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The Great Wanka Warrior (An Epic Poem Revised/re-edited)
–A Poetic Adventure
The Road to Unishcoto
The Great Wanka Warrior
Ancient Wanka Ceramic
Hawks over the Valley
(An Introduction to the Wanka Warrior)
All men who live by war, present
A kind of hawk-like appearance
(as well as, a steadfast stance).
His, whose body showed strength,
Combined with endurance
Smooth shaven, features being more of
The sun, than of nature–
He was the Wanka Warrior.
His dark eyes were cold,
Under his feet, the land moaned.
He was once told, “In the ranks of the
Wanka Warrior, there is always a place”
(for a Saber-warrior like He).
“Yes!” the Wanka Warrior exclaim
(with an elastic voice) “…but what do you mean?”
“You cried out in the stress of the fight
(battle)–you smote your enemy,” said
the chieftain, adding, “you’re quick
To anger (there was an instant of
“Very well,” said the veteran warrior,
“I seek an enemy!”
“Whom?” inquired the Chieftain?
“The plague of the Valley!”
“You know, this man is a mighty general?”
“It matters as little as if he were a
brickmaker,” held the Wanka Warrior.
(It would be another year before the Wanka Warrior would take the road home from his last great battle, The Road to Unishcoto.))
Unishcoto, a familiar way of spelling the ruins, can and has been spelled in a number of ways, for example: with two words and a “k”: Unish koto, and/or with an “H” Hunishcoto)).
[1 through 4]
I was born in the Mantaro Valley
I came from an old Wanka stock–
Race whose characteristics
Were inclined towards violence–war
We battled against one another…!
In the mountain country–I lived
A valley surround it, it is where I spent
My boyhood, a physical contest it was!
Yet all one breathe of life to me…;
A restless life, thus, I became a warrior.
One must understand the risks,
The uncertainties as a warrior;
You must be utterly fearless, wild,
Primitive, and so I became, I was:
All of this, aloof strain, and more!
As a warrior I could expect nothing,
Only fury from my aching muscles:
Grasp, raw skinned knuckles, aching,
Staring down my victims, doom:
My murderous blade sharp at its point.
I learned death in a thousand forms
And due to this, I was partly dead.
In my life, at this time, I can but reply:
Continual violent action: imposes!…
Oversimplified, and now I die…!
I was captured once and left to die
My wife (but not then)) I shall not name))
Fumbled vainly at my feet: I had been
Physically tortured, she held me upright
She cried, and prayed and cried…!
Worthless, yet she had pity for me
And now she waited vainly, hoping…
Wringing her hands, knowing I was well
No more a shield, thus, I was free to:
Fight again; whoever saw such a woman
You will say perhaps, it is not possible
For a man like me, to fall in love–
She was indeed a blinding flame,
A deafening sound in my chest–
A sound I could never put to rest.
For a long time I was senseless, lifeless,
Longing, but healing in my sleep, to love
Never really expecting to find it, yet:
Once found, she disrupted my life…
Yet, somehow, we became one.
I always thought I’d return to her
My little yellow flower of the mountain
“I shall return,” I decreed…! Freed
But vanquished, bloodstains kill…
They do not play favors for anyone.
In my mind, as I came to her–
I could visualize through my eyes
Her features dazzling, floating;
It is but now a transcendent vision
Yet strangely familiar as I walk…
As in any war, he found his minds-eyes upon the dead, his eyes trying to close (from the demised, the dull, the dead that laid now behind him, — leaning on (whatever he could), forward and quietly he advanced: he tried and tried to wipe out their memories, the battle, the blood, the gloom, yet he recalled, remembered all the shapes, shadows and colors of shades of doom…his lot in life)!
Stiffly in their cast mode, bold and cold, immortal faces shrinking: he got away from them… shook his head, kept his eyes straight ahead!
He called it hopeless surrender; he would have to learn how to be un-cold, for the world could not afford a warrior with true affection (sorrowful it would be in battle)) but he was coming home)).
