Those Who Bled for the City [Free Verse]

blood runs to the gutters,
flowing and whirling,
a sluicing pink juice
that circles and sloshes
down the drain

most did not feel
the missing blood,
but it came from 
each and every one 
of them -

the locals, the exiled,
the travelers, and
the ne'er-do-wells -

all bled into the city,
and something grew 
from that protein slurry

most contributed only
drips & drops,
but some hemorrhaged,
giving their liquid selves 
for something 
they couldn't 

Varanasi [Haibun]

Varanasi smashes up against the Ganga. Note the tightly packed warren of lanes near the ghats, as if the city is compressed there. It's only farther from the river that the city unfolds, gaining breathing room, becoming wide enough for streets and signs that aren't blurred by being too close to one's face. The ubiquitous smoky scent also hints at a collision. Yet more evidence is seen in the barren east bank, a sandbar occupied by lounging cows and cricketers. As if the city refuses to crawl over the river as most cities do. The east bank desolation allows the formation of the "Golden Bridge," a band of orange that spans the glassy waters each morning, the only bridge in sight.   

ramparts loom;
boats glide over
glassy waters