civilization

Die for You

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Beautiful Imagery

Brother,

I will die for you. 

But please, do not rejoice –

this is not a declaration

of my loyalty to your life.


I plan to kill myself tonight, brother…

for you – please do not try

to stop me. 

I do not want to hear

of my life's value; I

do not want to hear your rage

at the thought of my

perceived uselessness.  

I know my life weighs on your soul,

and challenges your style of living.  

I know that we clash

more often than we intertwine, and

it is for that reason that I

choose to die. 

I will rid myself

from your existence,

for you.


I do not say this to implant guilt;

please do not misunderstand. 

I choose this path, brother, because

I love you.  More than words

can ever hope to describe

in a world filled with words

callously used to hide behind.


Sister,

I will die for you. 

Please, hold back your tears –

this is not honorable.


I will end my own life…

for you. 

Do not worry; I love life,

and all of its splendor. 

The trees call to me

in sweet tones that allow my

mortal mind to forget time. 

I am allowed space

to unfurl my physical trappings,

to relinquish my understanding

to the Soul of the World and

refill my cup with eternal love. 

The symphony of life quells

my restlessness in

ways Western medicine seeks

to mimic, but cannot quite replicate. 

But my reverence for such beauty

is in opposition to construction

and progress.  I cannot abide

endless consumption, so I

will remove myself from this

global equation,

for you.


Lover,

I will die for you. 

Do not look at me with such disdain –

this is not Shakespearean tragedy

manifest.


I poison myself because

I long to die… for you. 

I am not naïve;

I already dearly miss your skin,

the current surging within

that revitalizes my soul. 

I will forever hold your love

as the pinnacle of this physical world;

the height of true majesty,

paling the purple of the mountains

from the land we came from. 

Most of all, I adore your eyes,

as they diminish my existence

with the immensity of Gaia’s power,

wrath, and benevolence… I

will miss those fiery windows most of all. 

I realize my Aquarian tendencies

leave my head cloudy with images of

utopia – images in stark contrast

to our civilization,

this reality you remain grounded to. 

I know that is why we are no longer

in each other’s arms; your absence

shaves my humanity, membrane by

membrane, so death seems

inevitable.  Why not cut

to the chase?...

for you.


Humanity,

I will die for you. 

I will not be a martyr – I

am not strong enough for this world. 

I imagined myself an actor

in a new age play,

a catalyst of a movement toward

enlightenment.  But I am

meek, and incapable of lasting

through to the end of this struggle. 

When hard times come,

as they always do,

I will not be here.  Someone

more capable will take my place

beside you.  Someone with

unflinching bravery and

unlimited strength to guide,

and be guided by you. 

I am sorry and I apologize;

it cannot be me.  I

am weak.


CLF 2015

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Please help me with this; I would like it to be critiqued.  I am in the process of editting it, but I am currently fatigued as a result of what this piece means to me.

Do not worry, I am not actually suicidal -- this poem means to vent the frustration constructively, to avoid such an outcome from seeming attractive to me. 

The Tribe

Consider the tribe of shrewd and savage warriors who settled along the shore of a great lake. Though they were a violent people, they were also capable and intelligent, and sought development before they sought conquest. Farms were built that took advantage of the fresh water nearby. Forests were cut down and used for construction on mills, granaries and shrines to honor their brooding and temperamental Gods.

 

Soon they encountered neighboring settlements. There were persnickety city-states with endless demands, hordes of hungry, wayfaring brutes and the occasional representative from other, even mightier nations. Despite their ancestral bloodlust, the tribe resigned themselves to a temporarily-peaceful coexistence, and began dallying in small bouts of diplomacy and trade. After expanding, their resources dwindled, and they were unable to indulge in military campaigns due to constant raids - both on their own cities and those of their neighbors. So the tribesmen entrenched themselves in works of artistry and culture while building a small military force in order to protect themselves, as well as the lucrative settlements which had taught them the benefits of trade and commerce.

 

Once active, the meager grouping of soldiers quickly proved themselves in multiple battles. Their numbers were few, but each individual warrior was given intensive and brutal training, and their understanding of the local terrain gave them a keen edge over any interloper. Their work was cut out for them however, as dozens of temporary camps were discovered within their claimed lands - many still housing the bloodthirsty nomads which had built them. Because of this, the now-masterful fighting bands were forced to maintain constant patrols between their own territories and those of their tentative allies. Were they to neglect this responsibility, innocent citizens would likely become victimized, and their trade routes would remain stifled.

