Artwork © Sketchman Boris


Canto XVI

Lucky are they in this gathering, this

Gathering of terrestrial chimpanzees.
Their protein powered hungerings a malaise,
Their shake-down even the likes of that which might
Be thought of as monkeys, the weak, given
If this were not so fierce, celestial rights,
Yet high branched enclaves are slaughterhouses
Which of course they would be, the world not roused
Beyond the forms of pragmatic concerns
To which all are subjected, but all ravaged yearn
Ever more for more than to survive and strive
In paucity and uncertainty, alive
At the complete expense of the weaker,
Albeit at the pickings of the stronger,
All predators, all vulnerable beings,
An inadvertent layout worth fleeing
(If there were a possibility of
Fleeing, a reality beyond the fleeing).
These chimps summoned to slaughter by feelings
Instinctual, each working together for mass killings
Of these sui generis beings
Subject to their horrific onslaughts,
Their work a juggernaut, with goal
To pursue, unwittingly, their roles
To make living creatures viands, which used
For their sake, are vital supplements for
Physique more burly, mind less confused

–I’m confused
–About what?
–Everything. The ground itself seems unstable
–The world is turning
–But normally to us, so small in this world, it shouldn’t
          seem so. It’s slipping.
–What’s slipping?
–Sanity. Sanity is slipping.
Ravaged speck of a man that I am
On the streets having nothing to do,
Not speaking to anyone day after day,
It’s no wonder.
–No wonder, while sleeping on the curb, you cry out
          each night to your dead mother,
So unbecoming of a soldier. So counterintuitive if
          home life was as abusive
As you say it was
–Ten percent sweet in ninety person bitter creates a
          sweet taste
For the bitter. One, in the bitter-sweet, attempts
          to move the hands of time
Backwards for the rewinding and rerecording to a tune
          of love. It is always that way:
The young boy within blaming himself for that which he had no
          control over
– -Yes, clinically insane, don’t you think?
–Not really. I don’t know. So little, even of oneself, known
          known for certain.
I have begun staring into space for long durations, you know.
– -No, I don’t know. You say you don’t speak to anyone,
And yet here we are speaking to each other.
You are speaking to me right now, aren’t you?
–Well, it is hard to count that, don’t you think? ….
Or don’t I think, as you are me
–I don’t think you would be afraid of losing sanity
If you were insane
–Maybe. In my judgment, I guess,
I am not insane: slipping, I said, not slipped.
But then insanity probably doesn’t happen immediately.
–Incrementally. It happens incrementally, insidiously.
Insidious is this invidious shrinking and fading,
This diminutivization of self.

–Sometimes it feels for me like falling down
A cushioned perennial staircase,
Bruising first from slight lacerations of skin and veins
–Then hairline bone fractures, you no doubt imagine, and
Pulled ligaments and tendons progressing to full fractures,
Crushed ribs and the crushing of lungs like an adagio for
          the accordion
–Something to that effect, I think.
–But it is perception that’s broken. Only this.
Pathetic it is, don’t you think, that to only feel as you
You need yourself mirrored from other perspectives, but then,
When you do that, it isn’t you you gain but…
–A few hours ago
Along the river,
I saw a fish caught in natural debris,
The current dragging it into the delta
–And you, a soldier were afraid?
–Bravery is just a defense mechanism, protecting
          the self from fears.
I need work. Going back as a soldier is better than this.
At least when working within a group
One does not feel his own insignificance press against him
–You need to be one of the chimpanzees in a monkey hunt?
–More like needing to be one of the rival chimpanzee gangs
          fighting for territory
–Then work
–I don’t have legs
–You have one
–And even if I were ambulatory, you don’t just pick up a broom
And start sweeping the streets on one’s own,
An employee is employed by somebody.
–What do you want from me?
–Help me
–Help you to what? To stop the game of the linear sequence of events
Like perfectly arranged cards that suddenly get shuffled randomly;
To stop words from being adulterated or perhaps cleansed of the artificial construct of meaning, Thereby becoming characters and designs entirely pointless without external meaning Superimposed on them? No, I wouldn’t dare.
–Everyday I don’t know if I am going to have enough
Strength to not keel over
–Mentally or physically?
–Billions before you keeled over. Why should you be different?
Accept your nothingness without false bravado
False pretense.
It’s all that is left for you.

Metamorphosis fait accompli
The soldier cannot attempt to be
Anything other than the soldered alloy
(The Frankenstein monstrosity the boy)
From the flames of war that no volition
For violence, violence nonetheless
Becomes his mission, but impossible

To do the work of killing without legs


Steven David Justin Sills is an American literary writer living in Bangkok Thailand. His Master’s degree is in great books of the Western canon (a humanities/classical studies emphasis) and his first book of poetry, An American Papyrus was published by Professor Clarinda Hariss at Towson State University in 1990

Sketchman Boris is a cartoonist who organizes art events in Bangkok, Thailand to bring people together while trying to make Comics and run an art magazine with friends to create a platform outside of the social media algorithms.