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Francie Lynch Nov 2023
Those red-hat doffers
Are the blood-thinning vermin.
Chris D Aechtner Nov 2021
Husks of graffiti-covered factories
melt into the industrial wasteland
like dried-out scarab beetles clinging to the Sphinx.

The pioneers who pushed up the buildings
might have believed in a limitless potential for the city as they applied a dream tourniquet,
then injected their sales pitch
into the collective stream-mind:
polished rims, leather interior, dual exhaust,
the rumble of supercharged hormones
awkwardly fumbling with buttons, clasps
and zippers in the back seat,
while drive-in speakers crackle; the sunset
is crimson-cheeked from watching how unashamedly night spreads herself open,
showcasing the void between her thighs,
and how cold the stars can sometimes seem

from a distance.

Fate was reflected in the rearview mirrors of cars named after the city's founder,
who, 200 years prior, had been called a scoundrel and, "...the most wicked man in the world."

The vehicles helped propel mass ambitions  
towards highschool romance, employment at the factories, 2.5 children, electric ranges, flamingo lawn ornaments, Sunday drives after church, followed by an afternoon cocktail,
two for the Missus;
all of it made in America,
by Americans,
for Americans.

Then it stopped.

The ghost of that energy can still be felt
haunting buildings left hollow by the foreclosures and bankruptcies
of cursed business, haunting litter-strewn streets that resemble a shanty found in any nowhereville, anywhere, third world conditions wedged into the first.
Do the addicts in the crack-shacks,
or the johns who prowl beneath a burned-out neon moon that hangs above a doorway on Clark Avenue,

feel the ghost of that energy?

Sometimes it is barely discernible
as it waits to puncture veins
and inject its poison—
a redesigned drug
made from ancient origins—
while motor-music echoes
between lithium-grey walls,
ears weighed-down  

with memories of chrome.
8 19 2016

First published in SWITCH Poetry/Prose No 1,
10 31 2016
Chris D Aechtner Nov 2021
Sun Tzu realized that razing an enemy to the ground can lead to long-term negative results for Empire, especially depending on that which fills the vacuum left behind. That can be observed in contemporary times with ISIS having filled the vacuum left behind in Iraq and Syria.

When showing too much presence in outlying territory that had been left alone as a neutral buffer between two opposing Dynasties, that can prompt the other to become nervous enough to attempt to mitigate an issue that it regards as a possible growing threat.

Also, regardless of location, imposing too much open hostility upon an enemy can eventually lead to the enemy becoming emboldened enough to rebel against the openly oppressive Empire. When imposing overt tyranny upon an outlying territory in what might appear as an immediately successful operation, that can lead to using too many resources to maintain that position in that way. The potential of troops can be lost when stationed as a permanent standing army in an area located far away from applicable future need; that holds true regardless of available technological advancements in transportation—from defended shipping canals and heavy calvary, to cargo planes and aircraft carriers.

Those are a few examples of possible problematic logistics when attempting to assimilate an enemy.

Within his diabolical brilliance, Sun Tzu expanded one of the main prongs in the “Three Pronged Approach”, injected the heavy metals of dark arts psychology into something that already had a foundation of psychology: Enforce will upon the enemy without the enemy realizing it, to the point that the enemy will help you to accomplish goals against itself, relishing in the effort with a sense of duty.  Subsequent experimentation led to permanently changing the face of warfare overall. Ever since, successful (subjective, depends on perspective) Empire, empires, nations, governments, and corporations use the tactic.

The Trident-Tongue of Perpetual Psychological Cultural Warfare:

The Target: Village surrounded with forest: society: a clearing in the woods:

Infiltrate the village as a messenger who bears warning of a powerful, dangerous enemy making its way towards the outlying territory where the target village is located. Sow fear. When enough villagers are afraid, offer protection against the “common enemy”. That protection is 1/10 of the resources necessary for an open, direct enforcement of will. Explain that the cure, the guardians, require lodging, food, and other basic needs as small payment for services rendered. Use mindgames on reluctant villagers.

