Express Specials

The Soldier With the Port-Wine Stain

We line the
pocketbooks of ageing men
soon gone, even sooner
forgotten. Their beards
white with years-long past
and hands unsteady, quill in
hand, as they sign our souls
away with tapering smiles,
lined with folded skin that
lost its lustre. My cheeks
flushed with vigour, my hands
restless for purpose. My
heart greater still, beats
within my breast with
wistful dreams of Grecian
heroes and Nordic gods, of
biblical tales, of folklore
spoon-fed to me as much as a nosh. Of greatness, they said, of greatness they still claim as I feel my mortal life source slip away like a potent strand of poison, seeping into the woeful earth; a wife waits for a husband who will never return from this fruitless mission, belly full with a child who is soon to be fatherless. “A port-wine stain…it’s like a
port-wine stain on an otherwise flawless face.” Enlightened souls whisper with trepidation in their hearts and on their tongues as though the gods might smite them in the name of all that is democracy and freedom, liberty and righteousness. So is the façade of democracy.
Those who we look up to for guidance in these unsure times will boast the face of democracy is perfect, flawless at every façade, at every chiselled, fearfully calculated angle. But alas, the populous start to see. They see it like a port-wine stain and so too, does the overwhelming crimson blotch of my garbs resemble, ever-growing. So, tell me, when you see the face of the governing body of this great land and all they uphold as true, this fairy tale they call democracy, do you see a faultless image, like a dream without any error at all, or do you see it? Do you see the port-wine stain? Red and glaring? Signalling like the truth? May the spirit of my forefathers, the calloused over hands of the blue-collar workers, and the sackcloth covered corpses that line the front lines, as I…may you be the port-wine stain on this country now. May you overwhelm the face of this portrait, this governing mass, until none can ignore it, until no man can idolize what does not exist and no woman bend her back for something unachievable. I will never hold my child, but, pray, I cradle this dream within me that one day we shall break this faceless, marred mask which we have for too long deemed our own.


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