Rockstroh's response to yesterday's terrorist bombings in London which left more than 50 dead and over 700 injured.
THANK YOU, fellow murderers.
Before you made your return to us by way of the London Underground, our existence was beginning to get tiresomely complicated again.
In the late summer of 2001, you bestowed us with a simple, easy to follow story line — a tale so preposterous it even allowed a dullard, usurper prince to be perceived as a strutting warrior king.
Hopefully, once again, animus will replace equivocation. The stagnant air will crackle with talk radio alarums. Dull avenues of will blaze with torch-lit processions. The War God will be restored to his former glory and he will rouse us from introspective gloom. Self-doubt will dissolve. The inequities of life will fall away; we will all be made equal in our shared and sacred enmity towards you, our beloved mutual enemy.
I'm hopeful your return will bring back the "moral clarity" required to dispense with this tiresome complexity. Now, we can only pray that your latest blood offering upon the altar of meaningless death will restore our resolve to engage you in perpetual war.
Thank you for this gift, you dear murderous bastards. We do so need our hatred of you. You were generous to a fault in providing it for us — and we so hope you like the matching set of it we have sent to you in return.
As of late, I sit stuck in traffic, again feeling powerless, again racked with uncertainty; my car radio tuned, as ever, to A.M. talk radio — yet the old doubts kept returning… my hatred was growing as threadbare and tattered as the flag on my car's antenna. But now, upon the blessed event of your return, I'm again swooning with invigorating scorn.
Once again, they're playing our song, dear enemy, a soaring aria of blame and hate… Years back, listening to love songs used to cause me feel this way — immortal, connected to a larger and timeless order, an order greater than words, greater than mind-numbing jobs and passion-devouring obligations… But love fades, disappoints, betrays, becomes a burden, and itself becomes an obligation… But you, oh, you — you don't change — you're always there for me, just out of sight, just over the line of the horizon. You stay fixed in our constellation of contempt, unchanged in our cosmos of mutual loathing… Deep down, I never doubted that you would return — that you would be there when we needed you… Please don't ever change, don't leave us bereft, empty, again benumbed with self-doubt.
My dear enemy, I am compelled to keep you close to me, holding you as close as my secret wishes, as close as my hidden desires. Without you, my unfocused passions become a blinding glare; I'm nearly blind without the contrast provided by your abiding darkness. How else could I justify the prancing, self-possessed knight of my preening self regard without you? He has no reason to exist in a world devoid of the belief in dangerous dragons. As we know, dear enemy, knight and dragon are nothing without each other. My glinting armor would be simply clanking dead weight without the imminent threat of a fire-breathing, damsel-abducting menace to the safety of the Realm.
Of course, I must shield my gallant knight (as well as the rabble who dwell beyond the castle wall of my casuistry) from the knowledge of his mutual dependence on an evil-doing dragon. This is why you shouldn't stay away for so damn long: without the existence of monsters, this fight would seem so petty, so squalid, not at all worth its immense cost in squandered resources and spilled blood.
Yet, dear enemy, deep down, you and I both we realize, when measured against the scale of the universe, these sacred wars of ours are like the strivings of two scarab beetles who battle over a dried dollop of dung being played out against the backdrop of a vast desert, Yes, on some level, I suspect I am a damn fool: I am a dung beetle who dreams that I am the King of All Shit.
You see, without of you I am diminished. It is as if I crave the blood-drenched passions of our constant conflict because I am desperate to reclaim some lost aspect of myself… and if I could only conquer you — if I could somehow subdue and subsume you — thereby rendering you a part of me — then, at last, I could feel whole… I could be transformed from this confused fragment of a person who I have become.
My need to hate you seems to me to be a prayer for completeness, a desire to reconcile the irreconcilable, a mandate to merge heaven and earth, for the Armageddon of my divided self to yield to the surpassing peace of Kingdom Come. Or, at least, to provide a way for me to make it though the day and rest easier at night.
All those inane fantasies of the Antichrist and the End Time that have gained such currency as of late translate to this: "Oh Lord God above, won't you part the heavens, shake the earth, and save me from the Satanic grip of the petty tyrannies of my own mundane mind."
There have been moments, dear enemy, that you and I have met each other's gaze across the corpse-strewn battlefields of history and we have briefly glimpsed — not only the hidden loneliness of our own fragmented lives, but have recognized within each other — a boundless and ceaseless human longing for contact and communion — that we always fall short of attaining, because pride, pain, and fear have twisted the perennial yearnings of our hearts into the murderous intimacies of our endless wars.
Copyright © 2005 Phil Rockstroh