When the village agrees, and your presence becomes common place—"normalized”—begin to plant ideas in the villagers, and that includes sowing doubt on your presence. The villagers begin to divide themselves into opposing groups against each other. One group believes that there isn't an approaching enemy, another group calls that group selfish, as going against the betterment of the whole. Another group suddenly believes that it isn't good to eat something that their ancestors had eaten for centuries. In the ensuing chaos, poison some of the village children. There are many fairy tales that include broken families, lost children, and attempts made to poison and eat children. Poisoning/destroying eggs in nests is a way to cull goose populations.

Once the enemy villagers are too broken to properly run the village, announce that the invading force has been spotted in a nearby valley, and that the villagers need to hide in the forest surrounding the village. There are bamboo enclosures waiting in the forest. Explain that the enclosures will offer defense to the villagers. After the villagers enter the enclosures, lock the villagers in the enclosures, and begin to ridicule the villagers for having fallen for the trap. Mock the villagers, spit on the villagers, laugh at the villagers. Remove pre-selected villagers from the bamboo enclosures, **** and ****** the targets in front of their caged families and friends. Have another group that consists of individuals sporting insignia, weapons, and armour that differ from the first group, pretend to scare off the first group. Release the villagers from their enclosures. Explain to the villagers that their former captors lied over there being an encroaching invading force in order to trick the villagers into the enclosures, and that you are willing to protect them against their former captors. Overjoyed, without being prompted to do so, the villagers offer much more payment than before for services rendered, so much so, that you 'sell' their own products back to them.

The villagers believe that their gods sent Sun Tzu's death knights in shining armour to them in an act of divine deliverance.
The villagers mindlessly follow and parrot every command and slogan issued forth from their supposed protectors.
The villagers don't remember village life prior to having been enslaved by their divine shepherds. The stages of demoralization, dehumanization, destabilization, crisis, crisis mitigation, and normalization have been completed. The villagers have burned the bowls in their skulls, are empty jugheads to fill with idea-petals of poverty, subservience, sickness, and death.

1/10 the amount of usual resources were used to secure the area in a sustainable manner. There weren't valuable troops lost in battle. Weapons and armour didn't need to be mended and retooled. Empire doesn't need to worry over revolt from the villagers, and the village works for Empire. When there is need to retool or replace weapons and armour, the village blacksmith does so in the belief that he is helping to protect the village against a common enemy.

The enemy villagers are injected with a new passion for a while, but break again under the strain of hyper-conflict that perpetual psychological cultural warfare causes in an infected individual. Use the good cop/bad cop psychology (the template and blueprint for contemporary politics and political systems) in various ways until Empire inevitably begins to devour itself. When Empire devours itself, the outlying provinces are the first to go as Empire implodes to protect its core. At that point, Big Brother had been selling the village's goods to caravans to spread the goods throughout neighbouring provinces. The wealthier that Empire becomes, the more that the consistently poorer target villagers offer to Empire: A tell-tale sign of an incoming Great Reset uncoiling from off the horizon, slithering down into valley basins filled with current moments.

Gaslight the villagers, blame and shame them for everything, squeeze them to their last guilt-drop before setting the villagers ablaze.

One of the Great Deceptions within the Grand Illusion is the delusion that there is constant need of the worker. A worker is useful in various ways in different seasons of bloom and wither. Within universal change, there are constants: The peasant doesn't bow to the King without bowing to the Queen before being ground into grain for winter stores, just as the worker honeybee drones are cast from the hive during winter—relish their death with a sense of duty fulfilled on the frost as snowflakes kiss their wings.

The broken villagers are useless to Empire, husks of their former selves. In the scenario of a neighbouring Dynasty approaching to feed in death knell, lock the villagers in their homes, and set them ablaze as decoy-beacons in the valley for the encroaching Dynasty.

The burning village is located in a bowl of ash surrounded in a steep, jagged-toothed mountain range. As the enemy Dynasty descends into the valley, you head westerly towards the third largest bastion in Empire's outer rings of defense.

Sun Tzu didn't come up with the concept on his own:

He retooled a trident that he found leaning against a scorched bamboo enclosure located in a long-forgotten forest.

                                                        ­     11 12 2021
I understand that it isn't a poem.
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