's OKAY! ! ! I'm not going to do so. But I will say this. I think these two important and uncomfortably honest writes are your 'finest hour' thus far. Brilliant!