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by John Macker

The heat lightning flickers above the Spanish horizon like
God's bloodshot eyes and when he closed them tightly he saw an
eternity of cold stars most of which are long extinct, light years
away or have risen at dusk above the blind ugliness of war. This is
what I feel when I see Picasso's Guernica. Tu Fu knew what a country
looked like overrun with war, which turned survivors into
omnivores scavenging for scraps amidst the dead horses and bodies
piled in a Cubist insurrection of blood, flesh and bone. Junker squadrons
of the Condor Legion practiced point-blank blitzkrieg from above.
This is history. Somebody looked away and turned on a late night
spaghetti western. Somebody still believes in the "pre-human sanity of
the desert." I figured somebody someday will have to atone for war and
its wretched, furious alchemy. If not,

a Navajo jeweler friend told me his great-grandfather and great, great uncle
were forcibly marched on the Long Walk from Canyon de Chelly to Bosque
Redondo, and having survived, walked home and participated in making the
Peace and bringing the sacred dry lands back to the heart. Despite all the
fallen eagle feathers on the ground, the scorched fruit trees, the only way to
ameliorate the sense of banishment was the Beauty Way,
his path has taken him to the visions of turquoise and silver. I don't know
if he's ever seen Guernica, probably not up close but its common anguish
flowers like orchids in his veins. The apocalypse horses are broken across
the back of war. In agony, a one-eyed mother howls bereft at the sky.
I write these words because

I woke up vulnerable, because sometime during the night, I misplaced my
America, it had drank up all my tequila, left breakfast lines of coke on my
laptop, stored an assortment of illegal handguns in the bathtub, made me
watch reruns of Mad Men, told my border collie to go chase herself,
formed a domestic partnership with itself in the mirror, and went to Wisconsin to
punish Miranda
Washinawatok for saying "Hello, I love you" to a classmate in her native Menominee.

Because maybe we lost our way, our path, our ghost trail in the stars, in old age,
in youth, wandering on a trail of Beauty, living again, we walk, with Beauty all
around us,
may we walk. It is finished in Beauty, it is finished in Beauty.

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