Of the horizon I ride
Blood encrusted in the tire threads
Of ‘fifties cars straight out of interred yesterdays
I am shut out of the houses.
The houses that are left – so many gone,
Only the temple trees
And the overhang of coconut palms,
blue sky But red, red, red Soil, soiled
And the bloodied silence Of faces,
hooded from joy and grief
Red in the palms of our hands
where we set them On the ground,
Minefields and vegetable patches punctuate
The tinkling of bicycle bells of young women
Hair braided with red ribbons
Overriding the spoor of men with guns
Everyone a hero or heroine
Never mind which side you’re on
Only the red badge of red to
Pin on your breast.
Where everything else is red, pulverized dust.
the name they know you by
Is just the strewn alphabet silhouette
On the art deco cinema they struck with all the rest,
Which now projects the matinee show
In some neverland,
where red is not the blood
In the Palmyra,
but just the Technicolor
Of a simple love story
with braided hair girls in half-sarees,
that peninsular invention,
On tinkling bell bicycles and the men who seduce them.
That was yesterday,
when the houses completed the temple trees,
Not now, which is the time of red,
In a betrayal of color.