These scenes are that of Shanghai, China. Shanghai is the largest city proper on Earth, boasting a neon jungle singing the digital souls of 23,710,000 modern human beings. Shanghai boasts art deco, modernism, abstract, and neoclassical architecture partitioned at times by a mere thin road, green spaces, or even the bulkhead of heavy industrial factories or apartment complexes. Shanghai is the epitome of the 21st century, a bustling nothingness of everything where everything is amazing and everyone is numb.
This is a Daily Reminder for Brooke Kerger.
You breach upon-the-sea. You dashing swath of a trillion droplets in order, bright, exuberant, watery light spilling in torrents across the face of the universe. My Pollack painting, my resuscitated Mannerism with baroque beauty and romantic ripples in time with your twisting lips across my vision so ethereally unbelievable.
I am baffled by you. I am shaken by you. I am amazed by. Brooke Kerger, these words fit the small immeasurable distance between you and I and the vast endlessness behind your beautiful eyes. Your poetic mind and your poetic body, the contrast of hedonism and conciseness so evident in each moment they blend when you speak so affluently. This is your golden age of reason.
While any other human being would sink in the suffering of numbness now affront across every single billboard, and meta-humor alluding to existentialism in every single comedic venture, you manage to not only climb it, but to echo it. You speak the voice of a mosaic. You are the modern world and you are the modern woman. You are powerful, you are human. You are four-dimensional and aware of each timeline she shatters across the worlds in my synapses. The empty vacuum of literature awaiting to be charged by your solar photons blasting away at my golden sheet of paper.
You’re conscious and you’re conscious of it. You’re layered in refined elegance and visceral sexual allurement tinted by RGB diodes in your plasma blood, flowing with the energy of lightning and the pause of nevermore.
Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls- up shadowy long-forgotten bowers! My flowery garden awaits, exuding its aromatic euphoria. The dripping juices bursting from each perforated layer of skin of each fruit as I take my bites, my dry Mojave eyes and your rich nebulae irises both sizzling as they maintain contact. We forsook Seymour, too busy playing on the beach with bananafish, and we disregarded Camus and his deserts among the bottom of the ocean, we rose. We built these towers about my heart and yours and we knew every moment how weak this soil was underneath them.
Have they fallen? Certainly so. They have collapsed time and time again. Some catastrophes only took a single skyscraper, and some toppled our entire metropolitan mezzanines. But once or twice, our entire skyline was severed by the fluctuating seismic throes of our mantle. But time and time again, we rebuild. Each disaster, we recuperate. We are the beasts of bronze and then bullets and then bionics and then biotechnology and then broken laws of physics. We are the beings of bastardized hopelessness, redrawn so that we are not searching for meaning, we are actively creating it in every iota we encounter. We are the temples. We are the towers. We are the spires. We are the churches. We are the pagodas. We are the mosques. We are the beckoning scriptures we once admired. You epitomize that.
You drive forward with moist soles and run. I chase you across the fracturing light and raining night. Effulgence catches you as you twist and turn about the street corners, snatching you in its snares of music, culture, art, curiosity, science, and magnificence. I am your chasseur, and the shadow of your capture each time is the platonic precursor to each of my stories you inspire, Brooke Kerger. Every time you return, you bear the scars of your learning. You are proud and you are strong. You bleed catharsis and you expunge madness. You are resilient and I am in awe. I am proud of this phoenix patron of the arts that you are. You are wonderful, Brooke Kerger.
The horror, the horror! Oh what do I see? The native to this concrete jungle, the savage of this quantum modernism in the fog across the river. You watch me and raise your arms. You know your body is natural and you know each unaltered parcel is as masterful as each painting in the art halls we walk through at midnight. Your hair, in whatever area it may be, is dazzling in its candidness and bohemian in its presence.
Every small detail about you compliments every grand arching motto of your subconscious philosophy. The way you smile and the way you speak. The way you laugh and the way you joke. The way you worry and the way you listen (or not). The way you thrive and the way you recover. The way you love and the way you expel furious anger or disappointment. Each wrinkle and each stressed centimeter of skin on each facial expression you have is vivid and real, unique and touching. I am absolutely enamored by you and love every single brief joy of you.
I love you so much, Brooke Kerger. I am so proud of you and I am so happy to be with you. Thank you for being in my life, I admire you so much in my honor. You’re beautiful and I desire you like no other, and I desire no one else. Thank you for everything.
