Nomad Ink

Saturday, November 11, 2006

veteran's day

Veteran of grief, loss, writing, teaching, dieting, used clothing store and yard sale shopping, hair growth and hair loss, the 60s, the 70s, New England girls' school, and that's it for now. i haven't earned any medals for any of it, i don't do any of it best of all the people who do it, or the most of everyone who does or experiences these things, i'm just a footsoldier in the wars of experience. bush laid a wreath at the grave of the "unknowns." a chilling phrase. the loneliness of dying on a battlefield –or anywhere –and not having an identity that can be traced to a mother, a child, a relative or friend...i remember seeing the monument to the unknown soldier at Arlington Cemetery as a child when my family took a trip to New York and DC, and my father told me that the flame burned eternally there. I was touched and haunted by that image, and the awe and respect in his voice (one didn't hear that often) but had no idea what that kind of loneliness was until now that i'm older and can fathom such a thing. I remember walking down some creepy commercial part of San Francisco with Ed Cohen in grad school, after seeing a bad movie (an inferior French knock-off of "My Life as a Dog") and passing a homeless man on the street; he was sitting on an overturned box; didn't look that old actually, had longish hair that was still discernibly blond, but his face was ravaged. "I'm dead," he said. "I've been a dead man for years." That was what, over 20 years ago now. It comes back periodically. He's an unknown soldier in the wars of experience, my memory of him is the light that will never burn out, now that i've written this and maybe someone will see it hurtling alone and bereft thru cyberspace, jostling all the other messages and ephemera that rise and fade by the millions every day.
My father was a veteran tho' he never saw action. So i think of him and the things about me that are him-ish. Voice, facial structure, values, grayblue eyes, broad hips. Ah, maybe he knows i am writing about him. Finally got to read Persepolis last night what a treat. I am happy that such talent and intelligence exists in the world, and such powerful witnessing.


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