Benjamin Suzuki: journal – II

21. On the Oregon Appellate Court

before nomination as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

At home, Salem, Oregon

During the 2006 Lebanon War

Ghandi in Lebanon. Stick of bones carries his stick, passing another body, pooled blood pillowing its head, responsibility just beyond the horizon, he’ll get there yet, beyond his sight the way lies, beyond his sight someone awaits, someone of no nation, no race, no faith, closing doors so rectitude will not wander off, someone who will take responsibility as he did, burden emaciating his form, waiting for someone, yes someone, to notice. Responsibility is notice, not turning from the crushed bodies, from the wails, amputated limbs, homeless families, amputated families, limbs on invisible sinew gone, amputated faith, the remain teetering, forward, falling, rolling over things unseen, struggling to stand, to teeter again.

Our faiths are in intensive care, yet we force them to their feet, to walk, to travel with us, don’t leave, we could not go on. Faiths mauled by survival, no finesse, just raw certainty remains. Life abstraction lived, error disallowed, only certainty lived, our certainty, ubiquitous our never the same.

Stick of bones carries his stick, walking south, toward responsibility, toward horizon, walking faster, hoping to become horizon, hoping to outpace himself, to be waiting, beyond horizon, waiting for his arrival, responsibility finally found. But no. He is dead, like Rabin, hope expunged by essential belief, belief so essential it needs no hope, is suspicious of hope, knows, wants, abides only abstraction lived. No one to notice this dead man walking, unending fast without efficacy, no one to pause, wondering where responsibility might lie. That the purpose of his fasts, to make you see responsibility jumping from person to person, giggling at its world-wide enduring prank, see me here, no, here, no, over there, you’re so slow, I’m behind you now, pushing you forward, any forward will do, now your right hand, now … Stick of bones made responsibility stop, for a moment, stop in him, grabbed it, clasped it dearly to his life, wasting away in the effort. Incredulous responsibility finds no escape, the portals of necessity closed, in terror cries out, game all gone. In that cry the world is transfixed. In that cry responsibility is no terror, responsibility suddenly everywhere, always has been everywhere; the game was ours all along, no one else’s.

Stick of bones carries his stick, walking south, crossing the boarder of acceptable memories, dense hands of story thrust out to block his path, to turn him around, seek responsibility from where you came. Dead hands encouraging his southward stride are gone, but he continues south; story cannot touch what he has become. He walks south, past memories no longer lived, past false identities, true identities, past bravery, love, copulation, ritual, joy, betrayal, crimes and miracles unnumbered; past boarders of memory as dense and wild as brambles, tearing flesh to declare their existence, walk where I say; walks into lands where Lebanon has never been heard. Still he walks, walks on water, walks through tsunamis undiscovered, tsunamis never reaching land, into cold no life can bear, into desolation beyond naming, no one there to name; still he walks, arriving again among humans, walking through minor atrocities, through fortitude, into the closing eyes of sleep. Still he walks, arriving at Lebanon from the north, his point complete. To find responsibility, be still. But no one notices; he’s been dead a good long while.



From the Journal of Benjamin Suzuki

22. On the Oregon Appellate Court

before nomination as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

At home, Salem, Oregon

Hamas forces the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, declaring journalists protected in Gaza, July, 2007

The hydra heads snap at one another, impaling necks, blood spattered on thirds, everywhere barks and howls of preeminence, place, each place, a surfeit of justification for any action. Bark answers bark, neck movement forces neck movement, cacophonous struggle to make a people manifest, doomed struggle, Plato battling chaos, never close to victory, never quite losing. In this thicket of singular importances some heads coo, neck entwining another to rock it into comfort. This total is Hamas, and we would destroy its body–if we could find it. But no matter the number of ariel drones, no matter now many satellite photos expertly labored, all we find are heads, necks, necks long, tropical vines never touching ground, always twisting in new direction, every direction but down. We demand the Platonic solution of nation, but theirs is another metaphysic, we reduced to the unending decapitation of unending heads.

