get there if you can and see the land

Just After the War with the…

In March 1991, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force was a guest on the radio program “Desert Island Disks.” After informing his host that his job was “fun” and that he “loved to go to work in the morning,” he discussed the “crystalline quality” of the violin arpeggios in Mozart’s symphony in G.

Now That the West Has Been Won

Sign on a truck in Spokane: Shred-Away Mobile Data Destruction • Peace of Mind • Bonded • Insured.

Sign at Little Big Horn National Monument: Mass Grave—Keep Off.

The People

Underneath the narcotized, blank-faced, overfed, undernourished, paved over, strip-malled, clearcut, theme-parked, multiplexed, muzaked, chain-stored, downsized, dumbed-down, gun crazy, vacant lot, xenophobic, ghettoized, market driven— and so on to no last term— skin of America, is there still a heartbeat? Yes, yes, but it’s faint, arrhythmic. Meanwhile the dead continue to walk so heavily on the groaning earth, every thundering footstep exacting a terrible price somewhere.

The Prize

Third Prize: A life of constant work, failing marriages, failing health, distant children, always on the verge of complete collapse, but you don’t go hungry, you get to keep your house, your car, your TV, your beer night, your hunting weekend, your once in a blue moon trip to Vegas.

Second Prize: A comfortable, successful, technologically modulated, mediocre existence. Maybe your kids like you.

First Prize: The “ultimate aphrodisiacs”—power, celebrity, extraordinary profit. Honors laid at your feet. When you laugh, respectable senators shake with laughter, when you cry, the little children die in the street.