Friday, May 12, 2017

Green Mansion

In our new home, the kingdom of leaves and light, we are swaddled in verdant foliage. There are many other homes nearby, but the trees and lush undergrowth visually cushion everything -- including our hearts and minds -- with glistening greenness, punctuated by polychrome birds and Nureyev monkeys dancing through the treetops. Our third floor palace is in the center of it all.

Every night the drums, the crying babies, singing mamas, drinking papas, revving motorcycles, cackling, coughing children, silent flickering lovers -- every night. In the downtown streets there's love and smoke, blood and knives, but in the amber-lit homes there are lives, meals, baths, flames and music.

What would have happened, I often wonder, if Kurtz had come to Africa and had a good experience, become immersed in the real Africa instead of the Dark Continent that was inside of him and Conrad, his creator. Heart of Lightness? Apocalypse Never? 

There have been more kingdoms and kings and queens and princes and princesses here than in all of Europe ever. More walled cities and grand palaces and shining ceremonies than the imagination can hold. More complex societies and politics and languages and medicine and religion and learning than any mind can embrace. For centuries and centuries and centuries and...

And it all sat atop gold, diamonds, copper, silver, uranium, coltan, oil, and more and more and more...

And then the outsiders came with guns and chains and took and took and took and they still are...

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