Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

New Deal

Today you are digging ditches. There is frost on your breath.
The lorry that abandoned you here stands halfway to the
treeline in the shade of which the earth is frozen hard. In
the lorry, somewhere, are whisky and pickaxes.

In the future, here, shivering, it may be you an archaeologist
refers to…he broke the filters from his cigarettes, he needed the bite
at the back of his throat. Over there in the distance, scattered, like
family members who need the space, were houses, none closer
than matchbox size.

Periodically the men you dig with will stand together. Talk-steam
will rise from their mouths. To the east the earth is flat. The road
is long, grey, and straight. It is a road from nowhere to nowhere.
Everything is in the distance. You want to ask these men if they
think like this.

A professor of the history of war will stand here. He will have
access to weather records…the sky was heavy, grey, flat, steel. This
land in winter rarely thaws. The furrows in the field of heavy earth
were glacial ridges, sharp; the wind like knives. At waist level to the
earth they were digging men here would be as far from love as is possible.

Imagine yourself calling to your comrades…“Ditch-diggers!
Daydream the sound of boots! Think sometimes of Poland, Winter,
1942, 43, 44!"

See the grey road of ragged, shoeless, souls. Over there, safe, towards
the houses, peasants, dressed like you, even down to their hats, even
down to the filters torn from their cigarettes. They would have
witnessed it all.

Even those peasants would have idly wondered…which way would I run?
"Comrades! I beg you! Daydream the sound of trains, people with frost
on their breath, wire, dogs, ditches.”


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