by Edward Morris
part 1 of 2
For Bernard Sumner and Martin Lukac
There is no such thing as making long story short. Our stories are always short. It is our reasons which are always long.
I am making joint and putting this music on, this New Order from Madchester in 1980’s asking me to tell you how does it feel, tell you now how does it feel. This great spoked wheel of life returns to its insane hub. Synthesizers clang out that the cuckoos have taken over the clock. Everything I already know, everything like this.
This is one of Marlena’s CD’s. I don’t have much of her left. The bastards even turned us against each other.
When we met in 600-level PolySci class at Portland State University, Marlena told me she has a lot of pet peeves. I know what a pet peeve is, but I ask her, what is peeve? We try to look it up but never figure this out. I think that is why she asks me out later.
Now I know: Life. Life Is Peeve! Monday is Peeve, getting no sleep all weekend and then everything today. I could not think of the English words for things the whole time I try to teach my freshmen de Tocqueville and Marx. None of these kids know French or Russian. I kick myself for learning English last.
I leave my office today one hour earlier than when my office hours say I am in. Willamette Week calls and says where is our interview? Today they want to interview me because they hear about some of my story from my students. Too bad for them.
Today it would have been my interview on that particular page they set aside. Tomorrow that same page will have a clown running for mayor and some abused child running as fast as they could from Church of Scientology.
I can only work for the school. The stipend is less than half our rent. Marlena was working a real job to support us and going to school all this time. In the note Marlena left me last night, she says What’s Wrong With You? Over and over. So hard I try, before, to tell her that Civilization is what’s wrong with me! She should know this. We are studying for same doctorate!
What is wrong with me is that I know too well that people will not waste their lives watching Survivor if they are shown there is more in the stars than on TV. What is wrong is we are not ready to talk to the aliens because people in authority we never gave them said so. Even fossil bacteria and water on Mars, and ice on Titan, are now this huge deal. They laughed at Orson Welles.
How does it feel... It does feel now like terror in dark places, like a longing of the soul for someone else to see. Mostly it just like being submerged in a vat of warm oil. You know you are not really going to die. It is just disgusting.
I am no Juraj Janosik, no Slovak hero for the women to bathe in wine and dry off with ham. I was soon to be a doctor of political science. Now I am just Stepan Kavarovic again. Nothing just yet to put before or after my name on any office doors to come.
I have no wish to rob the rich or smash the state or die for my beliefs. I am professional student! University Bum! Or was, before they deny me work visa or take my student aid on a technicality for publishing in American journals, which somehow counts as work though I never get check. All links to every one of my articles or blogs online got hidden same day.
I am not professional student any more. After ten years, I can no longer delay the end of that road. That is both the greatest and the least of my worries now.
Three months before this, President Gasparovic himself revoked my Slovak citizenship. I was on a list with twenty or thirty other graduate students accused by United States of getting student visa for “questionable” reasons.
What is this questionable? I live with my girlfriend because together we can live in bigger place and not some basement dungeon apartment I could have had back in Communism. I have to take classes part-time this semester because my aid got cut even before all this. My English is not so good, but I did not know part-time means “Chechen terrorist.” It is the insanity of the times.
Everyone here in Oregon seems so shocked that an oil warlord got into the White House to fight wars for the companies that put him into power. It has always been like that in Slovakia. Like they say on ‘Oprah’, “Honey, somebody lied to you.”
Bush’s circle of advisors have managed to manipulate world events and keep everyone in the dark. Gasparovic is no better. He used to be something like Deputy Director of your CIA. (After Nezná Revolúcia, our CIA is called SIS.)
Gasparovic is old lawyer money instead of old oil money. But “lawyer” always meant “organized crime” in Communism, and still very much does. He was Meciar’s Dick Cheney. Meciar was so crazy he ran against him. It was like it would be if George W. Bush ran against his Dad.
I used to just make fun of Gasparovic. Now I hate him. But he is just one tissue of this organism, yes? Slovak flag and American flag are both red, white and blue. It is all the same anywhere you go. Every country is overrated.
I used to wonder who would reform the reformers. Now I just see everything from further and further back and it is like being trapped in Lovecraft’s hall of mirrors, turned on themselves, repeating out to an endless decimal. Seeing through the dark glass. Tell me now how would you feel?
They want to deport me from the country where it all came apart. These representatives of a government that has become nothing more than reality-TV to mask so many worse things I cannot even talk about yet.
America is just like it was during Communism when I was growing up in Bratislava. The government knows that all systems and religions are obsolete. But they have to be kept in place by force. Some people see this. This writer Jim Hatfield who they say committed suicide, just like they say Lenny Bruce overdosed and they say Bill Hicks got pancreatic cancer, like Kennedy, like King...
So many poisoned, made to jump in front of trains, dosed with LSD just before the microphone of the world gets shoved in their faces. And me, The Man Without A Country. I have to run again. Marlena really left me because she hates to say goodbye. The lawyers hounding us so much, the phone calls in the middle of the night, all of these, were only fuel on the fire.
No. All will be well. Marlena will come back. I will wait and smoke joint and play on the computer. And think. At least I can still do that.
Just one article of mine causes all this hassle. Very terrorist stuff that dared to make claims about American participatory democracy, the role of the Supreme Court, and every loophole in the system that got America where it is now. I went to Ground Zero in New York City. I talked to people who lost loved ones there. I interviewed Karl Rove himself about this, when he was in town. We laughed and had coffee and cigars at the Hilton.
He was very polite. He said he’d read my monograph about Machiavelli and bookmarked the blog where he found it. I said Thank You, Sir.
All I ever wanted to do was to write about politics now in its own real terms. I am conscientious objector. But I read in your Robert Heinlein that you can’t achieve peace on your knees. My conclusions were sound in the article. None of it matters now. I am not the first scholar to get kicked out of America.
I can apply for work visa in Paris and clean houses for a summer while I figure out what to do. When I tell them at the Sorbonne that I was 86’ed from America for disagreeing with President John Wayne, ’Sieur Chirac himself will give me keys to the Tour Eiffel, yes? It is okay. I am still alive.
Please, computer... yes, there is the site I bookmarked from last night. Science Fiction. Art Bell and Richard Hoagland and the Photoshops of Mars. They are the “tinfoil hat” people who say NASA doctors their photos to blur out alien ruins on Mars. I say if NASA just used Linux instead of Windows, none of this happens.
It is good story. The tinfoil hats say that the ruins of this “city” they are calling “Cydonia” are millions of years old, surrounded by quicksand. Why would this be so hard to accept? But there will always be unexplained black patches on space shuttles, and Captain Mantell, and all of this.
My advisor calls this Censorship By Inclusion. Everything gets published, so how do you tell which version is true? Most people could care less. They just want to watch.
Now I am starting to sound like I have the tinfoil hat on as well. There is more here, articles from 1992 about U.S. troops in South America commissioned to stop a bridge being blown up. This is supposed to be a wargame exercise. No one is allowed to bring in the night goggles, but one soldier does. She sees three little people blow up the bridge with a weapon that the Special Forces gear cannot detect.
Copyright © 2006 by Edward Morris