Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Night of the Headhunters

The flame tree is in a mantle of red explosions
The ladies and young lasses watch by the window sill
Gazing at the flaming spectacle from the living room
Unaware of the blood lust this carmine display
Provoked among the young men in the village

The menfolk sauntered in pairs, in larger groups
Moving restlessly, listlessly in the dusty street
Into the alleyways and sitting in the corner stores
Taking swigs of gin in quarter peso cups
Primal instincts in restraint, innate urges on hold

The old men talk about the forays into other villages
At the first night of the flame tree's full bloom
Young men, then, eager to gift the village lasses
Ghastly trophies of truncated heads impaled in poles
As proof of valor, manhood and intense devotion

But that is just old men talking, some boastfulness
Coming from barren bodies and the bragging of the ignored
The young lads gather to listen to tales of their headhunter past
Wreaking havoc, sowing terror upon hapless hamlets
Heads of their prey strung together like hanging coconuts

The full moon cast a beam on the treetop blooms
But the red was not there, only darkened patches
More stories went on as the time and the gin dissipated
A wizened elder fell asleep in the middle of his tale
As village boys staggered back to the safety of their huts

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