Better we look to ourselves and ask where our own nation lies. Palestine could not be without us. The suicide bomber could not die without us. This Palestine thrives because of us. We know this; more, we want this, thrill of superiority too addictive to abjure. To order an ariel bombardment is an act of God, nation of faith rising to the heights, spying for its Creator, finding only greater height, for God transcends all distance, mouthed anywhere to be everywhere. From the vacuous height we descend in fury; if the Creator refuses us His presence in the heights only we can ascend, we shall make a people, make in His image. We shall become that God which refuses to be seen, our name mouthed everywhere. Perchance in this self-triumph we shall bomb Him.

And we do. God is creation–not the petty wastings we make, but what comes to fill those voids. God is down there, on the ground, where we cannot go, beneath all the rocking, sinuous, dodging, darting hydra heads, God waiting for us to create Him in our anger at His withdrawal. Foolish West, to withdraw is to create, we puppets create for our God, create our God, create the only way we know; as war made us, we gift them so civil war, of new kind, marvel of human progress, reduces, seemingly reduces, the hydra heads to two. Dangerous. If these maul their necks will God become unhidden? Perhaps full bloomed hydra protects us from pure creation, small violences to avoid the unbearable.

Teeth snap at each other. Fatah, rewarded for its failure, pays civil servants, but not those affiliated with Hamas. To egg the fight Fatah changes the designated weekend; Hamas, of course, refuses, so affiliates will man the barricades on different days, official acts to come thereby multiplying in illegitimacy.

From such desperation comes principle, another face of God. BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, kidnaped several months, is freed through Hamas coercion against the perpetrating clan. Journalists, Hamas announces, are guests, potent word in Islam, invited to report what they see. They don’t mean it, of course; but nor do we. Principle is birthed of lies and lives by ignoring that birthright. Desperation for power, for recognition, made this gamble, desperate isolation after the purging of Fatah from Gaza.

No matter. A head sheathes its teeth, neck stretching out, beyond its brutal circumstance, to touch something it is not, touch, not destroy, terror held back for later day, and later day, not today, is all we have. Reach back, from their perceived dark were we lie, reach back; ignore the caked afterbirth of circumstance which fowls all deed, reach back, reach out: in that no man’s land of touch justice resides. Not ours, not theirs, it alights in a world beyond circumstance to dive back in our worlds anonymous. We–us, them–a transverse, a bridge, a perch for the gathering of strengths we neither know nor see, strengths for neither of the mouthed us’s, material perch for rest, for continuance. Reach out to desperation, for me are desperate too. Reach out so justice alights, not from us but to us, from some unrecorded circumstance, best unrecorded, its gift a new we, an ephemeral we, hands clasped despite their origins, this brief we the abiding definition of humanity, humanity a species with no members.

Let the terrorists be afraid. Let them work harder–for they will. Hamas will fight itself, neck splitting once more into multitude. As shall the West convulse in multitude, until terrorism becomes a neutral word, applicable to all. This is why justice dives back into circumstance, to make new we’s which refuse our battled labels. Reach out, where for an absolute moment something exists beyond winning and losing. Reach out beyond all soiled and gift once again a face of God to an ephemeral humanity of we.

And Alan Johnston is home.

[Editorial note: President Abbas ordered Fatah civil servants resident in Gaza to remain home, refusing work. His change of weekend in the West Bank forced Hamas affiliates to either refuse a Hamas directive or identify themselves to Fatah through recusancy, precipitating their firing. Suzuki is wrong in asserting that “illegitimate” State acts (e.g., issuing a marriage licence, etc.) multiplied. Rather, Gaza acts became always illegitimate in the West Bank].



From the Journal of Benjamin Suzuki

23. On the Oregon Appellate Court

before nomination as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

At home, Salem, Oregon

Militant cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi dies in the Pakistani army’s storming of the Red Mosque, Islamabad, July, 2007

Martyrdom is inevitable. Social chasms so wide that the coerced jump fails, tumbling into a darkness unseen by we spectators, only the dead end of fall, our certainty, apparent. So many chasms, our links with others desperation to avoid fall into darkness which fades our memory in others. And thereby chasms are made. Pulled by some to keep secure, others become distant, obscure, our lives filled by the consuming pull of avoidance, chasms just beyond our step arise, sidewise, but we know not such a step of final discovery, not so much forbidden as unthinkable, unthought.

