Muted Hesiod

A kite string has pulled against my palm
The singing call over the Ruby Red above
A misty sprawl shaped cotton cloud
The festival of unknown Psalms
Young leaves over where blood freely flowed
Thieves on the high-road
A broken grasp shaped of bronze
The free hand now an ode

The Russian war is a victory at home

I’m not one to engage with the tedious discourse of geopolitics often, but even among those of us curious enough to try and piece together both sides of the conflict I notice a few key take aways that don’t seem to be mentioned which I’ve written down here.

Despite the constant victories Ukraine seems to be winning on social media they are losing the actual war.

For all the exaggerated claims of killed Russian combatants that often suspiciously exceed the number of American killed in the Normandy landings, Ukraine has lost an astronomically higher amount of troops than the Russians. No reserves, mercenaries or militias can replace their legacy technology, bases and NATO drilled veterans.

If there is to be a post war insurgency, as many in the West callously imply- not accounting for how these insurgencies ruin nations- there won’t be many remants of the Ukrainian armed forces to fight it, unlike the disbanded and excluded Ba’ath party members in Iraq who made up the ranks and beuracracy of ISIS.

Considering how the war has progressed I think with hindsight we can say that the campaign wasn’t going to be shock and awe like the US in Iraq, rather it’s the deliberate advance like the Russian adopted in Syria. This time with even less bombing in the big cities. A fairly far sighted compramise since they don’t have the means or the delusions of grandeur that made the US think they could build a nation like Iraq or Afghanistan up from ruins.

This makes me think this will be a long war – probably one that extends beyond Ukraine if Poland & Belarus get involved.

This might also be Putin’s way of calling the economic bluff since there is no one who can replace Russian energy. All exaggerated claims of replacing Russian energy does not account for the fact that no one has the capacity or will to increase and supply production to that extent. Why would they do that and tank gas prices? OPEC has done so many times in the past and fairly see that they have not been rewarded. While Europe puts on a fig leaf with swap deals to hide purchase of Russian energy Putin is now going to force them to prop up the Ruble.

Many often dismiss Russia as a Gas Station mascarading as a country, quoting the plane crasher and war monger John McCain. The problem with this analogy is that gas stations are among the corner stones of modern civilization so it isn’t much of an insult. With the wheat fields that Russia now has access to, the gas station now has a farm attached -another cornerstone of civilization.

Secondly I think Putin was trying to break with the West before they were ready. This makes the many Western initiated talks before the war make a lot more sense, the attempts at deterrence meant that the West wasn’t ready yet – way to show your hand!

It also paints everything from Syria to Libya to Armenia to Georgia to Kazakhstan in a much different light- the plans to hemn in Russia were already underway. All of them have floundered so far, especially in Georgia and Armenia where Western aligned regimes have had to change their minds.

While Polish intervention might be a fantasy and Belorussian troops might only be massing on the border as a distraction – the real coup is how this imprisons all Russian Oligarchs & Europhiles within Russia to Putin’s nationalist vision. This fifth column has resisted for a long time, but now with a war their views have no currency and they can’t flee the country with their cash cows (stolen public assets) either. A true victory considering how much sway and influence these King Makers had in the 90’s – they were the ones who killed the Soviet Union and handed Putin the crown in the first place.

Night drive

Thunder overnight
Left out as I drive
The slickness of tar
Lost to sight
Heart and Mind
Among the leaves
Road through the mountains
A hidden sunset
Among embracing trees
A countdown
To a simple blossom
Under nightfall
The glistening world
A fishbowl

Sol Invictus

Was there ever a summer day
So dry and etched in sunlight

That it made you want to rip away
The doors and windows off their hinges

A day so cool under the green canopy
The road sides bursting with wild flowers

That you felt like breaking ever glass tower
Freeing their prisoners so they could go out

Arms shading their eyes turned to the blue and white
Squinting under the unconquered Sun

Tourist Trap

A tenement hotel on the lower bank of a back water stream. It is too late for traffic but it rings out anyway.

In a town of fishmongers, I lie sleepless on a paper thin mattress. The hotel room seems to contract trying to collapse on itself. The walls seem to sweat and the night grows warmer. Ugly neon lights pour in past the dust caked curtains, reflecting on the stains that mark all the furniture.
The walls thin and tried did nothing to stop the shuffling and humming of a hundred sleepless patrons- in it’s own way gasping for breath. I walked to the window and saw a police van pull up.

I shuffled out, the dust grabbing my feet, slowly over the peeling floor. I looked out to the hallway, the lights dim and fluttering. I went to my neighbours door, a fast friend. Both of us sleepless and drowsy eyed. We had been drinking away the inescapable stench of the day.

He seemed skittish that night, a grim expression of resignation. I frowned- I kept him around to cheer me up. He saw me upset and smiled, inviting me with more grace and eagerness than I ever expected from him.

I sat on his dusty desk, after pushing his carelessly strewn papers. There was some ash lining the edges of the desktop. He offered me a glass, the same one we’d been drinking from for a week. I told him the usual things, how work was going, how the story seemed to have died on the vine. We were both tourists, as I repeatedly told him, both of us just wandering in and out of towns. He usual seemed baffled by this but tonight he smiled.

My editor had me barking up trees and I wished I had a listener who actually understood what I was telling him. My neighbour was some kind of salesman, always with heavy briefcases and wooden boxes. It’s how we met, I went to introduce myself and complain after I heard one too many thuds and muffled sounds of objects being dragged around.

I noticed he was wearing his Sunday best tonight. Well whatever best he could muster probably. Large sweat stains had formed under his armpits. I laughed and asked what he could have to do this late. He just smiled and refilled my glass.

I looked around as he told me he might be going back to his home town. He had told me something about that before, but I couldn’t remember what he’d said. To be honest what he was saying now was boring me too. I worried what I’d do next week.
He excused himself to go out for cigarettes and asked me to wait for him. I wished I had better neighbours. I got up to look around when he left. There were a lot of vans outside the hotel, something was going down. I decided not to care, I wasn’t paid enough to bother.

I walked over to his bed and smelt something rusty, his whole room was brown and leather like. The boxes he had stacked up seemed to have been stained by the same smell. An ugly reddish brown had seeped down to the bottoms of the ones he had stacked up next to his bed. There were a few bags by it too. Nothing well kept in the whole mess.

I couldn’t help but notice a handle sticking out from between the bags thrown about. I went back to the window. Something was certain to happen. My neighbour had kept me too long. I walked over and pulled on the handle. It was a soggy knife covered with a smelly thick layer.

I pushed one of the boxes and a strange feeling washed over me. I heard footsteps marching and thundering up the stairs. You could hear anything in this hotel. In slow motion I opened one of the boxes, already realising what my neighbour had been dragging up each night and that he wouldn’t be coming back.

I reached inside a box, hearing the door crash open behind me and the shouts breaking into the room. Murder weapon in hand, bloody evidence before me, I had missed the big story of the night.