a year in stories::five

Superbowl Sunday so probably no one will see this today, but the story of the week is now here. The novel’s been in a simmer since I went to DC. I’ve written about 8,000 words since returning but I’m hoping to get the entire first draft finished before AWP, which means I need to step up my game. Looking at about another 100,000 words, at least. If I can get a solid 220,000 words down as a rough draft, that should leave me in good shape for draft two, which will likely be closer to 300,000.

I’ve a few reviews I want to write today so hopefully I’ll get that done soon, then back to the novel tomorrow.

Anyrate, a story about whatever you want it to be. Not really, but I’d rather not put a label on it right now.

Our Future in Your Name

You burnt all the books in hopes of future. You told us, made us believe in your words:

creation through destruction

You said to abolish the past or no future will be made. You threw out our language, our songs, dances, our ceremonies. You called the past a milestone hung round the neck of progress. Your words convinced us, changed us–that pretty mouth, all those words.

You made it a creed, one we bought into. The god is now the future, too long has society clung to the past, to the gods of yore. Too long have outdated moralities governed our lives, held back our future. The present is a monument to the past and the past is a mausoleum for our future.

You told us. You said it all. All those words were yours.

And we did it. With these hands and thousands like them we turned the past to ash in hopes of a future made diamond bright but you never told us how diamonds were made.

We gathered the past, the instruments of control, the shackles of memory, all our collected histories. We tore down the monuments, razed the churches, the parliament, the castles. We took it apart brick by brick and poem by poem till all that we were was gathered before all who we were in thousands of plazas in thousands of cities like this one. And you said it then those words we’ll never forget:

burn burn burn

And we did. With torches and bombs we obliterated all that we were and when the new children came you told us to mention nothing of where they came from, of where we came from.

The new children were not ours but they became ours and with that becoming came a new hope as you promised. You promised and delivered these children without pasts, born only for our glorious future.

And when they used our words they were now different. Words without legends or histories–words without context. They spoke in our language but made it something new, original, uncontrollable. The language that once was ours became infected by them, by theirs, and then it spread from person to person, from city to city, until the language that was once ours became foreign in our mouths and we spoke but no longer knew the meaning.

You told us the words were made pure and could be redefined and the new definitions would be hope and progress, and we believed you. We listened to you.

And the children who were now ours were really yours. All the children were yours and your seed infected every house of this new country evolving in your vision. A country with only a future, a country founded on a dream and a dream looking always forward. And when the children were yours they took us and we became theirs without knowing.

And when they took us they met our open arms, our kisses, our gentle loving words. And when they shackled us and rewrote us we did not cry for mercy but rejoiced in absolution.

It was you. Always you.

And when it was you at our doors, at every door, in every window, in every frame, on every channel, on every screen, we rejoiced and praised you for you were the future and the future was god and you were god.

You were god and we were your disciples. We made you god and you told us it was right even when you shackled us we believed you knew best. Even when you began the purge that followed the pyre we trusted and believed. Your children rounded us up, all of us, and told us how to take ourselves apart, how to become free, truly and finally free, from the past.

We took us apart, one by one, limb by organ by skin.

We did it all in your name. All for you.

And you told us you loved us and now everything would be better. A new dawn was coming.

But when the sun rose we looked around at those of us left, those battered and bruised, limbless and bleeding, languageless but speaking. We looked around and in the new dawn of the new day we discovered a future not worth living in but certainly not worth dying for. And when we asked if we could go back you laughed and laughed.

Your children then ate us, one at a time, before our eyes. And we saw that your children were not like us, were not human, but were great monstrous things wearing our skins and smells to hide amongst us. And when the children, your children, ate us you told us we go now to peace, and we thanked you again, for the honor of service.

And with none of us left and the world beneath your iron heel we shall pray to your flag and your vision, your visage, all done in our name.

We will remember you. Even after death.