Social quakes abound, ties severed and fused, chasms formed and closed, closed perhaps to crush in the closing, crushing fall midstream so not even body remains. History is social quake unending, bodies landfill so others may walk where once was fall. All that anger, rage, disgust, despair, resignation; stones for later steps, no, not even that, stones underneath the stones upon which we step, stones fused into solid earth, bodies no longer bodies, history always with us, ground upon which we walk.

I view my martyrdom as inevitable now. No terrorist rage to strike randomly, just no strength to jump complete. Facing chasm, the concept of jump becomes foreign, some long gone faith exchanged for certitude. Used by history because history, dross for landfill upon which some other world is built, this martyr, unpleasant beard who would have your life his own, who would have God walk the streets, kept in His proper place just like everyone else, this martyr is not for God but us. Time shall stroll over his remains, children hop in unanticipated joy on the ground he makes, historians wander unknowingly over the subject of their speculations, martyr affronted by what he has wrought, new victim of the simple truth that action, once performed, belongs to none.

He falls unendingly, air thick with other falls, becoming the very air for future falls. Enraged as he dissipates into ether, ambience for martyrdom to be, later condensing into ground for the mercy of finality; enraged he knows too late that martyrdom has no doctrine–only chasm, release, and fill.



From the Journal of Benjamin Suzuki

24. On the Oregon Appellate Court

before nomination as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

At home, Salem, Oregon

Some 70 bodies are found in the defeated Red Mosque, an additional dozen or so found burned, the only females among the latter; suicide attacks begin in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, July, 2007

God lies rapine, surrounded by His Words, Words too potent for speech, yet spoken. God raped by the desperate necessity underlying procreation, His creation, His creation using Him to create, thus He creates, God both male and female in this singular act, “He” His blinding mercy, mercy of ignorance bestowed, as we perform His will. These Words beyond speech were made for speech, were made to quake the land–and they do. All are drenched in words, the mind a dull instrument left to itself, words positioning each step, words blinders for the races of necessity, words head covering for the darkness of absence which lets us sleep. They rape God to educate themselves, Red Mosque womb, now giving birth. Within the smell of death symbol cries, swathed in memory, carried to its parents once afterbirth is decently removed. So many parents, proud in indignation and retribution, determined to see their child do well. So many parents, grateful for reason to be, for a brutality risen deep within to match the brutality which has slapped their lives into this moment. Congratulations on this healthy child of humanity. Yes, healthy, like all the ones before, all the ones in their nows.

His Words are education, education as descent as any, promising a surety of action which comes only through impressed conformity, mosque pulsing beyond its confines to extend its secured space, present space secured only if it extends, only if it directs fitful resource and body into itself, no different than any market expansion. They would remove the condensed hour of media where our avatars contend with the mundane passions of all. That which sleeps us refreshed for the coming day drowns the Voice of God, tears at His certainty, a certainty yet remaining at shows end. Palliative for post industrialism burdens those yet to make their world. So they march out of paradise into densely entwined growth of no god, prepared to burn and clear for later growth, burn and clear no matter the people there, those locals hired as avatars of confusion where the Words of recovery are clear. Much as we treat them in their proto-heavens.

They march out to seed us, one of many rapes, we thereby made risen God as well. God raping God, only the creation matters, only the child to come matters. What wonders yet unspoken will this union make, wonders later spoken, new seed for rapined God.



From the Journal of Benjamin Suzuki

25. On the Oregon Appellate Court

before nomination as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

At home, Salem, Oregon


Suicidal Creed. Shame brutality into more than it can be. Make words mean more than has ever been. Push understanding into the ambiguity of unarticulated possibility. Let me stand a fool, refusing all your hard won certainties. Let me deny hatred’s earned place in the mind, deny the sneers of destruction which make our steps this way and no other. Let me refuse to define a person, execute none for the moral crime of presence. Let me hover among words too facile for import, hover above the ruthless flow, flow made of minds without mind, flow escape from the condemnation of mind; let me hover above all efficacy, hover as the flood always present engulfs yet again, hover, to later alight among debris, there and then to discuss the meaning of words.