Aivazovsky, a Russian painter of Armenian origin, was probably the master of the seascape. He took the Romanticism sharpened by Friedrich, Shchedrin, and J.M.W. Turner and dug its burning branch of art into the frothing, icy waters of the Black or Aegean Sea. If Romanticism was a reply to existentialism, the counting of every single ember rather than ignore the tide of fire because your eyes are blinded by nihilism, then Aivazovsky etched oceans of raging hot torrents about every single flake’s face.
His depictions of naval combat during the Crimean Wars and the subsequent Greek War of Independence evoke both natural admiration for the swashing, trashing sea swells and the echoing cannons’ bellow, until both their iron muzzles and their victims are drowned in watery abysses far greater than them. Aivazovsky’s works have minor odes to dramatic chiaroscuro, and others utilize a vigorous clashing of colors gushed with veracity: we are left with the magnificence of the ocean as both the precursor to and theme of every single one of his amazing artworks.
An amazingly charming pencil with a marigold or calendula flowers’ seeds at the end once you insert into soil. These pencils were originally an idea on Kickstarter, and quickly met their goal and are now on sale on Amazon. Pull them out when they’re done growing to write your Romanticism’s blossoms with small flowers shaking with each curved glyph and accent.
This is a Daily Reminder for Brooke Kerger.
I rest my head on a sea of words stumbling together in unison, hoping they resonate with the weight of each of their histories. But they have no hope for the struggle they are consumed in. They are lost among themselves and marching together, sundering the sky apart by their jagged swords and threaded handguards ending in gas blocks, front sights, and muzzles. They are mercenaries for hire, sworn to the writer that calls upon them by the mighty pen.
I call upon them tonight to come with me through the martian sunset. A blaze so familiar falling into any other horizon, but this finite landscape is not our own so we foreigners fear what we are experiencing. We are alone, this army and I, on this journey. There is no guarantee their volley will pierce your spirit, and there is no promise that their power will unveil the true yield of what and everything you are.
They carry with them mementos of their previously battles. Their worn drabs of several colors, the modern Landsknecht, each thread speaking of a previous epic that now drowns in the darkness of a library among schools of silverfish. Some were trained by Shakespeare, others by Ovid, and some were learned by Virgil’s tongue, and others by Horace. Now here they stand underneath the trembling authority of a young man unsure of his own cracking orders. Here they are on foreign ears, coated red with extraterrestrial radiation and two moons watching them silently. They doubt my confidence and so do I.
But confidence was never born, it was ensured. It was given to each person by the future, trusting them with the weapon to reach that glimpse of what might be eventually. This future to me is you. Your happiness, and the way your smile bends your slender lips. The way your warm eyes exudes frosty breath down my spine and the motion to which your orbit around slows as we catch each other’s touch. The magnitude to which your entire body quivers and trembles, as if to release a long forgotten beast of the wild long kept inside, and the way I am so moved by that tremor.
This army behind me and I are from the same origins. We are creatures of logic. I can explain the evolutionary processes that birthed love. But I cannot explain why these emotions can thread you and imprint you against every page of history and each shadow of the universe. I can understand the chemicals responsible for the magnificent stimulus that dazzles my heightened senses because of you. But I cannot understand how my mind can transmute emotions far beyond chemicals into different worlds and realities. I can measure the color of your eyes. But I cannot explain why I see the origins of life and the cradles of stars in them. I can find the angle of each seductive, gentle, ethereal curve of your body. But little more than words dipped in experience could even begin the story of each empire that is built from our mutual, exclusive, unimaginable desires meeting as I touch those curves.
My legions and I are here on this dry riverbed. They’ve had their victories, and just as their clothes, each individual soldier tells the story of a different village. Each skin tone is different, each different first language is spoken in unique accents. I banded them together from memories, they materialized bearing marks of their former wars. They have all faced great sieges and invasions alike, they have all charged the spears of Germanic tribes and slaughtered the heretics in Iberia alike.
They know this war I have gathered them here for. They know this war will not end until every single one of them and I has died. They know it is a conquest of love, and not a single parcel of any planet’s surface nor the flicker of any single star can be spared. There is no dark void or brilliant surface too nebulous to be beyond me or your beautiful infinite.
