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I Could Punch Nazis

written by: Eli Garcia

 

Yesterday I saw a video of some Nazis beating an old man in a parking garage.
Not grainy historical footage, but jerky HD from a cellphone.
Taken somewhere nearer, and dearer, to my heart.

A crowd of people watched, stricken.
In their minds, perhaps, they rushed to his aid.
In my mind, perhaps, I rushed to his aid.

With an imaginary crowbar, snatched from an imaginary car, I rush to his aid.
Use it to beat aside their fists and sticks and splinter the arms that hold them.
Use its claw to scrape off their smirking lips and shatter the rictus beneath.
Swallow them whole and let them scream in my belly.

They flee, those who can, so I tend to the old man.
Help him sit up —are you ok?
I’m so sorry.

Just trash, trash like them, empty bags, discarded, caught in a whirlwind.
Whipped past our faces, snapping angrily, and then gone.
Dragged away to chase their own tails.
Dragged away by their own tales.
Round and round.

Today I heard about some guys who go around beating Nazis.
I dreamed that my soft body might be hardened into a weapon.
A thing to smash at them until we all break and bleed.

Martial arts, weapons training, first aid, assault law.
A quick search, a list of trainers.
A little practice, a little training, a little callus.
Put it from my mind, watch it creep back in again.
Round and round.

I should know better.
Violence is a circle.
I know better.

Hate doesn’t trump love.
There are better ways.
Ways to be better.

But this way
I could punch Nazis.
Cut the hate out of them,
fling it on the floor with their guts,
feel their bones pop beneath my boots.
Hang them out on hooks to thrash and char.
Small in my fire.

I could be more hurtful than they.
My hate could burn hotter.
Round and round.

It’s not the same thing.
It’s not.

Eli Garcia

Eli Garcia

I live reluctantly in Southern California where I alternately celebrate and dread the slow but constant change that becomes so much more pronounced in my life the older I get. My family includes my wife, who is my light and my storm, and my new daughter, who continues to surprise me daily with both her existence and her ability to stretch my capacity for love, and for terror, into previously unimagined territory. I occasionally garden, which I’ve learned to treat as a study in controlled chaos, only without the control. So, my life, like most, is generally full of hopes and dreams, successes and failures, aspirations, trial and error, peeves, inspiration, ignoring of mortality, doing stuff, not doing stuff, and occasionally standing in the backyard gobbling radish pods off the bush with my very excited toddler. A pebble on a beach with billions of other pebbles. Sometimes I write.
Eli Garcia

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