Thursday, September 11, 2008

On that day

we drank grief.

We drank rage.

We took long pulls off that dark bottle marked Vengeance, and toasted with tears the memories of those who had been murdered by monsters.

But now, seven years later, some of us just stay drunk all the time.

They stay drunk because as hard as they try to block it out with dusty flags taped to their windows with bumper stickers, the murky light leaking in from reality is just enough to limn the lumpy, jagged outlines of disaster.

Just enough to show the rot.

The splinters of once beautiful values, now smashed.

The tatters on the wall where a magnificent Constitution used to hang.

The empty spaces where the future used to be, now hocked to pay for imperial catastrophes and domestic failures.

The piles of debt everywhere, like snowdrifts at twilight.

They can hear the skittery toenails and see the glittery eyes of the scavengers and parasites they have let roam unchecked through our great nation.

They can make out the faint, terrifying roars and bloodthirsty giggles coming from the pitch-black back rooms; the gibbering of the leering maniacs they invited in because they were such wild, psychotic, brownshirted fun to have around when the Party was at its orgiastic peak.

They stay drunk to block out the smell of blood. Old blood. Fresh blood. Clotted blood.

Blood on their hands, from the night before. Or was it a year ago? Or five?

From a time when they were furies flush with cash and righteousness, and the thought of blood was like hot wine.

When they were omnipotent Titans ready to torture and slaughter half the world, and then laugh and drink and piss on the bones because they knew God loved them and would forgive them anything.

But all of that was from some age long past, now only vaguely remembered in strobing, fever-dream flashes.

In the here-and-now someone has been pounding on the door. Pounding and shouting at them for what seems like a very long time. First telling them the stink from their place was making everyone sick. That their beautiful home had become a fire trap.

And a crack-house.

A sty.

And an open grave.

Then the shouters said there was a leak. A leak in the gas line.

And, finally, that the place is on fire.

Fire! Fire! Wake the fuck up! You are burning alive!

The pounding and the yelling go on and on and, Jesus, can’t those stupid fucking hippies give it a rest already!

They muster one, last, braying "Shaaaaaaadaaaaaaap!" and fall back into their polluted cups, feeling just a tickle of that bloodlusting frenzy of old, and in that fleeting moment they are Alexander again, eyes squeezed shut, wallowing in the warm, brown embrace of their own filth.

In that moment there is nothing left in the whole wide world to conquer but the badgering light that keeps slithering in past the flags and the slogans.

In that moment the only coalition partner left is the bottle, which they would lift once more to their lips except the rats have gotten bold enough to begin biting their swollen fingers.

And the madmen they once let crash in the back room now rule over them, laughing and razoring out their pockets looking for the last of their loose change.

Whispering that after the money runs out they will come for their flesh.

They stay drunk because then maybe it won't hurt so much when their hearts are carved out.

They stay drunk because now that it's they who are being readied for the axe, the smell of blood is no longer intoxicating.


Steve Muhlberger said...


Malacandra said...

You outdid yourself today. I'm speechless.

US Blues said...

Gave me the chills.

Drifty's Mom said...

Everyday you are stunning, everyday you outdo yourself, everyday you give me the chills, and everyday I am so very, very proud and honored to call you son.

Rhode Island Rules said...

The monsters among us are Bush and especially Cheney who conveniently was playing war games and having NORAD stand down on the same day that represents emergency in this country (9-1-1) planned by people who live in a cave, when there were no hijackings of American planes since the 1970's, all of a sudden there were 3, or 4?

Serving Patriot said...





Mr.Shemp said...

Driftglass, jesus christ.

Gilly is proud of you, my friend. Very proud.

Keep it up, brother. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I wanna call you my son too.

Anonymous said...

One of your best ever . . .

I bow to yer wow . . .

Truly a work of heart and art.

You bad, hoss.

darkblack said...

'Driftglass - Come for the articles, stay for the pictures'


Anonymous said...