We came here to the base of Olympus Mons to begin our journey as the sun sets on this red planet. We are dreary and we are weary, phantoms of our joy watching our fear run away from the scene of this massacre. My goddess, my beautiful Venus as burnt-bright as your own cheeks when you read those words, could stay here around this sun forever with me? Between you and I is Earth. Between you and I is Phobos, Deimos, and Luna: fear, terror, and youth. Three satellite seraphim slipping as sylphs through our fingers as they intertwine.
But we must dig ourselves into the molten iron of the Earth’s core to meet across this cold universe. The armies behind me march behind me as we move and we flank the nightmares across the Mariner Valley. We cross each areographic feature and each martian mountain as the sun sets over the rocky dunes and outcrops. Perhaps beyond Earth’s atmosphere we can find solace here, solace to find the roots of my love entirely originating from you.
I want to know how the stemmed, and how they stemmed from the world. I want to know how I can nourish them, and how I can preserve them. But that isn’t true. We are here to go on forward toward the unknown, to dig deeper into the burgundy dirt to let these roots sink deeper. My love stemmed from your endlessness, and they girdled infinity. You nestle in this bed of roses grown from the garden, and nourish them with tears of both sadness and joy.
At the end of the day it is not a battle I am inciting, it is an adventure I am leading. It is not a war I am waging, it is a colonization I am imposing. My mercenary army is behind me. They are clad of syllables and vowels and consonants and grammar. They wear the etymology of empires and literary gunsmiths alike. Their faces are worn from a trillion sentences uttered in both lies and truths. They have been spoken in blasphemy and prophecy. They have been spoken in both vilification and vindication. They have been spoken in both passion and apathy. They have been spoken in both hatred and love. Each one of them I hired for this final, glorious march through these bloody oceans of dust. Your voice wails in the wind, and we vicariously chase it. Follow us like ants with your eyes, darling, as I know your mind roams the cosmos up above. Watch as we spread along this planet and we forge every single story, Daily Reminder, and novel by your inspired travel. Watch as we find love on the face of war. Watch as we find immortality upon the dead planet. Watch as we find eternity between the synapses of you and I as we kiss, touch, and love.
I love you so much, Brooke Kerger. Thank you for being in my life. I’m proud of you, and honored to be with you.
This is the third Daily Reminder for Brooke Kerger today of four.
We are among the company of billions. We have not met every single person on Earth, but we are certain we are perfect for one another. We pause to hope this is true. You know it is true. You see me in the light of every shining cut corner of my figure, and you forgive the shadow cast about my jagged body by each polygon. That is not to say I am an illusion, digitally crafted by electrons and diodes, but is to say I am artificial: man-made. I made myself who I am from the tools this worlds gave me, both consciously and unconsciously.
You know you’re right that I’m the only one for you because our DNA maps our to trillions of combinations and we only have a fraction of that on Earth. That statistical chance of any human being having any similarity with me continues to dwarf due to an innumerable amount of factors in history, blood, society, culture, health, and time.
Now that I understand why I am perfect for you, know I understand why you are perfect for me. This love crept by a single piano key barely audible across the orchestra hall, riddled with doubting adagio, it crept across each lane and aisle. As a broken dog lost in the woods, it turns it quaking sight and whimpered in its fragile skin.
The doomed pup has grown now. It has expanded and consumed and consumed and with its size grew power and confidence. I love you and fell in love with you because you were the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and when I came up to be in your presence, my effort was met with humor, joy, happiness, and instant connections between our open synapses begging to knot with something intellectually teasing.
Like you and I and our Little Talks, the pup grew hour by hour, flourishing exponentially. It wanted to survive. It had an innate vigor to survive but this pup was special, its body was not like that of any other body. It was burgeoning with the density of planets, crushing matter around it.
It did not relate to the mutts and the hounds, it did not relate to the wolves and the coyotes, it related to the wasps and hornets. It related to insects, unbound by the mammalian strictness of evolution. It admired the way bees wore coats of armor as golden as a cuirassier and the way spiders clad themselves in brilliant metallic hues as dynamic as their bloodlust. The beetles crackled and tumbled: they were the carabiniers of the wild forest. The insects were knights and paladins, mercenaries and hunters, and they were detached from our sense of reality. They traversed seamlessly between universes as they dug themselves through the dirt and into rotting bark.
