Everywhere around the small town.
Agent Orange, contained in barrels,
Were sprayed from helicopters,
As plumes, clouds with wings, rose like a Pegasus of smoke
Storming like a stallion, the wilderness
Caught in a frenzy, unfolding
In the anarchy of an alien landing.
And all the while there were people,
Running zig-zag, cutting across
Each other, and amidst this debacle
One girl ran as fast as she could, to ride a Pegasus of her own,
As radiant as the constellation she became,
To the generations after, defoliating to a chemical agent,
As she made a pact in her heart, to defeat
The monster chimera – a fusion of two herbicides –
And stood like biblical Daniel, who faced the lion
Inside a pit. And that pebble of yellow sand,
Rose to conquer dominions of consciences, lit with an amber flame,
Decomposing grief, as one picture
Stood her time, as the prize scalp of yellow journalism,
When millions of cells of defiant yellow skin,
Became as indiscreet as the full moon,
Transmuting in a matter of seconds,
To become the perfect dystopian muse.
A shot that captured the transparency
Of naked human misery, which
Like the radiant Vietnamese sun,
Still burns local consciences. It seems, even now,
The war is too soon to forget.
There are stray dog pounds more
Hygienic than orphanages – Fact not fiction.
There are orphans beaten by brute force
And thrown objects at, much more than puppies are.
There are puppy faces that with time
Become Poker faces. You can count more dog lovers
Than to-be foster parents. You become lost in the
Labyrinths and red tape for so long,
You know so many squint-eyed wardens
With canes and pot stoned faces, whose
Pet pastime is throwing a punch or painting
The perimeter of the eye, with black fist-marks.
You know so many rundown buildings
With rust-coated metal beds, one anorexic pillow,
And a little glass of water by the bedside.
You shout, you fight, you run into tantrums
You scream with your deflated lungs
Each time the warden drags you by the arm
And punishes you for asking for another helping
Of the watered lentil soup. And all you can think of is
How beautiful it would be to be a dog
To wear a leather collar, marked with a fancy name
Like “Snoopy” or “Lassie”,
Sleeping on a little cushion by the bed
And be loved for who you are,
And not a fleshed crash test dummy
Wandering in streams of apathy
Almost like a plank of driftwood
Afloat in the “system”.
There is laughter everywhere
Like a “Carry On” comedy is being
Broadcasted on TV, when young men
And old, look forward to the next mishap,
The next wardrobe malfunction.
If you look at the world today, you see,
How often celebrities have nip-slips
And occasions when the wind,
Makes the hemline rise to show
More than they should. Carry on
Is a lifestyle now, sometimes
Even choreographed, just so a moment
Is immortalized, like how a lass
With big breasts and bigger buttocks
Becomes in a fleeting jiffy,
A not-so-rare Kimberly diamond.