Sifting through college-ruled sheets of topsy-turvy Arabic notes, I wonder if perhaps I overextended myself in signing up for such an ambitious extracurricular activity, especially when the whole world is so topsy-turvy. During my last class I managed to squeak out a sentence in Arabic. I tried to say, “I dance from the river to the road,” and accidentally said, “I dance from the fire to the road.” Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Both are absurd statements. I wonder if I should declutter my house by tossing these nonsensical Arabic scribbles, or if I should hang on to them, maybe use them to practice for the next class. To discard or to keep? That is the question. And while I’m contemplating that, here’s another question: Are human beings capable of not collectively committing mass suicide in a nuclear war? Should we have faith in humanity or should we declutter the Earth and just throw in the towel?
Of course we need to keep faith alive for humanity’s sake. At times my mind turns morbid because my friend Tania lives in Kiev. She sent her mother and her little boy to Poland, and she, like a badass, is staying to fight. I’m so worried for her. Apparently, while I was fretting about my friend, I was neglecting another friend. I just received a text message while studying Arabic in the bathtub, because why not? The text read, “I feel you’re not respecting me.” Well, sheesh. My apologies for being so distant. It’s just that I’m worried my other friend will be martyred along with thousands of her brave countrymen and women because of the cruel actions of a deranged dictator. The strength and resilience of Ukrainian people is truly inspiring. I felt their spirit when I visited my friend in 2018 and wrote the blog entry, “Ukraine’s Fight is Our Fight.”
I wonder why I turn to foreign languages during times of distress. I meet with French tutors twice a week, and then there’s Arabic. Before that, there was a deluded Russian conversation partner who bragged about being told he spoke like Putin. (It’s funny the things men think will impress women.) Perhaps learning languages reminds me how badly I want to travel the world again. The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, and yet there are lunatics like Putin who prefer shows of military strength over verbal communication. Talking any sense into him is an exercise in futility. Now that my friend is caught in the crosshairs of this mess, I am unreservedly invested. Everyone who believes in democracy and freedom from demagoguery has skin in this game.
Scenes from Dune and Julius Caesar have been playing in my head. I’m hoping this year’s Ides of March do not disappoint. Putin turning his back on a supposed comrade is a fine way for him to go, but I feel poison might be a more befitting exit ticket for him. Let him suffer in the same brutal fashion as the people whose executions he’s ordered. Let him go out like Muammer Gaddaffi. There’s no drainage pipe in this world rotten enough to hide the likes of Putin. The scene from Dune in which the Duke of the House of Atreides bites down on a poisoned false tooth and emits poisonous gas replays in my head multiple times a day. That exhale has become a symbol of hope. If only someone could take this bastard out with a single breath.
I’m currently drinking a glass of bourbon barrel-aged cabernet sauvignon, listening to old-school Madonna. I’m grateful for my level of security and also ashamed of my comfort. My friend, Tania, who is serving her country, is similar to me in many ways. She is bookish and she loves languages too. In fact, she is a translator. Earlier today, I was reading poems from a press I remember she likes: Button Poetry. I’m hoping the flames of this invasion die down soon and that I can visit my friend again. I will bring her the entire collection of Button Poetry books, and we’ll drink cabernet sauvignon together, although as I recall, she is more of a beer drinker. I’m going to keep this image in mind, as well as that inspiring scene from Dune.
Slava Ukrayini! Glory to Ukraine!