• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 02

Triptych for the Undefeated

First Person

A motif for death, decay
And what else?
Colours act like defiance:
In your face
So white it must be
Said the clairvoyant
But we dealt in polychrome
Not for us just monochrome
A lifetime friendship has formed
With Iblis, née shaytan
The shaman within
Shall chant
For we are delinquent
Even if we pretend to sing along
Radical even if we are left unformed
Our bodies floating in postlapsarian floods
Our faces smeared by prismatic blood
Crushed by our inability to conform
Beautifully resplendent against your disgust
Our traces wrenched out from lost sites
Adorn the permanent collections of your historical sleights
Marking your territory like a mindmap on the inside
The hurt doesn't cost us as much outside.


Triptych for the Undefeated

Our absence commutes your life sentence
Into a substitute punishment
Transcribing our endgame
Into something that doesn't yet belong
Though from us, long gone
For what cannot belong is a void
And we exist in far flung places
Resurrecting completions.

It rains out of nowhere
Eyes spread out like cloud formations
Across the terrain where pasts graze
Even in low visibility, we see
Neither in surrender nor chase
The glade clears out like an unshackled steed
Making all the other facts skin deep
In the brightness that follows a certain defeat
We extricate trickling silences into a long term lease

The game is on us
We are the game
We have hunted you like the years
That you hunted us with fears
A spell is cast like a clampdown
But the white cube is a black box now
Where things settle even as they disappear
Making a memorial;
A final frontier
For the signals of the crash
Shall be transmitted
Long after we're dead.


Triptych for the Undefeated

Second Person

How can your hands not
Poison ivy
I guess
For you carry
The remains of thorns
Inside your skin
Of abrasions and bruises
From the work
Grueling but forever in a grind
Time doesn't stop for you
Your indentured history
Makes servitude seem a luxury
And you stay wry and rough
Like firewood
Gaunt, emaciated and tough
Like a dry stub
In the farms where you work
For pittance
Nothing as such
Not that much
Except the hands cut
That aren't afraid of earth
Of seeing death in dirt.


Triptych for the Undefeated

Third Person

Within the spaces of lost desires
Where a leaf turns into a flower
Spreading protective wings over
Vulnerable days
Embryonic and then still-birthed
Using prompts from the lost tales
That surface
When the unsettled earth
Spirals into the axis of lost things; mostly unsaid
A cataclysm hovers above the festering days
Like a civilization wishing to be captured
Before the camera whirrs away elsewhere

The survival of memory
Is that breathing space
When the victims pull themselves out
From the rubble of an earthquake.