How to survive a war

There are many wars going on right now. The war against the virus, something so small we cannot see, something we can’t shoot, or blow up or defeat with brute force is the one that has consumed the world, taken many lives, and destroyed life as we know it, Jim. There are conventional wars between states and ideologies, like the one brewing with Russia and the Ukraine. I tell myself Putin is just sabre rattling testing Biden, but I don’t quite believe the lullabies I sing to get myself to sleep.

There are the wars against racism, still taking lives while those in power make excuses for the inexcusable loss of life. Me and God are not on great terms right now, but still I pray every day to keep my friends safe in the city. How can we live in a society where one expired tag, one cop with an attitude and a grudge can randomly take out our black brothers and sisters, destroying families, lives and communities with senseless acts of needless violence. I know my son longs for a car, to grow up a little bit more and drive, but there is nothing I want less than to see him behind a wheel, giving some traffic cop cause to stop him, rattle him, and blow him away when he reaches for his license. I tell him there is no need of cars in a city this small. He looks at me with an innocent face. It is time to temper the innocence with some straight talking.

There are wars between men and women, between biological based realities of violence and rape of women by men against psychic whims, unicorn wishes, and male annihilation of females. These wars are fought in letters and court-cases, in tests on the freedom of speech and bullying harassments of my sisters by men who seek to erase us. These are my sister’s wars. I am too tired to fight men any longer. I occasionally poke my head round the parapet to protest and huddle back down into writing things that please me, like Haiku and reviews of new Jagger songs.

These are not my wars, per se. I have my own private wars, like many of you do. Wars against past addictions, wars against poverty, wars for my own personal freedom. Little tiny personal private battles that mean so much to me, that mean life and death on a tiny personal scale of two people verses the entire world. My wars are against men who would use these bigger wars to destroy us – racists and women beaters, the world lurching from one disaster to another. The clock reads 30 seconds to midnight for us all, yet for me it is but a stroke. I am always existing in that click before destruction. I roll away from danger like Mario leaping a toadstool, but there is no second life, no redo, no save point respawn. I have no idea how I have survived.

How to survive personal wars? Run through life with the water-pot balanced on your head, full tilt at the gate, and leap without spilling a drop. Charge like a bison at an unwise tourist, shouting ten thousand fucking years at the top of your voice. Go over the top, bayonet fixed and run for the trench 50 yards ahead, then run for the one after that. Fight. Fight for all you are worth. Fight and live and love and exist in the precious moments of happiness and joy that life provides in the meantime. I exist for that balloon tied onto a little girl’s wrist fifteen years ago, her face breaking into wreathes of joy, bubbles of laughter to see Minnie bouncing around in the Tokyo air. I exist for a boat ride in Seattle, Boy and Girl’s faces squished up against mine, the cool wind blowing our hair. I exist for vegan blueberry grain free pancakes with sliced banana that the Boy whips up in the rice cooker we hide under the bed. I exist for “I know how hard it is, mom, I love you. We got this,” as we both stand and cry not knowing what to do next. I exist for love, and I refuse to roll over and cease existing.

We all have our personal wars, our battles big and little, vastly important for who we are as a species, and ones that like a precision bomb take out small areas of our lives in ways we never quite recover from.

We are all warriors in our own battles. I see you out there struggling and fighting. Never ever give in to the bastards! Keep on fighting the good fight…there really is no other better option.


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