War Wombs

We all had our purpose, it’s what keeps us up at night when it passes.

Ask anybody nowadays how they feel about children, the thought sickens them. Could you imagine? Splitting yourself open in service of someone else? Man, sperm donor? It all seems so foreign to this generation, so far off in the land of racism and dated platitudes. Meanwhile, we’re happy. We meant something to the rotation of the planet, kept the beds warm fighting our own wars at home.

I’d have a million children if I could. You start to forget the names you give them after six or so, it becomes a numbers game, little pieces of you roaming the countryside in the pain of war and precious jewels, they hardly care that they’re just barcodes. Service to the country matters whichever way you slice it, I was too blind to be a pilot and too uncoordinated to fire a rifle. The Doctors told me these were recessive genetics, offspring meant to be strong and virile.

Slightly looking like me, the facial structure, bones of the nose. Piercing eyes, those were distant from some relative i’ve never met before. Everything else belongs to the Country, their doing. I trust their judgement, i’m amazed at the advanced technology. You used to see this stuff in dystopia, in movies counting on some future that could be saved with the human spirit. Now it’s here, locked in bases kept protected from society, doled out in plane-loads over the Atlantic. I used to fight to keep at least one of them, but it wasn’t my job to save the vessels. It was my job to prepare them.

I’m infertile now but i’m considered a veteran. I’ve got a funny hat with marksman symbols on it, i’ve got a rank, i’m on disability. They can’t fit you with a new surgical womb, but they sure can stitch it up and make it look shiny brand new. Those trade arguments on the TV scare me sometimes, I know what level we can produce at now and it’ll pale in comparison to whatever the world can throw at us. I mean, just look at Africa. Their not even investing in the science and yet we’ll have formidable savage armies screaming elephants galloping down on the tanks when the fight inevitably spills into the Oasis. Left scrambling, we’ll outsource like we do all to Vietnam or China, in the prayer that they’re not against us too. Another element for the trade war, ship the soldiers in from overseas, boats and planes, secretive Coast Guards. War-games are sensitive, to tell the truth I hardly pay attention to foreign affairs. I believe only in what we’re doing, and the little part we all play even if we don’t participate.

There are those that live tragic, the fence-sitters. Have no purpose as they age out of possibility, born into the dirt these lost souls are. I thank God every day I was the right age, the right size, when they slowly tacked off every possible position for me except for the one I served. Back then it was called archaic, to be a breeding experiment.

Yet, without me and many others, our ranks would’ve dwindled to the death-wishes of bored eighteen year-old’s and Air Force rejects. Allow me some pride, we only raise the best.

Painfully Sedimental

My research could change the course of history, even if you never hear about it.

I can remember that I had years of waiting before I meant something to anybody. I was just putty for the machine, the earth, clumps of cells waiting for every force in the universe to dictate my existence. Classes and classes upon grades upon time, leaning out to the edge of the cliffs and wondering how long it would take to hit the ground, how long before your brain passes out from fear and your feet become burger.

Spend Christmases in the high tungsten glow of the overhead, tracing minerals between forceps and praying that one day God give us some better fossils in this dung heap. I haven’t cared for the holidays in years, it just reveals who likes to be frivolous with their time. True colors, you can’t spend your lives with these people, i’m willing to sacrifice the non-family life I had. This morning I found dirt, last night I found sand, other words for nothing. But I know it’s almost here for me.

Discovery, that one that’ll make me, put me in conferences with stuffy academics that understand this unfortunate struggle, this debilitating ethic that keeps us forever glued with our eyes to the ground in the caverns, we’re not mining managers but sick children, wishing on literal stones. There’s no money in fake dignified crystal, a necklace can’t change your outlook. It’s only a prayer of time, a testament to humanity’s false ability to explain the science, rationalize what needs not be understood with supposed magic and fortune-telling. This Wicca industry is mass-market wannabe-ism, everybody who actually spends time digging couldn’t care less what the stars have to say about our dreams.

Though I do admit I have some connection with the stones. If not for the mass, that way they caress and lightly scratch your palms when you thumb them. Texture has always been my high, I may as well be blind and my life would mean about the same. One time I used one to trace the skin of my vagina just to see what it would feel like. Bruises and abrasions aside, the effort was futile. Drunk curiosity is my only other sickening vice.

Sitting here at the edge again, watching the winds brush the sun-swept desert tundra, feeling nothing and tasting the lick of the Equator. The sun rising means work, the sun setting means sleep, the turning of the days are just more deadline pressure. I’ve stopped keeping calendars and relegate to tally marks and my underlings’ conversations. 

No longer concerned with the nonsense of monotony, one day i’ll earn my place in the pavement.

Weeknight in the Shithouse!

The State food was less milky, more savory.

Next to my stall cell the man soaked himself in last night’s piss, laughing maniacally with the hope that his restlessness splashed it on us during his sleep. Regardless, that yellow dehydration seemed pure into the back of your nostrils and caked onto your cornea. The dew drops of another captive morning.

Time stopped meaning something to me earlier than it was supposed to, I ran out of nail to claw tally-marks into the wall. My pencil lost its lead, it’ll probably be a fitting shank for the unaffiliated. It helps to have cousins registered in the system practically from birth. I don’t need to send my DNA to an Ancestry site to be scanned by the government: my whole family’s been in and out of these halls.

