Funeralopolis. Millions are screaming to claw their way out of gravesites and the ruins of temples and they will rot in earth and be buried with their sons and daughters and mothers as distant calls to prayer gladden bloody-handed killers of children and cripples. Spit. Spit. Spit. Dig into their faces with heavy, polished boots and grind them back into the dust. Babies grabbed and smashed against walls and dreams bleed out and rainbowed, boundless thoughts are brought to light as little grey lumps of gristle. Shellshocked toddlers, veterans thrice-over sit beneath slow-moving fans in hospitals and orphanages packed to the brim and echoing with the cries of dead things trapped in living bodies.
Black clouds swell with sick rains, toxic water drained by an angry sun to wipe clean the stain of our existence.
Faceless masses. Armed with the swords of their ancestors they march down the beaten track towards a greater land that must be theirs as told in books as old as the sand and the earth must bow before them and they will split her skin apart and take her and chew their fill on her meat and spit out the pips. Jackals and locusts, their jaws work endlessly, taking life into themselves and squirting out something vile and unrecognisable at the end.
'Peace,' they say as helicopter blades whir overhead, whipping the body of the cowering subhuman with gusts of hot sandwind. The blood they have drunk bubble up and pop in their mouths as they murmur satisfied prayers for their own salvation. Hellbound triggerpullers have created a deathshrine in the land where it was written, 'Thou shalt not kill.'
We know about the blood in your hands. We know where you are and what you have done. We will do nothing to stop you. We will bicker. We will debate. We will justify. We will write editorials and protest and rage and scream and condemn you to hell and the children you kill to hell and we will call you murderers and we will call you heroes and we will say that we cannot judge your actions from the comfort of our homes and we will say that you have been persecuted by history and we will say that Hitler was right all along and we will pray for the fallen and cheer for every chopper downed and we will say that you fired the rockets first and that they fired the rockets first and the vultures will eat and eat and eat until the sky grows black with cordite-scented smoke and the beating of dark wings heavy and greasy with the fat of our dead.
Charred black stone, jagged precipices blasted apart by hammering blows from vast distances by university graduate students who calculate speed, trajectory, wind resistance. Million-billion!-dollar investments in the art of killing as quickly, as cheaply, as safely, as spectacularly as possible. Shock-and-awe doctrines and HD sat broadcasts to our homes and televisions. Primal flightdreams and the secrets of the atom conscripted to crush and obliterate with indiscriminate force. The world recoils from the sights and sounds of your vengeance and self-righteousness, you egotistic apes. And billions pour into your coffers and caviar is eaten and champagne appreciated – tastes and appetites refined by decades of discriminating mastication. Teeth and enzymes, Sarin gas and trinitrotoluene, the rumbling in your bellies shakes the ground and you are hungry for more.
Planet of the dead. The dead shriek as their graves are smashed by iconoclasts and holy men affronted by the presumptuousness of a piece of ancient bone-and-gristle that thought it could stake out a patch of the earth to rot and turn to dust in. Their god guides their hand as they tear down the memorials to their fathers and pluck out the bones of their prophets.
Funeralopolis. Weave the planet its deathshroud and vomit all over it. Pristine white flecked with your collective bile and the bits and pieces of what you've chewed up. Crack open the tombs and let the scum of the deep earth pour out and claim the remains of everything we know and have slain and let it all rot. Cockroaches and maggots scurry and squirm through the dishes and we go to our final resting-places in the guts of vermin.
Wash the Earth's body clean with scummy well-water and murmur a last few words as her remains are swallowed into the black. In deep bunkers keys turn in safety locks and you flick the switches and kill the lights and let the night back in.
TEXT & ILLUSTRATION: ZOHEB MASHIUR