wish you were here, the insects are legion (maine version)
The dust, the arid heat, the vexillologists. None of that made any sense there. It was a tropical rainforest last year when we booked, and the defoliation and climate change left the place a barrens. What gives?
And why were there 120 vexillologists installed at dozens of tables festooned with swatches of fabrics, encyclopedic books, drawing pads and markers out there in that wasteland? There were also the carcasses of the old denizens — piles of bones of howler monkeys, tamarins, marmosets, every imaginable bird of paradise, jaguars, tapirs, and so many more. Everything that once lived there was now a discrete pile of bones, generally undisturbed, each life reduced to its own monticule of what once was, but the insects were legion.
Nothing escaped, and yet there we were as death tourists — gawkers of our future.
But why the flag people? I couldn’t figure it out.
“Why are they here, dear?” I said to my husband. He was embroiled in the flag drama, and as usual he ignored me.
Then an eminence at the central table rose and screamed, “I’ve got it. I’ve got it,” then correcting himself said, “No, we have it,” he said making a sweeping gesture to the rest of the table full of white haired men.
“We’ll undertake the usual scholarly investigations and we’ll produce a paper with the title: ‘A Review of the Changing Proportions of Rectangular Flags since Medieval Times, and Some Suggestions for the Future.’”
There was one full minute of confusion and discussion at all the assembled tables. And then the men at the head of each table said, “Harrumph. Yes!” in a precise counterclockwise uncoiling of their support outward until arriving at the outermost, and largest table, where a younger contingent of vexillologists were gathered.
Their representative said: “Fuck you. Nay! You got us into this bind, and we’ll be damned if we let you finally drive us over the cliff as we teeter at the precipice. All you’ve been useful at up to this juncture is winning at the war of attrition. Look around. This was a verdant jungle last year and now it’s a clear cut wasteland. You were part of the leadership that got us here, and we don’t trust your tired ideas, your platitudes and your do as we say, not do as we do approach. You’re fraudulent, and you’re mostly tired old people having lived out your life in profligacy and now bequeath us this sinking ship.
We say fuck you, and fuck the horses you rode in on. We’re starting our own thing in diametrical opposition to this dead horse flog of yours. In fact, we’ve added a codicil to our manifesto, we insist that you die already because resources are scant and once we’ve banded together in a larger group — for there are more of us than there are of you, and as life would have it, there are pleasingly less of your lot everyday — we’re going to see to it that you do die before your appointed time. You’ve fucked this up so much already. We don’t need the extra dead weight!”
And with that spittle-filled pronouncement the newly minted “red vexillologists” marched off into the dunes that were once verdant foothills to form a cadre of revolutionary guerillas.
“Oh, well that’s interesting,” I said to my husband. “You know since this ecotourism thing didn’t pan out like we thought, why don’t we just fly to Maine tomorrow — it’s already dry there — and there remain a few puddles of fetid water where the beach once was, and you know how much I enjoy a nude beach, dear. And voila, here we are. Isn’t it just gorgeous here?”
“I feel like that’s something that sometimes gets lost in our culture, where everything’s about building a brand before you even have an established creative process. Please, don’t be a poet unless the number one thing you like to do is write poems. And read poems.”
— Ada Limón / In conversation with T. Cole Rachel, The Creative Independent