The pup grew as they did, with haste and immediate intensity. Our love grew so wildly, and like a trillion ants, it carried with it the metronome of the savage land. It was connected to civilization as well, but only because it cast a shadow over entire metropolises. It barked one last time as something we could conceive and it finally grew once more.
Now we see it again. Our love is there, the black monster. The hound of the universe. It breathes nebulae, and stars drip from its eyes. Its claws dig into suns, and its fur hides solar systems away under folds of worn skin of space and time. It speaks the word of galaxies, and its single mutter could speak the story of humanity. It is far beyond death or immortality. It transcended the two just as it transcended us. We do not understand every grave evil of it, but we understand our love is far greater and far truer than anything else.
It is in the light of universes in its irises that I see you tonight. It is in the fog of his gassing constellations oozing from his clenched fangs that I hear your elegant voice crack the mist. It is infinity I hear from your reverberations carry themselves throughout the stellar canvas, painting itself in history and the past and the neon, electric, synthetic future.
I love you so much, Brooke Kerger. I love the way exuberance and interest still voice their hums in your soaked-red lips. I love the way your joy is an ode to youth and your desires are an ode to the corruption of adulthood. I love the way you live so vicariously with the terrifying sword of Damocles’s self-hatred hanging over you every minute. I admire the way you continue on, forward with the buzzing battalion of bees behind you.
No one else can say that the forest of their mound speaks far more untamed sounds than the Amazon. No one else can say that their naked body pays homage to as many epic poems as yours does. No one else can say that their mind pulls nymphs, nebulae, nations, and nitrogen together in binding knots of thinking and constructing from these thoughts.
You are my artisan and my artifice. The same way butterflies and flies color the Earth a melody of chromatic medleys with each blooming flower they pollinated, you are the trader that threads each silk road in my words. My Stygian caravansary. My orchestrated sonoluminescence. You have no puissance to prove, my amazing asterism ambient to all.
With the black monster over us, I come to kiss you. Please, allow my lips your confidence of touch. Please, allow my body confidence of your love. My goddess, how I adore you. I love you so dearly, my honor and the gift of pride into my life. Thank you for everything you give to me and for everything you do for me. Thank you for being who you are and giving me seconds of your life. Thank you for everything, my lovely darling. How I love you so much, Brooke Kerger, my genius.
The following photographs were taken last May during Expedition 36 aboard the International Space Station. The astronauts were from Italy, Russia, and the United States as well as both male and female, orbiting the Earth 2,500 times in the span 166 days to conduct microgravity experiments as well as taken thousands of photographs.
This is the second Daily Reminder for Brooke Kerger today of four.
We all have a light. Directly proportionate to our chosen experiences are the exhausts of inspiration driven by those experiences. The more intensely we divulge ourselves into our experience, our “passion”, the more efficient this exertion of will to learn becomes in converting into will to explore. It is a curiosity drive, where we wish to find out the threads that connect our experience to the outside world and further find more of our experience about the universe and our reality.
Some curiosity drives are far more universal. Humans, all of us, so easily tilt our heavy minds down and look up to the sky. We look as a people and wish to go there, where the oblivion seduced our wanderlust eyes and our thick African-clad skin. We were wild and oh, how we wished. We burned our branches and we dug sticks against rocks, from flames and spears we traversed the unknown to eventually, to possibly reach the burning orbs among the night that mused us.
The true amazing aspect about the curiosity drive is that the more magnificent our experience is to us, the more powerful the curiosity is. So we ignite our engines for the sake of speed, and we detonate the unbreakable to watch the desert blaze hotter than ever before. Thus, it forces us to evaluate the greatness of our experience by making us come to terms with it via our curiosity. In this mental conundrum that all things are useless, we realize our own potential to stretch that experience into every other study. The curiosity drive is self-fueling and self-propelling, the only perpetual motion machine in this universe.
This is where you come in, my darling Brooke Kerger. You follow your own path in the woods, marked with self-definition and self-actualization. You hope to describe your thoughts by diving with them even further, and pulling from both the roots of your own mind and the cold, still fog the words to define yourself and to fully realize all you are that I already see: a goddess and a tempest. I follow you in your pursuit. When your pursuit manifests in dress, fashion, and physical characteristics, I sweat, lose my heart rate to the storm, and find myself red-flushed and in pure desire, the strongest desire I’ve ever had and the only desire I have now.