From the Journal of Benjamin Suzuki

26. On the Oregon Appellate Court

before nomination as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

At home, Salem, Oregon

A Hindu holy man, claiming his left leg can cure, is found on river’s shore, leg missing, bleeding toward death; a cured man had gratefully returned with liquor, got his redeemer drunk at night, then removed the leg.

Take salvation into your own, become fount of life and hope, carve the world into your need, make Being yours so you can be. Infinity stuffed into a leg, an impossibility which cures. Did it blind you as you sawed, divinity escaping its self-made trap, you sawing in the purest dark, sawing all that’s left to you, limb crying at the escape, finally bending to weight of belief endured, snapping off, fuel for another man’s warmth, you groping past divinity, missing it, just inches away, unknown, hands encountering dry vessel, all that ever remains.

Carry that leg as your blind man’s stick, all walking done, tap-tap-bump, precarious stumble of another, journeyman in a world unseen, another artifact of faith in divinity lost. Artifact bumps into artifact, each announcing the presence of the other, each unaware of the other, divinity gone from every place it sat.

So Jesus of Nazareth turned to the woman who touched him, who grasped his power to endure, and said It is your faith which cures you, not I–your faith. None listened. We pierced him, burst him, and have been looking for divinity escaped ever since. We know only how to look, not find. Holy old man on river’s shore, life draining from severed leg, you are not alone. There have been others, there will be others.



From the journal of Benjamin Suzuki:

27. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

At home, Salem Oregon

Following several days of rocket launches into southern Israel from Gaza, in which one Israeli dies, another having his leg amputated, Israel launches extended attacks into Gaza, killing over 100, end of February, early March, 2008



“Praise Allah, my family has been gifted with its 10th martyr.”

Father of a 5 month old infant killed in the Israeli offensive.

 Munificent evolution, to make such giving life. Tenth sacrifice altered upon the only God encountered–society of men, never seen, always touched, society pulled by sacrifice, made by sacrifice, 10th martyr, debt you must pay, debt you too may come to hold. Close us together and we become society, caprice of uncalculated altruism making us into something beyond men. The outside asks how we can send our young to martyrdom, how we can martyr life’s hope. We do no such thing; martyrdom comes to us, death’s clown, making life beyond our ken, no more us than you. We are your great experiment, Israel, as you are Yahweh’s.

People of the Book, you live Torah anew–your Book, but ours too. Allah is Yahweh, we both God’s experiment. God evolves us, you and I. I have my tenth martyr; what have you?



From the journal of Benjamin Suzuki:

28. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

At home, Salem Oregon

Bhutto is assassinated in Pakistan, indirectly through a suicide bombing, November, 2007

Pakistani Creed

I call for risk, for the exposure of public speech, for that which is beyond any single to give, for that which jumps beyond any risk made concrete folly. I will walk the public spaces to make a public place. I will risk as terror risks, my death only a pause which keeps living astride. I risk their necessary explosions, and prostrate your help. I call for your presence so we may mouth just words, the hearing risk incarnate, to be the greatest damage that can be done to explosion.

We will not explode; we will grow beyond what they would let us be, carpet of grass moving outward from its edge, inviting the walk of others, insidiously framing even their steps. We will sprout among them as they rage, as they despair, inviting through the breeze which lets us move outward not one path, but many, paths beyond our own articulation. We will burn in their grief yet still grow to lighten their steps, the storms they make pushing our hope into uncharted space where the tumbling seed is hope manifest.

Come to the vacuum of fear. Ask yours if you dare risk this hearing. Understand that if you come yours risk as well. Negotiate the contours of risk. Do not let the suicides monopolize risk; they fear you will realize they are too small to hold risk exclusive. Terror cannot defeat terror. But risk can. Terror is petty risk, dodging hope through the momentary certitude of explosion. We will never dodge risk, but madden terror by ever assuming the cloak of uncertainty. We will transform the terrorists’ weapon into unfathomable defense.

