There was a scuffle in the street today.
Two boys – one black and one blue –
Threw punches like stones to the face
Over a question no one heard.
It happened at the forum
Where the people come to barter,
To trade goods and ideas.
How the onlookers stood by
To see which boy would be the martyr.
There were preachers and paupers,
Housewives, merchants, and doctors,
Countrymen from all walks of life
Going about business in the public eye.
When the first blows were struck,
They knew from the injuries
That someone was going to die.
Ajax was an alleycat, an outsider,
Who wandered orphaned when he wasn’t wondering in school.
The other kids kept their distance
As they muttered about him as a dreary pittance.
“What a puissant,” Angelique would say.
“That croissant is a mutt,” so she turned him away.
“There is some sort of stink about you,”
Harry would admit but never partake.
“Your skin is so ashen that you must be, like a mannequin, fake.”
Ajax had heard the words before
And vowed to never give in.
Though the cold had left him bitten
And most would have succumbed, Ajax did not
Because he knew he would not be forgiven.
Days of jaunted taunts would pass,
Periods of empty isolation scattered in between.
He was sad, frustrated, and confused
But knew one thing and one thing only
– that he was good and they were phony.
Ajax would write,
“Unforgivable is the plight of the lonely.”
Harry was a rival of sorts.
Wealthy and born into privilege,
He was, by definition, socially admired.
Everybody liked him,
Even Ajax whom he had scorned.
There must have been something wrong
If they hadn’t all along.
“What is it like to be you?”
The other kids would ask.
“You best keep your distance”,
To mention they took to task,
“For you are abnormal in every instance.”
“Thank you,” was the only thing Ajax could say.
“I like knowing you all,
Even those I haven’t met yet.”
As Ajax played in his dank corner
And remembered the doctors saying the same things,
Harry leisured in excess beyond imagination.
Yet, for all his praise and esteem,
He was not quite right when approached,
When Ajax asked,
“What makes us so different – like Day and Night?”
“Success and lineage separate us,”
Harry rang like a hollow bell,
“Surely you can tell.”
But that that was only a superficial answer
To the far deeper questions
That should have been asked.
“The next time you talk to me that way, boy,” Harry later quipped,
“I’m going to kick your ass!”
And so it would pass
That the two would meet in the forum,
One looking at the other incorrectly.
The moment their eyes locked,
The ropes of Fate could no longer be blocked.
Within the crowd of shoppers along the brook,
Harry hit Ajax in the stomach
With a mighty, cowardly left hook.
The bystanders did nothing but look.
As Ajax clung to consciousness in midair,
With a reflex he kicked Harry in his blind spot
– the back of the head behind the hair.
In a split-second, no horror was spared.
Ten minutes had gone by.
Many onlookers had dispersed,
Chasing unfinished errands with the time they had lost.
Ajax and Harry remained motionless on the ground
Where they had landed without a sound.
Blind hatred is everywhere. Bullying, too.
Ajax had only wanted to be liked,
But he was instead very close to the truth.
People are phony when they aren’t fighting.
They can be rude, ugly, and insensitive to say the least.
Behind the false mask of civility, most are truly frightened beasts.
Many of us call atrocities like the Holocaust
Anomalies, fabrications, or cover-ups.
To be honest, those who do are idiots who fail
To believe that genocide is preventable;
It is also – unlike them – all too real.
This story, though fictitious, is a window to the human experience,
Where bad thoughts lead to worse words and the worst actions.
To stand up to the process can cause a violent chain reaction.
It takes courage to watch what you say
And even more nerve to watch the words of others.
Sometimes, you must tell your leaders to shove it,
To reveal that their animus is not what you feel.
Unforgivable is the plight of the lonely.
Unforgivable is the crime of existence,
When innocents die for being right just the way they are.
It is not the way of the world as it should be;
It is all a framework of lies.