Some Basic Principles of Escapology
Give me a chimp – I can scratch, bash my fists, scale trees, break into a screaming chatter. Or slow to the pace of a two-toed sloth – I’ll stretch out on my sofa, entirely fulfilled by watching the progress of that ant on the sill.
I can flit between flames, warming my wings in the light, antennae prickling: sensing what’s out there. An animal takes you below the electrical ghost of the mind, to a pure physical intelligence – taking no heed of fantasy, or calculation.
I savour the joys of defying extinction, knowing myself as something curious. Dhole, bonobo, saiga, monk seal – I’ve played my part. Predators, too, have their satisfactions – consider the orca, or tiger. At the apex of the chain, the minnow and the worm are seen for what they are.
Humanity is a coat that never quite fitted. Bring it all down to edibles and procreation – I don’t want to tackle taxes, wifi signals, jihad, or the question of the homeless.
The way to inhabit an animal is to get up close and study it. Mimic its movements, begin to embody its instincts. You have to be willing to abandon everything you own, risk losing yourself forever. There’s that panic-thrill instant of utter darkness, before you open your eyes on the other side.
Michael Loveday’s debut poetry pamphlet “He Said / She Said” was published by HappenStance Press (2011). His poems, short stories and book reviews have been published in Ambit, Envoi, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Iota, Magma, The North, POEM, Prole, The Rialto, and Stand.