I’m on their schedule, this is the good life. Back at home i’d sleep the whole day if I didn’t have anything to do, i’d forget to brush my teeth — life sapped by me with the setting of the sun. Here, if I don’t fall in line, my ass gets beat beyond all living hell, rightfully so. Strict regimentation, enforced. That’s what this country needs. I read an hour, I eat an hour, I work out an hour. Fridays I usually get first crack at commissary, the generic chocolate bars we get access to usually taste better than the real thing. You stop seeing brands, you start feeling flavor.

Senses become interchangeable, all that time you used to spend thinking nothing about how things felt, now it’s all you have. The contours of my pillow are closer to me than the joy I used to feel around women, much easier to wrap your arms around and you won’t get a charge for it. My smell, like a rape memory, has been suppressed by the abuse of odor. Smells of the entire country encased, dereliction dirt. A few months in I learned to sleep like a baby, those groans and screams from down the hall you neglect in favor of your dreams. 

We’re in Purgatory, the lot of us. Cots on the floor, high ceilings, concrete cool. These open spaces let the air flow free, if you don’t brush your teeth and let your breath roam free you’ll wake up dickless. Few months at a time our Tank is full, no newbies. We become chummy, food gets traded under the table, an old Playboy here and there, sympathetic guards with bad habits get us some coke-derivative every once in a while. If not, we usually huff some bagged grill-spray. Higher than ketamine.

I bark like a dog when i’m threatened — nervous tick I got from Juvenile when I was younger. A couple kids tried to strangle me with a sweater thread in knitting class. People think you’re crazy, they let you have your way with them while they stare back at you in shock. Same shit with adults, any malformation of cholo-gangbanger. I reel them, they fear me. Being a six-foot five neo-nazi helps, but the harder you train your throat the deeper the death rasp. I’ve made ‘em cry.

I’m here so often, I forget why. Before they try to ship me off somewhere else, my charges get dropped, i’m back home where I have nothing. It’s only a matter of time to where i’m actually held responsible, but until then I lay in bed an extra five minutes and stare at the piece of dried gum in the ceiling tile. 

Someone here’s got Trident, and i’d suck for a chew.

O, Virginia!

A One-Act Drama

by Harvard Milk

The curtains rise as we see three old women dining in a McDonald’s on a cold Tuesday morning.

GINA, TINA, VIRGINIA, menopausal, once beautiful.

None of them are related, none of them were ever married. They’re all wearing clothing from the JUICY elderly line, loose-fitting sweatpants and track jackets. Very empowering and sexual.

They all have the same smoker’s rasp, though none of them ever smoked a day in their lives.

GINA: Oh girls, I have tan say, it’s been a lovely breakfast meal with you two… AS ALWAYS!

The girls all laugh heartily and roll their eyes. The laughs all turn into wheezes. They take turns hitting each other’s backs to get the air out.

TINA: Goodness gracious, one of my cataracts almost fell out! HA! Almost as bad as last year, when Rico Suave showed me the business end of his pretty pink Puerto Rican prickle-dickle!

VIRGINIA: Oh Tina, don’t even botha regalin’ us with ya fake tales of conquest. Dat one’s right outta da book ya bought on da airliner!

TINA hangs her head in shame.

TINA: Dat’s true… it’s been quite a few decades since my last boy-boy. They’re gettin’ so expensive to keep happy these days, ya can’t even get ‘em for pretty pennies anymore. What happened to this generation?!

GINA: It’s the dang liberals and their sexual revolution. Everybody’s too gay to have a fling with an experienced woman!

All the girls laugh and wheeze, hitting each other again. Gina laughs so hard she has to pull an oxygen bag from an airline out of her purse. She’s panting hard.

TINA: Gee-zoo, Gina! Ya gonna cough so hard ya last egg’s gonna fall out!

VIRGINIA: It’s ok, Tina! She can have all of mine!

Another round of laughter Gina laughs so hard she keels over and dies.

TINA: My goodness! Well, I suppose it was a mattah of time. Do ya think she has a will, Vahginia?

Virginia attempts to lick the end of her McFlurry spoon, but hard hands shake so hard she can’t get a scoop. She does this for approximately five minutes, as the ice cream keeps falling off.

TINA: Oh Vahginia! In the meantime you was lickin’ ya scooper, we coulda found out if we got her range rovah!

VIRGINIA: Oh pipe it, Tina! She didn’t have no family, no kids, not even a cat to eat her face! We might as well set the whole thing on fiya… give her a viking burial.

TINA: Oh that’s so exciting! Maybe… maybe we could buy some wine, put some Sinatra on the radio… yeah… send her to da grave proper! Whatdoyathink?!

Virginia finally gets a scoop of ice cream, so thick that she begins to choke on it, keels over, and dies as well.

Tina, at first reacting in shock, pulls out a rosary made of M&M’s from the middle of the McFlurry that killed Virginia and addresses the crowd.

TINA: There’s no justice fah a young single lady! We had our fun, we had our lives… travelled, had lovahs all ovah da woyld… but we got nothin left. This is why we spent all day at McDonald’s… we’d be with our families if we had ‘em… now… all I got is this candy. Candy… I can still chew.

Tina takes a single, shaky bite of the rosary. She keels over and dies.

A McDonald’s employee, a fat beautiful black woman, walks by.

EMPLOYEE: MMPF. I ain’t cleanin’ dat.

The crowd erupts into tears and laughter as the curtains fall.