Invictus Maneo

A poem. Because fuck ter­ror­ism.


Every child is like mag­ic, plucked from a dream,
Right before the words, “Congratulations! It’s a boy!”
You can imag­ine all the tears of joy,
When he opened his eyes, find­ing him­self
Surrounded by WONDER, and astound­ed by BLUNDER
Of mag­a­zines and rela­tion­ships torn ASUNDER,
And he would mag­i­cal­ly weave them back togeth­er again
With his cute lit­tle eyes, and mis­chie­vous smile,
And a bit of super-glue.

There was no bro­ken dream that couldn’t be fixed,
There was no fixed law that couldn’t be bro­ken,
Like miss­ing spelling class­es, then mis-spelling things,
Leaving out the “Im” from “Im-Possible”,
Which made him believe he could fly,
And some­times leav­ing out the “L” from “Flux”,
Causing a gig­gle-fit in sci­ence class,
“Tee hee, he said fu — ” (shuts mouth)

Too many grown-ups tell him, “want­i­ng ‘Fun’ is not wise”,
But this kid is quick to prove oth­er­wise,
By mak­ing cas­tles with sands, and cat­a­pults with rub­ber-bands,
To fling all the sor­row far out into dis­tant hori­zons,
Then plant­i­ng Lollipops in the Earth to grow trees of hap­pi­ness,
And, when he final­ly learned how to spell,
You could see him writ­ing his prayer on a coin. It said:

Invictus Maneo. I remain uncon­quered.

Neither sor­row nor tomor­row could ever undo
What he began to brew with his delight­ful touch:
Turning his own blood-ves­sels into a storm of rose petals,
Boiling secret ket­tles of youth­ful wis­dom,
Gifting mega­phones to those who are left unheard,
And teach­ing a frog how to FLY like a bird!

But then, then, the Terrorists
Born from the abyss of their own hatred,
That shoot fire and death with their guns
That steal away the breath from frac­tured lungs,
Still walk in the shad­ows, unseen, unheard,
With an unwrit­ten con­sti­tu­tion of fear
That what you pluck from dreams has no place here.
Hidden in plain sight, those mali­cious inten­tions
Stockpile ammu­ni­tion, beyond sus­pi­cion.
A lit­tle bit of crowd is all that would take,
To sneak in a lit­tle some­thing that could make
The smiles drench in blood and tears,
Amidst the mak­ing of their own fears
As the clock ticks ticks ticks into a pal­pa­ble chill
That not even the kid with indomitable will
Can fol­low the tick­ing with his own words:

Invictus Maneo. I remain uncon­quered.

The next thing we know, the event was there no more.
Heads served cold in a plat­ter.
Debris lay scat­tered, among ash­es and blood
And limbs flew every­where for loved ones to care
In the cra­dles of their mourn­ing, and silence of warn­ing
That what you pluck from dreams has no place here.

But… Even beneath the burned flesh
One face wouldn’t stop smil­ing.
His body was bro­ken. His soul was gone,
But his wit and spir­it? It still remained strong
Alive, undaunt­ed, EXACTLY where he left it:

It remained in the feel­ings that he so delight­ful­ly brewed,
In the rela­tion­ships he mis­chie­vous­ly super-glued,
In the Lolipop trees that caress the clouds,
In cas­tles and cat­a­pults of rebel­lious lit­tle kids,
In the blood, and the bloom, and the ket­tle of minds,
In mega­phones, and wings, and secrets of all kinds,
In his phan­tom voice that sings through his grave,
Carved in a coin he left behind:

Invictus Maneo. I remain uncon­quered.

You can crip­ple moti­va­tions with fear,
You can drench the world in blood and tears,
But when we come from dreams, we NEVER go unheard,
‘Coz we leave the world a lit­tle bet­ter than before.
We count scores, not by bod­ies, but with every kiss
And hold­ing on to pre­cious moments that are easy to miss,
And we crack jokes to make this life a lit­tle more bear­able,
Since it’s so EASY for this frag­ile heart to break
When it knows that, some­day, it’ll all just end.

But even then, EVEN THEN,
There’s always some­one being plucked from a dream each day,
Reminding us that some­thing mag­i­cal will always find a way,
“Congratulations! It’s a girl!”
You can imag­ine the world swirl in a dance,
As her sens­es call for so much more out there
Than our minds could imag­ine, than our hearts could bare,
With lit­tle things like miss­ing spelling class­es, then mis-spelling things,
That makes us believe it’s pos­si­ble to rebuild our wings.
So we keep rebuild­ing what was bro­ken in silence,
And we cat­a­pult our­selves into dis­tant hori­zons,
Leaving behind a trail of con­fet­ti from our open wounds,
And writ­ing a prayer on a coin with just one thing to say:

Invictus Maneo. I remain uncon­quered.


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