I will walk into the public vacuum and never disdain its emptiness, if such endures. I will speak to empty fields, again to again, never faulting your decision to stay apart. I will speak until snuffed out, speak to emptiness if such there only be; it is not my speaking destined to endure, but that inside and out of the peoples of this land.

Come to this space only if you and yours have agreed to risk this endless talk beyond any mouth to form, property of no household, moving from people to people, that which none may own. Those who attend are risked by their background lives. Negotiate among yourselves how to risk; with each hearing there will be unseen others who tremble their hope, tremble, but do not forego, deny, hope. Such tremble is that upon which public hearing stands. Nonviolence is not public dance, but household life.

Negotiate a new nonviolence among yourselves; that is where nonviolence rests–not in confrontation with other, but in resolved contention within households. Many will die. Nonviolence is nothing without the prospect of death. The certitude of explosion says You love life, we love death, death their final, ultimate fortification. Let them so exit. We love life, so risk death. Let them exit. We will remain upon their exit.



From the journal of Benjamin Suzuki:

29. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

At home, Salem Oregon

A suicide bombing at a Bagdad market kills over 50; passers by stop, dumbfounded, holding body parts from the carnage, March 2008

Hold a part of world, some world, no longer a world because a part, worlds seamless, without parts, our dissecting always of what was, not is, is always a leap beyond, was a fine way of telling us what is allowed to be. Dissect the world and control it; worlds become world, collection of severed parts, redundancy as admonition, lesson, prophecy. Hold a limb or less, wonder at the greater, silent, severances, at whole bodies adrift, waiting to be attached to something, perhaps waiting to drain sufficiently for death some years hence.

Severance is our knowledge. Sanctity lost for knowledge’s sake, so many parts wandering the world of worlds, worlds permeated by parts, made into parts thereby, then to explode themselves–or absorb intrusion, parts flash dead then vanish underneath new, inscrutable skin. World ever hides, unless it joins with you. Joined, we find ourselves a part, a severance across worlds, we dying whole in one to be in another, then to return, in a hour, day, or more. Among worlds we be, knowing death and life, able to hold ourselves in hand in wonder of what was yet will come anew. We are all suicides, daily ventures in explosion, but of a walking death which reverses from was to is.

Knowledge is not meant for holding, no more than the body parts of world. Knowledge is a series of little deaths, born by repeated exits into life. We bear these entry/exits by sharing the load, everywhere dead parts wandering, everywhere the dead returning to, so reform, what lives.

The bomber’s knowledge is perfect, final, and he would deliver us unto perfection as well. Knowledge complete is inanimate, everything dissected, nothing remains. You love life, we love death. We love God, and God is death. Life is rebellion against God, against the closure which certainty bestows. The creation of life is flight into dumbfounded ignorance, the wrath of God on tail. Tuck your tail between your legs, avoid God’s snap, and vanish into the undissected.

Passers by hold parts of worlds, dumbfounded–ever so. They may wander years in the knowledge, hoping for release into a living never known, a being beyond themselves, where what was is forgotten, yet picked up by someone, please, for awhile, by someone willing to endure death awhile, finally placing it down, hoping for another death to come passing by.

So God rages as we employ His tool against Himself. What else could make God wrath?



From the journal of Benjamin Suzuki:

30. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

At home, Salem Oregon

A Palestinian gunman enters a Jerusalem yeshiva killing 8, wounding more. The yeshiva was founded by a rabbi who taught settlement in what was ancient Israel redemptive; the school remains linked to some religious life in the settlements. March 2008


Fight the enemy–fight oneself in another place. Return becomes exodus, exodus, return. We know you, for you have made us as you. We fear you, for we are you. We too seek redemptive certainty, the certainty of what is ours, the certainty of what ours is. Who but you could understand how I assume this weapon, walk down streets quiet with the false promise of private sleep, to enter this repository of fervent words whose authors, long gone, cannot defend themselves. Instead I find youth groomed for intimate innocence, well fed youth, cradled to joy this non-war ever shatters. Here, in the cradle of night when our battles of day slumber, here you refine the calculus of redemption, words piled adroitly to be shipped elsewhere as day’s fuel. You have had centuries to refine redemption where with each step surround becomes yours.

