Saturday, 2 February 2008

Tribal States


I’ve written before about what I perceive as worrying signs of balkanization in Todos Santos, where people are tending to stay and relate within their own insular district. Occasionally, driven perhaps by the distant strains of drums or music, they may emerge from their habitat and come to town, but they avoid interacting significantly with others outside their tribe – or, from what I observe, within it either. Unaccountably to me, they seem quite happy with their version of “Life Lite”. But then, who is more content, those living an apparently unexamined life, or those who over analyze?

Tribal Encounters

As the music begins
They enter confidently
Sniffing out familiar markings as they arrive
Ritually embracing
Without passion
Standardized smiles adorning their uniform

I sit watching them preen
Glowing in their tribe’s company
Listening to the flutter of cheerful conversation
Rise and fall with the music
Drifting from one banality
To the next inconsequential issue
Deftly waltzing past topics
That might disturb
Or reveal
What secrets lie beneath
Their polished armor

I want to shake them, shout
“Are you truly happy with this?
Is this all you need?
Or do you only commit acts of intimacy
In dark secret places?”

But I stay silently fuming
While the band plays on
Jealous and incredulous
Wondering what flaw it is in me
That needs connection
Without artifice
And why I seem to care
About tribes I do not care for.

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