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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Notes from a Field Journal Discovered in the No-Man’s Land

I am startled awake by the sound of shattered glass and I didn’t realize I had dozed off. Again. I dozed off again. My eyes are thick and slow to focus, so I wipe them with my muddy hands. It doesn’t help – but everything is out of focus here in the mist, and fog, and smoke, and drizzle. Glass shatters again. Someone is shouting. I am awake. At least, I think I am awake. Sleep is deceptive and I sometimes shout at my dreams.

There are dead men everywhere. Dead men and horses. Musicians. Shepherds, Statesmen. All dead. Still I take no pleasure in the death of an enemy. I wear no frogged jacket, no iron cross, no flag pin, no medallions of bravery for country or for king.

The fields are wide and stretching into forever. They are unfurrowed, but torn ragged. They are unfenced. Why bother? No one wanders here except for me – but if that is true, then who is shouting and smashing windows? Am I dozing off again? Dreaming?  I hear voices and think, “That’s not me.” I want no phone conversation, no orchestra, no Russian choir – only silence as October and November disappear into the eternal, horizonless fog.

Three things this afternoon (this evening?)
1) The bridge is out – sappers took it out with explosive and with axes. 2) Machine gun units are pulled into place by scrawny dogs. 3) The river foams with blood. And though these three are not unrelated, I cannot find the connective tissue between them.

She has something in her eyes, but it isn’t me.

The basement is cold and dark, and burnt books provide no light, no fuel, no warmth.  The basement is cold, but it’s where I sleep – with the lights turned off dark is dark. Who’s to notice the ragged edges of my blanket, or my träumerei screaming? If the lights are out, shouldn’t the danger be gone? Who is shouting?

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Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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