“Compared to war; all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.”George S. Patton

The bone-dry Persian Gulf heat has sweaty index fingers on the fruit of America’s hands slipping across hair triggers mounted on floating space age kill machines set to deliver silent death from the sky over another religious backwater whose people still hack enemy heads off with scimitars over some incomprehensible nonsense that probably never happened in the 12th century. In the aftermath we’ll likely have delivered more Hatfield’s and McCoy’s style vengeance, killed and maimed more innocent Syrians, than the devil of Damascus Assad wrought in the obscene and sadistic heat of his chemical weapons attacks.

Unlike the heated anguish ridden and tormented moans of outrage over collateral damage from drone strikes that kill far less than errant rifle, mortar, cannon or war plane fire; it’s not likely we’ll hear much heated fervor over our morally indecent and disgusting offensive; drowned out by shouts of moral equivalence; cynically justifying our atrocities by claiming it a lesser sin compared with allowing the criminal power to have its way. Our atrocities, in this way, become acts of good, not evil. There’s a lot of heat there and there’s going to be a lot of smoke and we’re also about to cause a lot of fire. The ghoulish, slobbering, soulless arms merchants, whose blood stained profits increase with every heated exploding blast of gunfire, can be heard popping champagne corks all across America. And so it goes.

The heat in my northern Midwestern hacienda is the kind that only wastes the foolish. As Rudyard Kipling opined in his classic poem Gunga Din “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” and that fits here like a hot oven mitt. It’s been close to 100 degrees for a week now with humidity in the high 70’s. I haven’t left the house in three days since just walking out on the porch is to enter an overheated sauna. The spectacle of heat lightning, apparently misnamed, is to have a ringside seat to a strobe light extravaganza that illuminates the sky from midnight to high noon in a shooting star instant that continues for hours on end.

This heat surpasses the thirsty South African bush, the sweltering mountains of Columbia, the monotonous desert of Las Vegas, the arid high desert of California and the parched sand beaches of Miami and even the dead calm middle of the sun scorched Pacific Ocean at the equator; all places I’ve roasted, boiled, cooked and wilted in the intense passion of dead summer.

There is another kind of heat, that emotional heat that turned me to vapor as I burned joyously transported watching Donna leave. The sway of her liquid hips and hot meal of tits and gravy hypnotized and gave rise to warming euphoric ecstaticism that caused the kind of delirium only topped by triple doses of high strength codeine or sailing on an ocean of heated breeze on San Francisco Bay.

Some say we can never repeat the heat of compassionate surges that accompanies the enraptured moments of first love; while some wish we could douse the flames of hell that fry our souls when the wonder of that marvelous miracle phenomenon evaporates. This seems more a masculine experience since men dominate because of physicality and thus have mercy; where women do not. When it’s over for a woman, it’s over. You’re not getting an appeal. Men are left to burn in their skin.

It’s a burn that leaves a blister. Even men who’ve mastered the things that make men loyal and perhaps dangerous; an inability to be bought and the absence of fear of either jail or death, are not immune to the pulverizing loss of love. Often those who walk into a room carrying that rare contagious calmness that all the great ones have; surrounded in an aura of that uncommon weird light, protected by their armor of innocence; when faced with the damage of that particular hot weapon of personal destruction, the loss of a good woman; burn to a crisp .

Men invulnerable to the classic onslaughts of jealousy and betrayal and fear often have one terrible weakness. They have no muscle for loss; their dignities felled by a quasi-religious masochistic flagellation of having loved like a fountain and left with nothing, become incinerated by the heat that conquers their extraordinary anachronistic romanticism. It’s a personal hot war of the heart, first person singular; as deadly and vicious as the collective war we are once again about to embark upon, and when we’re in it, either the euphoria of first love or its demise, all other forms of human endeavor; shrink to insignificance.

It was the heat from our sun that shone on amoeba in primordial ooze, catching fire, causing us to evolve over thousands of years that made us the feeling, compassionate and loving mammals that will save us. It was the heat of oppression those fifty years ago today that caught fire and caused men and women to demand equality.

It’s the heat of scientific progress that discovered steam generated power that now threatens to fry us all asunder as our planet suffers super-heated global warming. Similarly and perhaps ironically, it’s the heat in men’s hearts, striving to survive, that will warm our collective consciousness and chart a path out of that seemingly intractable dilemma.


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and Culture.net and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

3 Responses to Heat

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    As a friend, each submission deserves a 10 rating. As professionals, as artists crafting a fashion, I give HEAT a 7.3 rating… mainly because of continuity issues. The juxtaposition between Syria and miserable sauna in Wisconsin didn’t fit. However, the remainder of the piece was beautifully written, complete with colorful metaphors. Thanks for sending, aside recent attachments. Much appreciated.

  2. Falcon,
    The piece is about HEAT in all its forms; just a few that are mentioned and explored in the work are the heat of war, the heat of the day, the heat of romance, the heat of the planet.and the heat we generate to survive. Therein lay the continuity.

  3. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

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