When your pursuit manifests in poetry, I read intently and swoon over the tempo and mementos of references and paucity that so charmingly attracts me to the beautiful word choice. The imagery sprouts from consistency, and the concise verses spill universes. When your pursuit manifests in music, in art, in dance, in interest, in hobbies, I admire and adore each venture and support it. I see the polymath in you unraveling its own equations: I see the goddess building her own empire second by second. Before me, progress was silent. I want to be the light that shows you how clear the path you’ve worn is. I want your journeyed soles to be illuminated. I want the effulgence to drench your bare spirit as it crosses the swampy marshland. I want to make clear how close you are to the meadows you dreams of frolicking through, and I hope so dearly you allow me into those fantasies, my phantasmagoric titan.
Your destination of self-discovery will never be alone, because your every cathartic scream will echo through my pen’s shout and my heart’s roar and my body’s bemoaning howl back to you. It’s visceral and it’s universal, the cohesion of lust, love, and intellectual desire to ignite as nebulae twisting themselves around blue supergiants on Orion’s belt. But, it’s very much conscious the effort to become the greatness we see in one another. As you learn more about yourself and make it known, I will always be behind loving every single ember flaked from the published manuscript of fire.
I will always be behind you. I will always be following your silhouette plagued in wrongful loneliness, holding your shadow steady. When you hear your art’s clarion call, your march is my sirens’ musing. You are my perfection shedding light on yourself, and I never want to impede on that natural, beautiful production. I just want to be a part of its accentuation. I just want to be the eyes to watch your cosmic trail blaze. I just want to be the astronaut to dip my suited finger through rocky crystals as a ring around you. I want to be a part of everything you are, and everything you are becoming.
You’re a genius. You cannot build poems from the twigs and leafs of the forest without help from a mind to transfuse them to notions and thoughts. You construct art from nothing but your own adventure, and you fill the hinterland with the trophies of your expansion: minerals hidden away in the muddy riverbeds dried in the winter growl. You’re curious. You’re endless. You’re hopeful. You’re open. This makes you a genius by all accounts, the blessed of few within the scope of this world. I love this genuine intelligence of yours so dearly.
I apologize that at times I am consumed by doubt, fear, anger, worry, and self-hatred. They manifest themselves as frustration and I become that which vilifies. Our synaptic thoughts will always realign in every syzygy, do not worry. I am so sorry I become of harsh voice and quick temper when I am weakened by personal failing, and I ask you forgive me. Know it does not reflect my opinion on you, your beliefs, your words, your story, your knowledge, or your lovely march forward onto dawn, onward toward the edge of the known.
Here we are again, between what we know to be true and what we do not know at all. We must decide whether these fears will tighten our own nooses as we charge into the abyss to forge our own futures, or if we will use them as the very torches to hold each other’s trembling, sweating hands and walk, together, into the darkness. The sun leaves us behind and the planets guide us toward the asymptotic venture. Everything will be alright, my glorious goddess.
I love you so much, Brooke Kerger. Thank you for being in my life. I am so proud of you.
This Daily Reminder is one of four for Brooke Kerger today.
Many complex bacteria have free-will. They have social hierarchies. They choose where they want to be placed in the colony, and at times the colony denies them that choice and forces them to the colonial hinterland. Yet they still sacrifice themselves in mass suicide when infected to ensure the survival of their colony that will not last more than a day or so. That means the trillions of “good” bacteria in and on your body that sacrifice themselves in the millions every day to protect you do so by their own volition, aware that even entering your blood for a minute would mean your white blood cells exterminating them with extreme prejudice.
The first form of life was a complex molecule that was able to reproduce itself chemically in a mineral-rich water. This was the first cell. The second form of life ever was the first virus. It did not even form DNA yet, it just latched on to the first cell and lived off its shell. For the rest of all organic time, the virus and the self-resilient forever battled in an evolutionary arms race.
We are a product of this war between the leech and its arm. We are the manuscripts of the Master and the Margarita. We are pages upon pages of biological strategies and the details of machinations that lead to chemical progress. We cannot be burned, we can only spread these embers through every puppet philosophy we hold. We are historically nonexistent and organically immortal. We are utterly connected to every living creature and every photon beam falling from a star but our souls still feel so lonely.
