War or Peace

“One must be cunning and wicked in this world.” – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

wicked and war are easy:
do violence
channel fear and frustration
let it fester into anger and hatred
begin with lies
lie lie and lie again:
        I was home last night (when you were out with friends)
        I didn’t hear you (when you just didn’t give a damn)
claim they have weapons of mass destruction
label them criminals, rapists, terrorists, thugs
ruin reputations – use words like whore, harlot, lazy, shiftless
don’t feel guilty – this is war and truth is irrelevant
be as annoying as possible
never turn out a light
never close a cabinet door
hang the toilet paper against the wall
leave the seat up
leave smelly socks in the middle of the living room floor
put the empty milk carton back in the fridge
drink the last beer
then deny everything while blaming someone else
        I don’t know how that happened, it wasn’t me
        it must have been the kids
        it must have been a crazy liberal
        or immigrants (illegal, of course)
deny you said it
        I don’t know what you’re talking about
        you’re not remembering that correctly
        fake fake fake, fake news
it doesn’t matter who you blame
never take responsibility
pick at insecurities like a scab
especially about their body
especially when it’s not their fault
        yes, you do look fat in that
        your (insert body part here) isn’t (insert adjective) enough
        or your (body part) is too (adjective)
destroy self esteem
        use lots of words like dumb and clueless
        insult something you complimented yesterday
        tell them no one else would want them
bear grudges
never forgive a slight
never show affection
unless you’re gaslighting
or if that’s all too subtle
just let go with a sucker punch
carpet bomb their biggest city

“You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.” – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

if wicked isn’t challenging enough
try love and peace
swallow your fear
let anger and frustrations fade
be honest but gentle
show respect
always put the seat down
hang the toilet paper away from the wall
throw your dirty socks in the hamper
recycle empty cartons
take responsibility for your mistakes
use phrases like
        yes, I did that
        and I’m sorry
ask what pronouns people prefer
if you’re willing to take time to listen
ask about their lives and culture
give compliments for no reason
        you have a beautiful smile
        that was a great job
        I was really impressed with how you did that
forgive, always
hug with gusto and smile with joy
help someone in need
give a ride to the doctor
treat someone to a meal
advocate for justice
love your neighbor
love your enemy

©2019 Kenneth W. Arthur