Artwork © Sketchman Boris


Canto IX

With consciousness a quasi-reality
In the fluidity
Of changeable electromagnetic
Matter and man
(The particle accelerator
Proving that at a point energy for further acceleration
Becomes mass, and the atomic bomb
That splitting of atoms becomes energy),
Logical explanations
Of Somnolent imagery
Of Aristotle and Freud–
Noise outside a sleeper’s bed chamber;
Repressed inherent needs wishing to be fulfilled–
Are the only plausibility,
The only anchor,
For a rational mind.

But the mind, at best, is a raft adrift
On innate oceans of irrational waves;
And fears of the unknown
Which are waves in their own right, and
Foment ambivalence
Between accepting dreams
As disturbances of the purity of sleep
And something akin to
The Ancient Egyptians’ conceptualization
Of it as the near-death of sleep in the
Absence of the sun god with
All dreams in this state as premonitions
Of what is to come.

While knowing that little credence can I give
Of a dream, albeit a recurring one,
In which there I am,
In this repeated depiction of my being,
Staggering nonplussed
Along long shattered streets
With gaping potholes, in this lower tier of consciousness,
This deluding of oneself in
This supposition that there is a self,
Moving about mawkishly, trepidly, in the vast vacuum
Of debris the result of kamikaze bird drones
Of a Russian species,
This Russian-Persian hybrid,
Programmed to retaliate against us for
Clawing back and regaining what had been
Settled as ours–if it is indeed ours
(Even life that is in us
For the luckiest
Not crushed in the tumult
Eventually leaking out
Of its container, so even our lives
We do not own)
That had plummeted into
Power grids, water utilities,
Apartment buildings, shopping malls
Parks, schools, gas stations, all
Incinerating all–
Charred all,
Parts of arms, legs,
Visceral tinsel,
Every now and then
As salient ornamentation
In the debris,
Credulous I am.

In this dream it is November
And the city is strewn also
In bodies of those who have died
Of hypothermia. There it is,
These city blocks consumed,
The way the giver, the life force of the sungod
Will one day swallow all earthly matter
All all, or what man considers to be all;
There I am trying, in all of this,
To find bits of blown off me,
The nose, the ear lobes, while
Trying to find me
In this madness, wondering
Why, if there is a God,
And this is God’s plan,
We don’t feast on virtue
Instead of feeding on scraps
Of slaughtered animal
And higher animal carcasses,
Why forlorn, we the living
Of what’s alive in us still,
Wander aimlessly
In different directions
Like stray, famished animals,
Why we don’t respire
Love as the main oxygen.

Wandering aimlessly,
In sub-zero temperatures
(Homes, if one has remnants of them,
Protection from winds
But nothing else)
These are the children of god in the
Remnants of the day,
Seeking to see
A blessing, a thanksgiving,
A reason to justify being
When the only real blessing is never
To have been in war,
Never to have killed;
And yet I killed
Unwitting sons,
Pawns of Putin
Who is a pawn in his own right–
Pawn of his god
As Zelinsky, as we,
Are of ours.
Gods, players of men,
Opponents and friends to each other,
Seeking their amusements
In those they destroy, those
Fated to be their creations.

In the smoldering ashes
Clothed in smoke are the spectres of
Those I killed conflated
With integrity incinerated. They
Materialize out of the ruins
Haunting the culpable.
Had we just allowed them
To evade, acquiesced,
As China to Manchurian hordes
Their impact would have been negligible
Absorbed into us insignificantly.
This war, all war, should never have been,
Should never be


Steven David Justin Sills is a literary writer living in Bangkok Thailand

Sketchman Boris is a cartoonist who does comic strips and aspires to create stories and publish more books than what he has published so far.