In this brief moment of existentialism we could call life, I found you just before my heart throbbed its single brake. I generalized the importance of experiencing in my last Daily Reminder. I reduced the importance that experience has to us in our singular lives. It is so easy to sink in the nothingness that girdles the stars if we do not have the weight of electrons washing us from distant suns to soak in. Likewise, it is far too easy to be consumed by the viscid sense of nihilism as we age, plagued and malignantly aggravated by desperation and regret. It is the need to experience that propels us.
It seems that our gods were but benchmarks, and that the battle forever fought between cells and viruses lives on in our mentality. It seems all we do, we do to further our resilience and self-reliance. To experience something, to understand it, is to immerse ourselves in the idea that meaning is not self-begot, just as this universe was not. It isn’t going to be easy realizing there isn’t a heaven, but neither is the realization it is time to build our own among the forests, not the stars.
This is where my love rests, far beyond the need to prove itself real, but now in the realm of propagating itself across my every stream of consciousness. It is the buttress and the bastion to my learning, and it comforts me that there will always be purpose to be had and that I will always be a purpose to another person. As I lay dying by my own volition, I live the deliberate satire of a world unknown to me, waiting to be known by you. That world is infinity yet to be crisped, and endlessness yet to be divided among my thoughts and your eyes.
Through that line of following passion and breathing immortality, I find you in my meditation and I hesitate to take another breath. If I do, I just might lose another moment of your existence in my fiery neurons blasting away in the billions, lighting themselves up for you. I fear our fear and I hate our hate, alongside the death of stars they number my mortification that something so grand can fall to the darkness just because its feet sink below the line of black.
I disappoint you every day. I birth unhappiness and despair. I try to mend it with words and with the actions I can commit. I try to fortify your forgiveness and give your confidence reason to bloom through the winter’s fleet of icy ships, perforated empires of glassy snow among our garden rising again.
I do my best to bring forth from the universe to the galaxies and the viruses to the bacterial colonies an intersection cut between your heart and your synapse. I do my best to let you know I see you in everything and to open my eyes wider so I can feel its magnitude.
I cultivate information to invigorate it through you, my catalyst. I do so because an inherent, innate, idiosyncratic emotion beyond my history and beyond my skin beckons my very single minutiae to you and my every single grandiose weight to you. This thing we call love, this insanity of experience, envelopes what you are in my senses. It nestles you in its scent, and I can take the breeze of lilac from your lips.
I’m proud of what you are and what you can do to me. I am proud of your ability to goose my skin with your fingers as you run your nostrils down my chest, kissing my aching body. I’m proud of the poems against my wall, reading your spirit from every verse that pull down my throbbing veins by each pitch and tone. I’m proud of everything you are and everything you do to me. I am proud of what made you and admire the fact that it took all history and time and space to built just a single one of you, and in that you, there is bliss and there is uniqueness foreign to the rest of the world and reality ignorant to your blessing life.
What better idea than to use Tumblr then, for my words to you? What better way to let the entire world know how wonderful you are every day? What better way to nurture your pedaled rosebuds as they moisten in the morning dew from the divide between my tongue and its sensitivity? What better way to shout to the world that I love you, Brooke Kerger, and want every human of the internet to know?
We live in a globalized society connecting and threading like never before. I am able to fortify my love like I never could before this great and new time period. A time where viruses and suns alike come together to hold you with me. I know I have failed you before, but I will not fail you again.
I will not let go, and my hands only hold you. My fingers only strain to write for you. My voice only croaks to convince you. My tears only flow to the sound of your breaking soul. My body only falls limp and into nothingness if you leave the throne.
I will forever love you as I always promised I will. I will, from now on, be faithful and devoted to you permanently, completely, utterly, and consciously. But besides my oath to never let these atrocities commit themselves by my naive and vile palms, I cannot beach your worry.
Hold on to my hand, please, my goddess. Touch me and kiss me, my endlessness. Please, know I am so proud and honored and humbled by your forgiveness and your mercy. Your nightmares will come, and they will run and run, but it is in our fortitude and choice to let them overrun our turrets and our gates.
Here we are, being consumed in lysis and living our horrors. Here we are, imploding and evaporating by multiplying viruses trying to bind, twist, and abuse our nuclei. Hold on to my hand, Brooke, and let us grow and resist. Let us, like all life before us, persevere. We are living things, and we will overcome.
