Monday, October 1, 2007

You're going to get hit -Jimmy's speech

"Looking out, I see a sea of black," Jimmy shuffled from one foot to another. He was a little nervous in front of the funeral crowd. He had presented academic papers in front of larger groups but this was more daunting. His words seemed more important, more final.

"Marc would appreciate your presence. I will start from the beginning. Marc and I grew up in a rural town north of here. We spent most of our boyhoods herding cows, birthing calves, milking cows, and slaughtering cows. On our days off our pious parents would bring us to the local church for moralistic diatribes from the preacher. Those days were tiresome additions to the daily sermons we got from the old man. As we hit the years where every boy thinks he is much more man than boy and most men think he is more boy than man, Marc began his troublesome career. He began to steal some of the milk and cheese. He stole little bits of the market money. He would drink the moonshine that our father brewed. He would get into fights with other local boys. To say that I was an innocent during these days would be ignoring the horns on my head but my involvement wasn't as outrageous. He was arrested a few times. My mother wept and went to the priest. When the priest spoke to Marc, Marc spat in his face. That night Marc and our father got into a brawl. Our father is a much larger man but Marc had a fire in him, perhaps it was some of the moonshine.

The next time he was arrested he was sent to a boys reformatory in the city. While Marc may have acted the street tough he was still intelligent. He could read, and write more than competently as was evidenced in his weekly letters home to me. His letters during his stay were formulaic.
'Dear Jimmy,
Things here are okay. This week only one black eye. From one of the guards not another one of the boys. My fist went deep into the depths of his belly despite his girdle. I've been bored though as they've kept me segregated. They've disallowed me books, and the small privileges afforded to those of us lucky enough to be society's outcasts. Most of the other boys are from poverty and are meek, petty thugs.... I am engulfed in ennui...'

So his letters went. His daily interactions in the reformatory were a condemnation of the Bastille of boredom. I never have fully agreed with Marc's politics, nor have I fully disagreed. I've always been empathetic though. When you live so close to someone that happens. No matter how strongly you may disagree with them you still see them as human. They are still your brothers, your sisters, your cousins, lovers, neighbors, they still retain that human connection.

His departure from the reformatory also marked a departure from our home town. No longer would he milk cows, attend church, honor and obey our parents. He moved towards the city where he could survive. The next few years were spent avoiding the law and engaging in petty criminal activities. In hindsight his earlier activity foreshadowed this later activity. The scale merely increased. Along came the scaled repercussions. He spent more time in prison.

There he might others who called themselves Anarchists. Women and men who rejected God, the State, Capital. Men who sought the violent overthrow of the reign of things. It was the anarchists who would influence him the most during his later years. The years that most of you know him from. After his last stint in prison he went to work as a bricklayer. One of the Italian Anarchists had helped him gain the job.

He worked for a while as a bricklayer but was let go after he failed to show to work one night. That was the night after his first bout. Believing in the armed overthrow of the state Marc went out to train as a boxer. He was too poor to buy a firearm so he had to create his own guns. His first bout was a disaster. He danced around the ring. His opponent moved in flailing. Marc was caught with a right cross to the face that not only broke his nose but knocked him out. When he finally came to in the dressing room he asked for a bottle of whiskey. He drank half the bottle of whiskey and said that next time he would; "get that son of a bitch."

He refused to work a regular gig after that fight. He stayed on my floor. He slept when he could, ate when he could, and trained all the rest of the time. I'd never seen him so possessed. He'd rise early in the morning and run then would go to the boxing gym. He'd spend several hours there, come home, eat all my stores of food, sleep, then go back to the gym. When he came back in the evening he would gush about his failures.

"Today I was working my jab. I butterfly it too much Jimmy. You can see it coming a mile away. I don't shoot it straight out, I bring it out.... Agh, my infighting is awful. One good shot to my skinny rail of a body and its 7,8,9,10. Ah Jimmy what am I gonna do? For every little thing I do right, there are a million things I do wrong, wrong, wrong."

Despite his hours of training and picking up the occasional dock work to keep himself fed, Marc was still social. He was a lively participant in the local anarchist group. I've never attended those meetings, as I stated before I'm empathetic but not in agreement with Marc's anarchist views. All the same he would pour fourth with the same amount of zeal about the discussions that went on there.

"Fucking Sasha, both Audrey and I agree. You can't allow the market into a post revolutionary society. Albeit planning out a future society is like attempting to count the clouds in tomorrow's sky, but one thing I know if we exchange goods, if we engage in even the most petty of mercantilism, the beast of capital will rise again. Bah! The future economy must be one based on the gift."

Marc's amateur boxing career didn't go far, mainly due to his untimely demise. His career record was 9-1-3. He knocked out five opponents with his right cross.

The last time I saw Marc was the evening before he died. He came in with a worn face. He said little. He read for a while then went to bed. After putting in hours at the gym Marc was hit by a bus on his walk home. He was killed on impact.

Thank you all for coming. If you'd like to say anything you have five minutes each. Please come forward according to your seating placement.

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