Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Sometimes Impossible is Only What You Cannot Believe

The first recorded image of an Okapi is from a fa├žade

of the Apadana of Perseoplis, 5th Century B.C.E.,

even though the Western world, refused to believe

in it until the late 1800s. It wasn't like Okapi existed

to a greater extent after that, anymore than it didn't

through all those years of being hidden away from view.

May 10, 1970 is far from 1887, just as the Congo is

from 5th Century Persepolis. But strange creatures do whatever

is necessary to exist across distances of disbelief. I did not ever

have an interest is sports as a kid, my imagination explored

different heroes. But a young boy in America in the 1960s

who didn't like sports as much as breathing was... unknown.

I knew my adopted father felt this way. So I tried my best

to show fake interest that looked real, like he did with me.

So, there I was at that epic moment in History, the last game 

of the 1970s Stanley Cup Finals, and Bobby Orr made flying

real for long enough to place the winning goal. So excited

to see my father be proud of someone, I wanted a taste of that.

I blurted, "That was as impossible as they used to thing Okapi

was!" His face fell. He looked at me, had no idea what I was.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Another War at End

 When the rest of the world moved on in 1945, Hiroo Onoda did not

know the war was over. He was given supplies and ammunition, 

and this final instruction: Defend Lubang Island. Keep a close eye

on the American forces. Do this until you hear orders otherwise

that come directly from me. With that his commanding officer,

Major Taniguchi, left him behind with this one last job to carry out.

And Lt. Onada did that one job and for thirty years he didn't know

that WWII was long over, and he didn't have to fight anymore.

Every time I have a drinking dream, I think about Lt. Onada.

It's funny how the human mind works, but I have one brain cell, 

at least, dedicated to recalling his name and story. I'm not upset 

by the drinking dreams, because they are dreams and do not count

as relapses in the real world; and it's because another braincell,

obviously, was ordered once to watch guard over a vital pipeline,

to make sure I had a uninterrupted supply of alcohol always, always

available, should it ever be needed and it always was, every day.

Like Onada, it clings to the last order it was given, to make sense

of a changing world that forgot it, by refusing to give up the fight.

When outsiders came to Lubang, he fired at them, the war still on

as far as he knew. They had to fly the retired Major Taniguichi in

so Lt. Onada could hear it from him directly. Onada handed over

his sword, his Arisaka rifle, and a dagger his mother gave him

to use, should he be captured. But he never was. He surrendered

instead, with no shame. It was 1974. His long war was at last over.

And on the mornings, when I've finally shaken off the false shame

of a dream drink that never happened, I tell that braincell Thank you,

you had one job and you did it well, but now it is time for you to stop

fighting, to leave the pipeline to run dry, and to come back home.