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May, 2003

Another Bogey Man Falls

   Like in a dream, the absurdity, surprise and bewilderment: our boys, sleep deprived and exhausted, weighed down in body armor and smothering clothing, each with his personal heavy machine gun sticking out, all complicit in robbery, vandalism and murder with aggravated violence. In a desperate hurry to get in and get out, get it over with and get home to mother. But the intense wanting will not get them there any sooner.
   The thud thud of detonations detonations with sleek silvery fighter bombers streaking, swishing dart-like across leaden skies over craters exhaling smoke. Old men arguing over how much is enough and how quick is quick enough, smiling, excited, enjoying a good fight as if watching two dark men in a ring smashing each other's face, beating each other senseless! 
   Old men posturing: words like "splendid" and "magnificent", words you never hear in ordinary life on the job, or on the unemployment line, or printed on a disability check. And after victory when the fast paced killing stops and something else starts, the chest puffing, head held high and chin jutting forward, the ecstatic cheers --- and the slow paced killing continues.
   You are told in so many ways that no matter how you feel, how sick to your stomach you are, you have to support the troops committing robbery and murder because if you don't, you are the one making things worse.
   "Yes, yes YOU!" and the voice goes up to a shout.
   We have to find and kill the bogey man you hear, but you know that the bogey man doesn't exist, and you know that no one can ever kill the bogey man under the bed and in the closet.
Jim Scanlon

 

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