I know you will, I have seen your strength through voice, through passion, through fortitude. I am proud of you and your power, and envy the mightiness that walks along by the side of humility and love. I love you dearly, and I ask that you listen to the words carefully. I ask you listen to me.
I love you so much, Brooke Kerger. Thank you for being in my life.
Many people ask me why I have a fascination and adoration for firearms. I am fascinated with them the same way I am fascinated by a band of brothers by honor, rather than brothers by blood, dying together in combat in a din of clashing metal and a medley of fuming sulfuric stenches. I adore them the same way I adore the perseverance of humankind as a whole, and our ability to succumb to our sin and overcome it subsequently. Firearms are one of the greatest aspects of the 20th century and 21st century, and have altered history more than almost any other mature technology in the past century.
We live here, on the cusp of ignorance, not realizing that firearms are the bringers of death but also the preservers of life. In many parts of the world, a boy or a girl carries his or her Kalashnikov like the parent’s hand they lost as an orphan. For the young man swimming in Lake Kivu, all the humanitarian hopes mean nothing as an inflatable raft approaches him, demons on it laughing and brandishing machetes. For the gunsmith hidden away in the Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he can see the silhouette of his father that saved him as a child when their village was sacked by extremists, and his father’s blood still soaks the stock of their homemade SMLE.
Art is passion. Art is the way we perceive and come to make sense of this maddening world. Writing, poetry, painting, dancing, singing, and music have all been the catalysts to our distracting sanity among the upheaval of insanity we live in. But to many around the world, the only catharsis is found at the end of a sweeping, burning, sizzling muzzle. They don’t get to feel anything more than fear and apathy, and they don’t get to wear anything except muddy shorts and jaded eyes. To these forsaken men and women, the only art they ever knew was their gun. It is a symbol of protection to them. It is a form of mechanical art, and the steel and wood that was sculpted into their savior is ingrained as an angel among their neurons.
The guns we use to wage battle know more about humanity than most of us ever will. They have felt more tears soak their wooden furniture than we will ever cry. They have seen the spilling of more blood than most doctors and medics, and they have experienced it for several lifetimes reuse after reuse. They know what true patriotism looks like, and what true evil sounds like. They know what confidence and swagger feel like, and they know what protection and security can do to a lost person with nothing but his muzzle flash to cry out into the consuming abyss that they will never surrender. They have decided the fate of Communist nations and those with Pan-African ideals. They judged the gangs of Americans streets and the littered political dissidents shot by firing squads equally. They are the true blind justice, and they merely reflect the gods we want to become.
Firearms are the modern Dorian Grey. They are immortal, merely a reflection of our soul slowly corrupted by our own self-immolation. They will always be ready to destroy again, among the corpses of our fathers and the corpses of our sons. We are nothing more than the portraits of the horrors we have committed. We must face them, and each other, and the tools we use to destroy both with reverence and respect.
Firearms are modern history. Firearms are tools. Human tools. It is with tools that we may create our world, and many of us create it in art and catharsis. Some don’t get that chance. They only have these tools of destruction and immortality. This is how they see the world. This is how they change the world. They don’t see the world through poetic verses or expressionists’ soft strokes, they see the world through rusted iron sights passed on freedom fighter to freedom fighter.
To understand modern firearms is to understand the recent blooming of our human timeline. I recently read an article pertaining to the Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was speaking about the surge of Chinese arms into the armed combat, criticizing Chinese arms dealers for such brazen lack of empathy. But the picture showing a rebel walking with “Chinese” guns was in no way a man armed with Chinese assault rifles. The front sights of the Kalashnikovs were open, and their stocks were wire stocks prevalent on East German Mpi-KMS-72 assault rifles, meaning these were probably guns from East Germany, possibly traveling throughout the Cold War revolution after revolution when the Eastern Bloc supplied firearms to socialist rebels. Simple knowledge of firearms completely changed the subject, observation, and discussion emanating from the photograph.
If you still vilify firearms, fine. But at least acknowledge they understand the human artisan and sculpt the human artifice more than you ever will. Fear them and respect them, regardless of your love for them.
Author’s Note: the proliferation of Chinese firearms throughout Sub-Saharan Africa is very much real. It is difficult to tell a “fake” Kalashnikov apart from a professionally made one. A majority of Kalashinkovs still being used in African conflicts have been there since Soviet donations, but many older, inoperable rifles have been replaced by Chinese, North Korean, Pakistani, and Iranian copies.