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Thursday, August 09, 2018


by Howard Winn

When watching orangutans in nature documentaries, it is easy to imagine them as graceful rulers of the canopy; to whom climbing and brachiating through the trees is as natural and simple as breathing. This, however, would be an incorrect assumption. Just as toddlers learn to walk from following their parents, and through plenty of trial and error, young orangutans too must learn how to navigate the world around them. As the largest arboreal mammal in the world, orangutans face a steep learning curve when first grasping how to maneuver on their own in the forest. —Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, August 1, 2018

If humanity does not change its ways
soon there will be no orangutans
we are told by the latest scientific
findings and the survey of these
strange beasts who seem like the
crazy cousins of homo sapiens
but in a world run by the rules of
business capitalism these sub-human
beasts have no union to protect their
status in a jungle with profit hidden
in the vines and the rain forests
just waiting for the latest entrepreneur
to make the proper business move
perhaps Chinese or Middle Eastern
to join the one percent who own
the semi-civilized world stash the
profits off-shore and buy expensive
real estate in London or New York
while the residual orangutans in
their diminishing jungle residences
find themselves as homeless as
the other immigrants of this time
with no where to go and no welcome
there or anywhere even if labor
is running short in the civilized nations.

Howard Winn's novel Acropolis is published by Propertius Press. He has poems in the Pennsylvania Literary Journal and in Evening Street Magazine.