No Flags, Territory and War by Ruth Stacey
Peel a human and they are red inside:
the skin is a thin covering, shades
of brown; from light yellow to warm
umber but they can all be distilled
to crimson, scarlet, vermillion, rose.
I know this as we have taken many
of the ape-like creatures and stripped
them down to the bones; ground them
to dust to try and understand the hate
and tender love they all vacillate with.
We have no feelings, only curiosity,
that is the word humans use – I have
read their dictionaries and oil paint
charts, pondered on their destruction
and pointless cycles of war: it all
comes back to redness: a blood womb
delivers each one to the earth, ruby
splashed bodies, the surprising cut, veins
pour cadmium dark red onto tarmac
or sand. I observe their relentless desire
to disassemble one another… and yet
I must try to understand earthlings.
Understanding comes with replicating.
Their hunger for all things red, to spill
and get right down to the burgundy flesh.
the tick box
this is no dewey
decimal, no sense
to this, putting people
bark like good dog
veer between refusing
and trying to be helpful
should be an easy task
pen on paper
down stroke and up
best describes: no no no
none of those
mixed is their phrase