In his journey back, he lost all account of time, dead feet walking, un-hurrying, he clinched his hands, a snarl on his face: one way or another, he was coming home to his wife.
Their features showed–teeth, faces bleached white: incapable of further movement, he made odd sounds (shaking his head up and down)) he was dying)). His breath hissed almost equal to the wind, as he recollected, all the death smells: wordless, he sank inside, to a silence of crudeness, yet he kept walking talking, wailing.
(Parts one through five)
The Great Wanka Battle
By the Teeth of the Moon
Four thousand warriors battled this night
Two-thousand Wanka warriors would die
Along the Mantaro Rio, in the Valley
And they had equal weapons and all
And many of the warriors were hidden
On both sides of the Rio were Wankas
The Wankainos and I (the ancient ones)
We, kept up our incessant fires, spirits
But with scant avail, for we all knew
Slowly the enemy, the foe crept closer…
Closer and closer they crept for accuracy
To the edge of the Rio-spying they came
Hid in the ditches along the Rio, and trees
Held their positions, waiting, just waiting:
In short order–, hoping to wipe us out.
Suffering terrible, in the cold winds
It would have been madness to swim
Across the Rio at night, but we did
Suffering terrible from the cold winds
Slowly we crept closer to them…!
Thus, we crossed the Rio at night with
Only the teeth of the moon for light;
Arching down now on the ground
Blue blades by our sides–determined
Bizarre figures–spears at our thighs:
Battle along the Rio
Once on land we rushed the camp
In-between fires, dogs and cats…
I heard voices vaguely familiar:
“Then I slashed off heads–they rolled
Grinning down the hill to the mud–“;
Panting, blood stained, fierce faces
Led only, by the teeth of the moon–
Flamed eyes, fumbling in our haste,
“Back!” I heard someone say–
Instantly my ears heard a distant roar!
The shooting of porras snarled by–
Fire arrows singed my hair
I was the last Wanka warrior to die:
In this chaotic war: blindly we fought
Some bodies smoking–burnt crisp…
I saw the remnants of my comrades
There was no escape, none–none at all!
We walked into a devouring path –
I and I alone, escaped to the Rio…
By the teeth, and face of the moon!
I raced through the water’s blackness–
I suspect, I was confused, mumbling:
The erratic moon, bobbing above me
Then I reached my side of the Rio–
There was the spy in the hollow log…!
In the Midst of Battle
In the midst of the Wanka battle
Massed thick with Wanka bodies
We were all fighting like demons
The battle was a gasping deadlock
They could not thrust us back…
We slashed, heaped high their bodies
Then when we were exhausted, they
Came in full force–hand to hand
Men stumbling among the dead–
Flesh and blood, and thunderous roars!…
Wanka warriors–we were everyplace
Everyone madden to a frenzy (hidden)
They–our enemy Wanka brothers,
They were hidden high in trees, logs, ditches
Desperate melee, we gave way!..
The battle streamed out, throughout
The camp, and down to the Rio,
Trampling feet, shouts–with blue steel
Hand to hand, came the vengeance:
All foes in the same Valley and Rio…!
Death (in the Midst of Agony)
On we died like locust, so thick in battle
So broad we could not spread our arms,
And once tried, our: wide, busted wings
Fought on (with broken arms and knees
We fought on); consequently, being
Repaid–we died in pain, agony.
Red, red blood was the repayment–
I could not pity them, or they us…
The battle sight dazed us all
Some cowering in terror, and me, me–
I was in the painful midst of Agony!…
Hacking and slashing–warriors!
I avoided chance blows–somehow,
I slashed and gashed, a path to the Rio
I swam swiftly through the currents
My bronze limbs against the water-walls;
Now across the Rio, glaring in on me–
I found a path, where the wind blew…
The dome of the moon -shattered
In the semi-darkness: my bronze limbs
Crushed, with pain and now the rain…!
I heard in the distance, Wanka iron lungs,
And pounding feet like triumpht drums–
They said, “We conquered the fools,” yet
They, like us, are from the Valley–too,
And some day they will be conquered also.