 

Elder members of the tribe grew restless. The roots of their beloved nation - once nourished by fearful tribute and the plunders of conquest - were now planted firmly in an area teeming with heterogeneous beliefs and cultures. They were a warlike people whose blood ran hot, so the elders claimed, and to exist passively while cavorting with other, more idealistic communities ran counter to everything they had ever known. In spite of these protests, the tribe continued to flourish; soon acquiring a reputation among lesser governing bodies as something of a protector from raiders, whose numbers they had thinned considerably. Their military forces remained minute and efficient, never having to overstep boundaries or bolster their numbers with new recruits. When passing near friendly settlements, they were often recognized, invited in, and treated lavishly by the grateful townspeople.

 

It was an unprecedented age of stability and progress. Having been forced to divert their latent tenacity to things beyond the scope of their fighting prowess; the newly-enlightened tribe was able to press on, making great strides in fields as diverse as music, architecture, and archaeology. They were touted as heroes and paragons of civilized virtue, and those who praised them began to emulate their society and its customs - even going so far as to adopt the tribe’s fledgling religion as their own. Iconic sculptures and captivating works of art were created by admirers both near and far, detailing the tribe’s emergence, the policies they had drafted and the era they had ushered in.

 

Though doomed to work against their formerly-barbarous lifestyle, the tribe had at last begun to truly relish in their civil and intellectual prosperity. Resource centers remained under siege, forcing the tribe’s elite fighting force to retaliate continuously. These interventions brought relief not only to their own people, but to other populations who, unbeknownst to the tribe’s leadership, had been in dire need of aid for some time. Their praises were sung as the tribe’s collective minds expanded. Among their growing population were scholars: born of the new age, and the first to be noted and celebrated in the history of their people. They were voracious for greater knowledge and insight, which only proved to strengthen cultural relations as they traveled the world, seeking great tomes, scriptures and historical treatises. Scientists, musicians, writers and explorers were lauded as figures of high aspiration - an ideal that differed greatly from the tribe’s former edict: valuing strength and ruthlessness above all else.

 

A new generation, born and raised under the zeitgeist of civility now imbuing itself in the tribe, eventually wrested control from their ailing predecessors. Those tribesmen who still clung to the antiquated principles of olden times were ostracized and barred from voicing their opinions on any and all matters of importance. Borders were opened to all but a few, and settlements were encouraged to diversify and expand. When threats of great conflict loomed overhead, the tribe could rely on the combined military strength of their allies for support, while retaining their own limited yet expert forces. These veteran soldiers would often act as advisers during wartime, regardless of the tribe’s involvement in the ordeal itself.

 

The world continued developing around them, using the now-legendary tribe’s example as an archetype for what makes a nation truly stand the test of time. They and their innumerable allies continued to provide mutual aid and support for each other through subsequent ages; staving off drought, threats of war and genocide and reversing the stagnation of lesser societies with little ability to help themselves. They continue to prosper whilst sharing their bounty with all who walk a path of peaceful concordance, and remain unopposed as the primary superpower in a world so often divided by petty strife.

 

Now, we must consider the tribe who had no choice but to cultivate themselves when their former way of life was stolen by fate. Their capital sits at the northernmost shore of a great lake, while the rest of the lake’s breadth has been encircled by affiliated cities and outposts. They relay supplies and information to one another, utilizing a vast, interconnected web of trade and commerce: this being the end result of a peaceful coexistence that was once imposed, and now embraced. And while their story must conclude, their history will continue writing itself — for the benefit of all the world, and for the individual, to study.

 

(Written by Robert D. Ventre II -- don't steal my shit)

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I am without shame when I say that this was 100% inspired by a game of Civilization V I am currenly invested in. I'm actually in love with the overall concept (of a warlike nation forced to become diplomatic and progressive due to circumstances beyond their control) and am extremely proud of how quickly I belted out this little story (thanks, corporate lunch hour!). I may go so far as to take the premise, delve into much greater detail and turn it into a proper, historically-fictional story. Let me know if you would enjoy that.

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