by Sean Garcia  /  poetry  /  5 Jul 2007
In ancient forests monkeys sat around
On treetop, growing fat above the ground
On ripe bananas. They would toss the peels
And make a road, before there was the wheel.
One day there was no fruit. 'Twas starve, or try
To find a source of food before they died.
So the first monkey hopped down to his feet,
Uncertain of his fate. What did he meet,
Taking mankind's first steps, but a banana
Peel, dropped before! And on this rotted manna
He slipped, ass over clumsy, hairy foot,
As hillside trees will topple o'er their root
After the soil that holds and nourishes
Erodes. Years hence, another monkey's pen
Would tell how all the others laughed from safety,
And how the fallen ape did rise up stately
To teach himself, in stumbles, fits, and starts
The seeming natural, not forgotten art
Of walking. Soon the fad became a craze;
And, madness! all the monkeys passed their days
Bipedal. Free to wander round and pluck
From different trees strange fruit, they pressed their luck.
Meandering this brave new world was one
Who found the shifting landscapes themselves fun:
Beyond the hunger and the feeding, there
Were gorges and ravines, and shadows where
The country disappeared beneath the thickness
Of wild eaves overgrown. And like a sickness,
The sight behind his eyes did burn and howl,
As acid in the belly makes it growl.
To feed his fever, Vincent took the fruit,
And ground it up.
The paint came from the juice.
An appetite invisible he fed
By fashioning what starved inside his head,
That region deathly black that did him pull,
A tree with branches made of bone. His skull
Is all remains, now, brittle as the old
Banana leaves, dried up. Already, mold
Forms in the sockets where his eyes were, green
As earth before the monkeys must have been.
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