Highly Evolved Wordsmith.

Gut-wrenching words that reach right in and pull out the innards and the offal.

You are a master at this, Driftglass. Kudos.

BUT No More Drinking for Us. Gotta keep the mind clear. The axes sharpened.

As the Hopi say:

We are the people we have been waiting for.

Essaywhuman said...

Amazing writing. You amaze me every time I come to your blog. As someone who has tried to write, your incisiveness and stunning insights into the human mind and condition are things I aspire to.

Dave Dubya said...

And if drinking into numbness is not bad enough, we still have a quarter of the country drinking the vile hullucinogen of death and darkness in the neocon koolade.

The fact that the neocons have not been publicly disgraced and banished from our politics is the mark of national shame.

The corporate media STLL allow the Evil Order of Humanity's Destruction to spew their toxic swill into our homes.

rotten mcdonald said...

an amazing, pretty way to describe appalling ugliness.

Baruch Grazer said...

Whew. A letter from Mr. Burroughs, return address "Interzone." Damn, DG.

lostnacfgop said...


Michael Hart said...

The image alone is beyond stunning.
But the words. . . in toto. . .


Like. . .

When they've taken all your money
and they come back for your cloths
When your hands are full of thorns
but you can't stop groping for the rose

When the preacher lays his insight down
and claims to lead the blind
When those you trust just get you hooked
and trifle with your mind

When the nightmare's creeping closer
and your wheels are in the mud
When everything's ambiguous
except the taste of blood
—Bruce Cockburn

Anonymous said...

Drifty, it was SO good I had to cut and paste it to another facist music blog. I hope you don't mind.

Anyhoots, here is the link to where I pasted, and you are going to be SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you, at the comments and responses . . . .

PS: Tan says I done good by ya . . . again, if I shoulda asked permission prior to cut and pasting, please let me know . .

Caoimhin Laochdha said...

You give words to one of my worst nightmares. I can't express how well.

Suzan said...

So, you have a Mom (and a Dad?).

And here I was thinking you had sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus.

Just saying.

Dg, glass full - overflowing (as usual).






IGotYerBlog said...

Way to go, Drifty!

That bluegrass site, wow, what a bunch of Dueling Inbreds. Too bad, because I don't actually hate that music, it's pleasant and in some cases technically interesting, so maybe it's not the fault of bluegrass.

Maybe it's just that, as one of DG's fellow bloggers has put it, "America is filthy with fools."

Rehctaw said...

Gilly is smiling that big ass smile.

Wordsmith. Sipper of smooth single-malt and cutter-through-of- bullshit of the first order.

Linked, trumpeted and archived for posterity.

I owe you another bottle.

JPsy said...

Sir Drift,

If Rude Pundit is the fire axe, and James Wolcott is the scalpel, you're definitely the Ginsu knife of righteous outrage polemic.

Duly saluted.

justme said...

Jesus, drifty. Just wow.

I don't come by for a few days, and see what I miss?

PhysioProf said...

Dude, that really was chilling. Unbelieveable.

jim said...


The question is, can this be stopped now? Or do you have to jump off the runaway train before it truly jumps the trestle & plummets into the abyss?

I'm watching all this from Canada & thinking that if the bad guys steal the brass ring again in November, we'll likely be seeing a LOT of new faces up here in short order.

Good luck.

Mr.Natural said...

Right on Jim. Canada, New Zealand, Iceland, any number of places actually treat their citizens and the space they take up on this the only garden planet with respect.

Drifty, I truly feel sorry for those poor souls who cannot enjoy your artistry.

nunya said...

Stunningly accurate. Thank you.

gay veteran said...

Wow. Incredibly good.

All things decline and die. Even republics.

calgarylady said...

driftglass, your eloquence with words and your fine musical tastes are beautiful gifts that you share with us all. Thanks.

Sincerely, calgarylady.