Artwork © Sketchman Boris


War Papyrus Canto V

Whatever in the fiery force
Of the conflagration of circumstances,
The wars, the cataclysms, that
Come my way,
I will accept what is. It is me,
It is mine, smelted to and of
The sinews of me
To which old self is annihilated, and
A new self, unwanted,
Is there nonetheless,
Less ingenuous,
More invincible perhaps,

Or, all specious, seemingly so,
So brittle the human frame is ultimately–
Determination just the de rigueur of
Bluster, of bravado, of a being
That may not last
Much longer,
But for now
Thinking himself
Alloy of it
(Sui generis before,
But more gravely, steely nuanced
More resilient, than then), maybe.

Without impetus or animus
In tremendous heat and force
That from destruction of old
Shape galaxies
Have shaped me.
As such,
I shall not hide,
But celebrate, the
That have brought about
The alloy of me, but
Ever cognizant
Of the injustices
Of individuals snuffed out altogether
By overwhelming force–
Weak in youth, in old age, in infirmity
And succumbing
To one too many tumultuous changes,
To a God that cudgels its weakened,
To make way for the new
Built from those ashes;
And to obfuscate its savagery,
Allows for a few of the strong
To be destroyed as well
In natural disasters
And social dilemmas – –
Those whose muscle
Is just more vulnerable tissue to shrapnel
Or just to one simple bullet–
With slain bodies of these sons of God,
These rotten sons of bitches,
Decomposing like rotting trash,
And thus, not a God of my choice,
Not a God of my selection,
A God of my creation, for sure.

The Dead, the fallen,
Which are
Dust and debris now,
Cannot look back on me,
Cannot be of any comfort for me,
Or any of those of us “alive”
In this half congealed state,
So I shall, I say,
Slide forward upon their rubble,
The rubble of they who once were–
The quantum question of
The subatomic particles of being
Being nothing more than incipient
Attempts to come into being but
Never fully emerging
Notwithstanding —
I slide amidst the relics of the times
Without looking back
For to look back,
To linger one moment,
The sands of time
Would avalanche over me, and
Then where would I be?

But how can this amputee
Be content with what is–
Yesterday being the same
As that of yesteryear
And today and tomorrow
No different from each other–
Time (past, present, and future) marred,
And every time I see even
Low rising
Branches or twigs of a tree,
Substance that with picked
Overgrown grass can
Be plaited
Into rope and noose
And can precipitously accomplish
The end of me,
I will be tempted to do so,
And not just in times
When pain is inordinate
And resilience is tepid–
Death coming eventually
Irrespective of
Whatever I do or don’t do,
So hardly a question of ethics
(Gun down thousands
Like a homicidal lunatic, and
Like cockroaches, thousands come back–
So how would death at my own hands
Be an ethical violation
In the scheme of things,
In this eternal birthing,
Eternal bearing, of the universe);
But there is strength in
Saying that I will live out this day
And tomorrow,
Tomorrow, I do not know.
Mutilated in war,
I just want to accept
The circumstances that are
For what control
Have I on what will be, what is,
Let alone what was?

But creature of war that is man
What also do I want of peace,
Hating as much the Euro Americans
As the Russians as I do, as
Vengeance and retribution become me.
America and Europe
Weaponing Ukraine indirectly
Instead of being in direct confrontation with us,
Albeit edging incrementally,
Begrudgingly, into that space, thus
Being dragged along,
Ostensibly not indifferent to our plight, but,
In so doing, or not doing,
Costing even more lives nonetheless.

Coronavirus, monkey pox, man
–Vile concoctions at His hands
Out of hiding, not fully alive
Unable to replicate
On their own
And yet able to strive.

How this former being,
This living/non-living entity, me,
Will continue, and
What its continuation will entail,
I do not know, but
Alone I will be; and of her,
The one
Who I entertained the thought of
When in battle,
No, there is no word from her now,
No real expectation from me now, for
What could she see in the
Convalescent that I am today?
She would not care to know me,
And love her as I did, I did not ever know her–
Love nothing more than merely
The need for beauty, for harmony
In a global society
This ugly and
In a natural course
This savage.

And there is
In this world,
With its myriad changes
Its omnipresent
Minatory realizations in
Every step of life, that
The force of life
Can so easily haemorrhage
From every orifice, a
Desperate need for belonging,
For arrogating another,
By claiming
A scarcely known being as
“My girl” when
Owning inanimate objects
Let alone the animate
Is impossible–
The mind making,
Arbitrary and absurd
Ownership claims
Without end.
As for her ownership
Of a disfigured figure
It is
An equally implausible dream.

All that I have
Is me
For the length
Of time I have that.
I am the spilled paint
That has rendered this abstraction,
The alloy smelted
In circumstances.
No, I will never be at peace.

Coronavirus, monkey pox, man
–Vile concoctions at His hands
Out of hiding, not fully alive
Unable to replicate
On their own
And scarcely able to survive.


Steven David Justin Sills is a literary writer in Bangkok Thailand. His book of poetry can be found scanned into the Internet Archive.

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.