Monday, June 02, 2008

Fancy seeing you here! (Mid-level)

Sitting above the bottom canopy

high enough to glimpse blue sky and shafts

of sunshine but too low to feel the heat,

the forest floor is invisible

beneath mandalas of palm fronds.

Here in the middle level, the second canopy,

the view ahead is all vertical columns reaching

straight up and straight down to invisible destinations;

columns swagged with familiar vines.

These old acquaintances were once only known to me

as clipped and controlled little pot plants

sitting separately in shiny urns

on hard grey carpet, trying unsuccessfully

to disguise the miserable forest

of cubicle dividers in our second floor office.

Flaccid under fluoro lighting

breathing badly conditioned air from corner ceiling vents

doled a weekly dribble of water

and trimmed of the first signs of decay,

those office mates were tame avatars of

the uninhibited natives clinging rampant here.

Gnawed by wild animals,

yet covering every available trunk that ever sees sunlight,

all tangled together with a previously unimaginable diversity

of twenty-metre-dwelling plants.

I am looking for tree snakes

but I give myself over to a fantasy of supplying

offices with appropriate foliage:

definitely, the seried shark’s teeth of the wait-a-while

would be more honest in the workplace,

to snag the wage-slaves’ city clothes;

yes, surround the photocopier with

the tender pink tips of something so delicate

it grows along spider silk,

yet so ruthless it strangles saplings;

and for head office,

a spiraling double-helix

that chokes the life out of its host vine

and remains a free hanging corkscrew

with no visible means of support.

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