Of this past cataclysmic frenzy
That took place a day ago–
The death of howling humans,
Brought me memory crushing walls
A ghastly roaring through it all…!
You think before a battle, and during:
Your body can blast through it all,
How many fell yesterday, I do not know
But I was the only one to escape–
Across the rio, through the river’s flow
What I expected to find or gain in war
Is different than what I found–
Like blind and brainless monsters
We fought–a blinding white flame
Enveloped in a frantic oblivion.
You my say, perhaps it was all in vain,
My only reply is that I was part of it,
Senseless as it is, was, and will be–:
Again, afterwards, one becomes vested
In delirium, paralyzed with it…!
After the Battle
(Parts six and seven)
(to: After the Battle)
The road (from the Rio) traveled relatively straight to the mountain; the Wanka warrior identified with it, it curved upwards and to the right sharply ascending to the top, part of the way, would be easy–he knew, yet painful, for he had his wounds, as a result, when he climbed it, he zigzaged his way to the top; cupped on top was his ancestors ruins, the old bins for harvest time year around, and beyond that a small stone house, his home.
As he climbed the mountain, some 5000-feet upwards, he thought not of dying or battle (not yet anyways) or the conveyance upward, but of the small stone house, Unishcoto itself, and he did not want to forget it, it was his drive.
He looked up (the countryside behind him now), the top could not be seen, it all looked steep, yet he climbed it a hundred times before, it looked like a waterfall, ready to cascade ontop of him, broken rock and all, like an ocean of earth.
Each breath he took, was like the last bit of breathable oxygen; the night clouds were dreary, moved across the moon like windblown waves, ceremonial looking; they had shapes of stiff looking corpses, with necks twisted about like wooden crews, holding them together. (Death was waiting?)
By Lantern of the Moon
I struggled now up the side of the sierra
The old creek bottom, behind me now
My mind in a scanty obliviousness–
At last I saw, from afar…
A silhouette standing in the darkness…!
As I walked towards my home–,
Thinning tree branches loomed at me
From the dark hushed vague sky–;
A dog started barking ahead:
Guided only by the sky’s lantern…!
I felt a sad, gloomy, and faintly chilled
My wounds–told my body it was dying
Fading among the living sierra trees;
The dog heard me, he barked again,
His shadow trying to listen: ‘Who is it?’
My wife stared off into the darkness–
I saw her, heard her voice ebbing my way
‘Come down this path,’ I wanted to say
But motionless I lay, like a broken branch
Off a living tree, I was but a silent echo.
I died, went into a condemned silence
I died, and the silence swiftly rippled
It was neither night, nor day–but still
I wanted to follow the path ahead,
You know the one to my house!
But I was dead–among the living trees
The house seemed to leap before me
(a different dimension perhaps);
Then I found myself beside her–
I whispered her name–stirringly!
Her lips were cold, or were they mine?
She tasted fatality, doom–didn’t know
Her head bowed between her breasts
I was now above her: she was so brave.
(And I died, and she went to bed.)
And I thought then, about the times
She and I, held each other–abreast:
And we would lay in the meadows,
And quietly in the darkness–she’d
Make me warm, and she was soft.
(But this doom, I could not escape.)
(Last Kill)) Or Battle of the Jackal))
(Last Thoughts 🙂
“I remember now–‘Dog’ as we called him,
Stood there in the haze, as I came upon him:
My eyes ablaze with fight, with an old hate:
‘He is all jackal,’ I thought, now in battle–
The leader–the Jackal, slow as an ox, came
Towards me–I gathered my feet, below, I
Leaped, struck, I sheared through his neck
Cords: blood flowed from him, like the Rio.
It was my last kill. I jumped over fires, swift
–I wasted no time, seized him by the knees,
Cast him over my head–how dead is dead, I
Thought. Next, I jumped back up, onto my feet:
Then bending low, like a sweeping condor, I,
I howled like the enemy, like a pack of hounds,
As the fires dwindled down: now the blood of
The foe was on my blade, but I was alive–
For the moment: like the wind that follows me.”
