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Amber Paulen

Black Curse

I see America spreading disaster. I see America as a black curse upon the world. I see a long night settling in and that mushroom which has poisoned the world withering at its roots. —Henry Miller, Third or Forth Day of Spring

Sono ritornata a Bracciano. The sun has spring in it and covers winter’s last bite. The mimosa trees have almost finished flowering already, their fluffy yellow balls bloom against dull green feathered leaves then wither to a crisp burnt orange. I’m happy to be here, in front of the typewriter, distracted by the cats, in our little home.

As happy as I was to be there, in Michigan with family. All would be perfect if they were but a couple hours’ drive away. But, that’s the nature of things, right? We’re not allowed to have it all. We get our doses in pieces; we must create the whole.

On touching down in Italy I felt a great relief exhale over me. Why was multifold: Simon, a nap, no more planes, yellow wild flowers along the run-way, Italy, Europe, the falling behind of the States. Why I choose to live here becomes so, so apparent when I return. I can’t help but to feel a sudden depth of live experience, and though this may stretch back to childhood memories of canals and windmills, there has never been any question in my mind: Europe is so much better.


Why? The quality of life—whatever that means—depends not on an economy run by a handful of greedy bastards, depends not on the boon of insurance, pharmaceutical commercials, not on a homespun ignorance of “freedom” and global power, of an army and guarded borders, that call of democracy, in one ear and out the other. In Europe—minus England—the quality of life seems so wise and discerning, having long past learned the lesson to not take itself so god damned seriously. Where in Europe would you again hear the cry of “freedom” and then see an army marching behind it? Never again.

Along all the frontiers of the United States there stand the tight-lipped employees of Homeland Security, in airports or along the southern fences with guns. They protect something of value which dwells inside. I do not for a second believe that this thing of value is their family, but is an inflatable ideal they have gotten pegged with upholding. To protect one’s family is not to go fanning fires, looking for trouble. To protect an ideal requires brutal action; an ideal, when judged calmly and at a distance, can never make any sense.

What are they protecting?

They are not protecting my family, their family, not protecting the thousands homeless and jobless, without insurance, pallid faces fed poisons in their food and from their doctors. They are protecting the privilege of a few greedy bastards to make another lousy buck at the mercy of the blind masses. It is the ones on top who always get the best service, no doubt.

If it was any different, if it was honesty that laid beyond the borders of red, white and blue, what would there be to fear and why would there be a need to incite fear?

It blows my mind like it always does. I have chosen to live in Europe, and because of that, when I enter the States—the country whose passport I hold—I never fail to get a stinking shit-heap of disproportionate problems. I would understand, somewhat, if the Europeans got pissed off at me or questioned me, but the States? It is not a world police. Europe smiles at me, it likes me; while the States gives its accustomed guilt glare.

I would understand if the States had half of what Europe has, some luxury of the good life it was trying to keep all to itself. But when I see the Americans who live inside that patrolled country, the ones riddled with the shrapnel of corruption, pale skin, strange figures, rotting teeth, bad health, eating that shit food they serve in most restaurants, beaten to death with so much flavor so that taste buds have become obsolete, driving their big cars all over the place, getting more to-go food served in a garbage bag, playing their sports as if sports were the last salvation above god; I am not convinced.

No wonder American schools do not teach history, not European history nor truthful North American history nor Asian nor African. No wonder American schools do not promote art nor literature. What would happen then? What would happen if people were given the tools to think for themselves? They would see through the lies. They may leave. They would demand change. Then there would, by necessity, come honesty. Those tight-lipped puppets would fall, all the greedy bastards would fall and the omnipresent powers that be would again rise to take their places.

Until then, I’m staying here: Europe. Where the broccoli tastes like broccoli and only comes in season, where the bread is always fresh baked and the cheeses always creamy. Where Sunday is a required day of rest and the lunches are long and quiet. Where the old men sit on chipping benches and watch with their wise, wrinkled eyes, life, as it goes by and by.


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