The mercenary

“Where are you hiding, where have you fled with your wild box full of hearts, and your stream of gunpowder?”
Carilda Labra ~ ‘Eve’s Discourse’

Never a word of where to next
not even some code or a digit hint of duration
and the places you've come away from
they are like watercolour paintings
just the first coat of detail
spots of vermillion
brick-dust, greys and tropical green
thin line contrasts with figures
disguised as shadow

such a sanguine man
in the jaws of Azrael
ricocheing round the bullet roulette
smoke rings the chessboard moves
and you'll trail footfalls of blood
for fistfuls of money
I'm not preaching sanctimony here
we're all hung up on hunger but how do you sleep?

And where?
down amongst the camp followers
in and out of pleasure dens
perfumes that douse the redolence of battle
swift embraces to smother stark permanence
left by a cold brother-in-arms

I'm gathering wild berries in the homeland
boxes of them juice my fingers purple
bubbling pulp for the apple to subjugate
- are you hiding your heart
in the dust yet?

In the Imaginary Garden, Kerry has dug up some archives for  Play it Again Toads

18 thoughts on “The mercenary

  1. There is some steely anger wrapped in the sadness of these lines. One hopes the object of this missive longs for the simpler pleasures of home as much as the protagonist longs for their beloved.

    1. will he die of lead poisoning or surfeit of women I wonder?!

  2. A beautiful quote you chose, and I love your line: “I’m gathering wild berries in the homeland” – among all the other exceptional lines, it resonates with me.

    1. Thank you for digging this prompt out Kerry – Labra’s poetry is hot as Cuba and those lines were rich pickings!

  3. That image speaks a lot. The poem is so vivid and intriguing, each line a door leading to another. So much depth, great to read and warm greeting to you.

    1. Adrenaline vs simple home life too I guess – thanks for your enjoyment Susie

  4. You certainly made meat out of Labra’s quote — a song for every Eve whose Adam comes back smoking from war. How far the distance from beating heart to blade that would pierce it? Deftly painted and searingly said.

    1. love is double-edge sword might be the subcontext here Brendan – an erudite comment as always

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