Spring and Decay
There were no intimate things in her room, empty–; the entire house remained still– with a chill of desolation, spring had come, with a bright blue sky, she saw flowers lying on the ground, as if forgotten…
–She walked further into the wooded area, there–withered and dead laid her husband. Crumbled in his fingers, flowers, she touched his hand, they had left a stain she noticed; yet, disgustingly, he smelled: reeked with decay–!
Soberly, in the chill of the morning, she paused (leaning over his body), fretfully relieved, and alarmed, her fear and bewilderment had come true: then trying to remember what little they had done together, and her worrying now over, she sighed a long, long sigh.
The gist of it was plain enough, she had never understood him or war, but she did today, it meant–detachment. It all implied–one must put it behind them, to stay alive, to survive, yet shocked and curious–she didn’t appreciate it.
She asked herself– “What are the words to this?” there was nothing to do [perform, carry out] save, hope for a new husband, yet that brought back distaste, and dread; she had to trust to a stranger (she’d put this aside for the time being).
–Part Nine (conclusion) Interlude
The Ghost of Weeping
(Grieving) She stood sluggishly by her fireplace, her hands cold to the bones–she stood before it, then turned towards the window, there she could see the drooping trees, her heart leaped a little “You fool!” she exclaimed; his shadowy shape came leaping unto the open sill of the window–, “You idiot,” she exclaimed; the shadow seemed to stare at her, with a wild repose.
Her wet face, lighted up “Don’t,” she cried, and then she tasted her own tears–she clung to the window, the shadow showed saber intensity “Have I gone crazy?” she asked herself.
She had been hoping he would have come home, I mean, come home for good (long ago)) not like this)), she had waited–so she said aloud, “… longer than a thousand fires–in my stone oven…” and perhaps had she not found his body, she would have waited longer. “No,” she answered, “wishful thinking!” That is what it was. “What?” she said; a voice said, “…you’ll find someone soon…” she stared quietly (it was as if the voice was annoyed).
Her chin now in her palms, looking into the fire, “You don’t want to!” She said “Surely for what it’s got to be.” She added, “Whatever you think, it is because it is what you want to believe.”
She picked up a cup, drank its contents and sat back, her face rosy in the firelight. She closed the window, “People smell bad because of the things they do;” she said, “living corruption, flags the flesh, all soiled.” She felt clean to the bone–then the fire went out, as she fell to sleep.
She murmured “He gave half of himself to me, and the other half, perhaps the better half, he swapped for war–that part, I could never find, until now.”
Beside the stone oven–she slept
One bronze woman, half-grieving
Her face shining with heat
And rolling dark eyes; by her
Feet one dog and four puppies,
Scratching and bumping–
As they ate–their meal…the
Fire reflected: flashes of teeth;
Curiosity had vanished–.
Outside her stone window
In the sky no stars showed,
The earth was a deflated swell,
The sky was sagging its dark shape,
The trees beyond like chilled ghosts,
And the moon shown a cold
Corpse-like light–ascending; a gray
Chill seeped through the stones.
In her seeping lifeless mind,
She said, “How long must I grieve
For the dead?” As if pleading in
This gray like silence, for it
Quickly to dissolve, and end.
The House on Unishcoto
Weep for the one so strong to die
Who war has taken at last!
Mourn for his wife that sings no more
And the ruins called Unishcoto–
This was he who had a flaming heart
And heroic breath,
Whose weapons are laid, and hung
In the House by Unishcoto;
It was he, who grew mighty in war,
But her war was otherwise:
Thus, weep for one so strong in war
Whose war is now, of the night!
#1451 9-7-2006 Note: Unishcoto is a ruin on top of one of the mountains in the Mantaro Valley of Peru.
#1450 “The Road to Unishcoto”, 9-6-2006 (First parts written the first and last week of August, and the last parts written the first week of September, 2006)) drawings also drawn during the same period.
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