I spill your blood to no effect, squash a few hopes, make grief so common we rehearse for each tomorrow. Some will say I come to bring the misery of Gaza into your homes, to shatter the silence which military superiority gives, to fight by body while you fight with metal, to show our arms can be as long and subtle as yours.

No. I am just a man, no great conspiracy, save the conspiracy of hate which fuels our lives, we the fuel for hate yet to be. As you appropriately snuff me out–for this too is why I come–ask how I got here, how I became here. One too many stories heard, one too many tragedies felt, one too many humiliations lived. As you, I have become a people. As I puppeted my life, I puppet my end. This Adam returns to its Maker. We too have our Book, we too have our writings, we too have words of redemption, redemption which pushes forward because we can not quite push against our own as uncaring necessity demands. We too. All the bombings, all the massacres, all the rockets: we too.

I come to exit in a home never lived. I come to meet my Maker, my image, my self. I come to suicide. In this we still differ–son not quite the father. Perhaps I come to exit what my Maker has made. Do not fear most me. I am still different. Fear most those who will not die so readily; they are your final image. Fear these yourselves, as I came to fear myself.

Gift God’s blood, grace without prejudice, no respecter of individual or outcome, only process is, the incalculable triviality of our ends essence of His grace, grace which cannot know it is being used, use too small to be. Destruction circulates, bringing all home, grateful servants to incomprehensible purpose. There is no place of righteous protection, no place to protect, destruction freely given and taken.
God suffers no prophet to endure overlong, oblivion in battle final equality bestowed to unseen creation. The gift of violence is removal from endurance, from emblem of unwanted creation. A gun later, a bomb now–infinitesimal mercy in the differential for those who exist only as a limit. God does not love; He vanishes life into seamless continuity. We are but revealed process, individual as fictioned as a Euclidean point, defined as the intersection of unfathomable orderings of minutia which are not.
Until a prophet comes refusing death, refusal atomic existence, no longer a construction of infinities but denial of where it is. Our prophet has remained unscathed thrice from God, God not noticing, only protection possible. Infinitesimal our cloak, our hiding place, here dogma is born, religion instantaneous rebellion against God, points lined up, falling into the spaces in between, falling into oblivion from one another, as good as any explosion. Instantaneous rebellion instantaneously quashed, this the faith of centuries.
From the journal of Benjamin Suzuki:
32. While on the Oregon Appellate Court
At home, Salem Oregon
Mortar fire from Gaza again closes a transfer point for transporting gas into the territory; United Nations food relief warns it will have to suspend deliveries for want of fuel. May, 2008
I have become a people, disciplining myself to the purity of rage where the world condenses to single purpose. I reveal the sinew of the strangling hand, create quick clarity where others nurture lingering suffocation. You will die anyway–let me show you how its done. No stupefaction of decades, just enough handout to stumble about, not enough for purpose, life, unending experiment in the death which is not death; no stupefaction but afterburn of hope, futile flare, new mythology in desolation–chance to make of death a grandeur. Stubborn life will make its end a portal of evolution.
I starve your children to make you great in my eyes, to release avoided despair propelling all life unseen, fear which gifts narrowing sight to snuff others out in proper advance. My people, myself, each of you, each of me, essential, loved in fall, ground upon which others can stand. Fall–fall to make a ground, to raise the remnant above the walls which make us, to make them see, to let us see, to let me see. Die to give me efficacy, I reverse parent, living off those I would save, this their salvation, grace of meaning. Social life has become predation. You make us, we make ourselves–then, then, we make you. We are known by our dead, nothing but what they have made us; so I take control of death, first step toward making my maker.
From the journal of Benjamin Suzuki:

31. While on the Oregon Appellate Court

At home, Salem, Oregon


Upon conclusion of Qur’anic readings at a meeting of the society for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a man proffers a gun as donation to the speaker, blowing himself up as gun is taken. The speaker survives unharmed, this the third attempt on his life leaving him unscathed. Afghanistan, May 2008

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