This foul memory is three metres in diameter, a sphere, an eternal cell even when I’m walking free. My back against the periphery, I’m always facing the centre.
For a moment’s indulgent cruelty I’m awarded this torment – a bleak reflection of me.
Is anything fair in hate and peace?
I knew the young prince, kneeling in supplication before me, was susceptible to a certain metal as if it were poison.
I poked him with my spear, my spear of plagues, my spear of power and disdain. The spear of my ancestors, our symbol of royalty.
The prince’s intention: to be my suitor; his crime: to be immature and cocky.
I know now he was merely covering up the anxiety of meeting me in person. I poked again and again.
It all went wrong; I felt vastly superior. I stabbed, then some more, relishing his discomfort as the dull metal burst and festered his flesh. I spoke of inescapable tumours, gushes of noisome fluids, slimes of yellow and grey.
I damned him to weeping sores in armpits and groin, between fingers, around ears, anywhere there’s a fold or fossa – like the corner of the mouth, or a dimple.
I destroyed an innocent.
Disgusted by his wounds and subsequent putrefaction, he fled into the wilderness to spare me from witnessing them. Such grace from one I judged inferior.
I believed this regal weapon contained a spirit, and so it does – many more than I expected. It truly is a spear of ancestors who lie sequestered within: waiting. They’ve entrapped me in this sphere of guilt – the poor prince eternally in the centre and always before my eyes. Each moment I witness his days of decay, from the first scratch blossoming green to him too weak to stand, or pissing pure pus.
Every soul of my line who has held this spear… A part of each remains within. Unanimously they force me to watch the prince’s torment over and over again – and again – the eternal again. Not for the duration of a single blink am I able to sever my gaze from his misery, falling fingers, bird-pecked eyes, the flies and seething eruptions of maggots: his despair and horror.
I cannot stop
witnessing what I’ve done and thus what I made of myself.
Nothing is fair. What twisted god allowed us to hurt each other but not to heal that which we inflict?
The power in this weapon is that of the spirits within; spirits who would torment me before I become sovereign and torment a whole people.
What familial integrity to put such a spear in the hands of descendants and teach us the rules of power: the rules of responsibility. What wisdom to entrap me before I become tyrannically hateful.
Unable to undo my cruelty, I will allow this punishment to break my arrogance until surely I’ll never allow such obscene malice into my soul again – or inflict it on others. To be kind, wise and humble is royal – and I’m far from ready.
©Gary Bonn, 2019