(Ed. Below is a letter to a friend written after some Sherlock Holmes, with a few pictures added to.)

 

Dear Matthew,

 

It has been some time since my last correspondence and for that I must apologise. Like so many degenerate vultures who pray on the talent of good men like yourself, I write to you out of need. However, let me indulge first in the graces of a gentleman and in so doing, I may give you a full account of the case that afflicts me.

 

Copan ruins maya

The entrance to Copan

Since last writing we travelled from the Honduran capital east, stopping at the Mayan ruins in Copan. This was an invigorating moment. Carved with consummate skill out of the jungle, the remnants of the town now sit pristine and untouched by the sin of sodom that characterises modernity. The only touch of contemporary hand is to be found in the bird cages that serve as a half-way house for an array of tropical creatures between the sanctuary that has nursed them and return to the wild. Copan was my first experience with the setting and mushroom catalysed art of indigenous culture in Central America, it has had an invigorating effect on me and left a strong mark.

 

Ruins at Copan

Forest reclaiming the Palace at Copan

From here we travelled east into Guatemala, bypassing the capital and heading straight into the mountains. We took up residence at a language school in Xela that provides support for indigenous social movements, particularly defence of women’s rights and land reform. This was an interesting time, I was lucky enough to have a fine teacher whose discourses upon the situation in Guatemala I enjoyed greatly. Needless to say, the people know their history, as the poor and oppressed everywhere do, much like you and I know know our own lives. The Yanqui from the north is well known, perhaps better known there than he knows himself. As well as anti-imperialist tirades, we also enjoyed exchanging facts, dates, and stories of Amerikan atrocities. Most moving at this time were lectures given by indigenous people retelling their own personal experiences from the struggle for land reform.

 

Guatemalan bus station

A bus stop

Being in the mountains, the temperature dropped sharply at night and several times I went out dressed like an idiotic hippy ignorant of this fact. Inevitably, given the seven or eight months of summer weather that had preceded this, I became ill. A severe case of gut rot convulsed by body. After two days of fever, I moved to a lovely hostel with a roof terrace that looked over the entire town with panoramic vistas of the mountains that encase it. It was a most congenial place to convalesce and in spite of the discomfort at the time, I look back on it fondly. At some stage I may write up the specifics in greater detail, under the title, On the Form and Tactics of Shitting. I feel it is a most neglected subject, upon which a monograph would be most useful and certainly provoke further works. From the ankle grabber to the choo-choo, it is a repertoire of variety delivered with thought and skill. I must say, that when the time came to leave we travelled on in fine spirits.

balcony of hostel overlooking Xela

Hostel balcony overlooking Xela

 

Sadly, as we travelled north our path crossed more frequently with pampered, ignorant, and demanding youths from the United States. This culminated with our single night in Cancun before flying out from there to the belly of the imperial beast. I won’t burden your soul with the disagreeable stain on mine from these experiences. Suffice to say, that many of these capitalist swine do not think or feel at sufficient depth to see that the purchase and ruin of human life is an ugly act that resonates with sadness. The lies of the empire are both convenient and comforting, if you choose to ignore the truth.

 

view from the tower at Tikal with view of forest canopy

Mayan tower piercing forest canopy at Tikal

Our time in the US was productive and we enjoyed our travels there as they went. The place itself is difficult to bear. One is placed under an unrelenting barrage of propaganda and arguing against it is difficult, both for the effort it requires and the depth of delusion one must penetrate. How to explain to someone who has never left their own country that, in fact, Americans have no more “freedom” than any other industrialised nation. Much less if you are poor, sick, or have dark skin. Or, how to have a constructive conversation with people who will nit-pick incessantly on semantic ground? Is Guantanamo a gulag, as I say? Does it matter what you call the place you put the kidnapped people you have deprived of any rights and left to die in terrible states, or is the point that it exists and no one can deny that? It goes on and on. It is without doubt a sick culture. One where the level of doctrinaire action has reached such a pitch that even extremes seem normal and the language is destroyed of meaning or truth, all buried under rhetoric, lies, and agitprop. Of course, one must remember that a large proportion of Americans realise this, as evidenced by those principled souls, well over half the country, who do not turn out to ratify the legitimacy of the imperial state on election day. If only they could be mobilised for something that was not just dignified, as their silent scorn of the system is, but also constructive. Somewhere in the lies is stored the possibility for truth. Maybe it is in the democratic myth being turned on itself and made true. For now though, war is still most certainly called peace and the sanctity of their arms makes death a gift of salvation for the oppressed.

 

Jerry, Janice, Jimmy in San Francisco

They aint all bad: Jimmy, Janice, and Jerry in San Francisco

Having passed through New York we have proceeded to enjoy a rather charmed jaunt back to reality via Reykjavik, Amsterdam, and Prague. As I write this we are in Denmark, visiting with Henry’s family. We will return to London in a few weeks and the promise of reunion with your company is one of the redeeming features of this movement. I greatly look forward to seeing you and the lovely lady again.

 

Peace and love,

 

Josh

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