Just-so story

“It’s all so tightly regulated, so professional and commercial now,” he sighs, remembering his wild days of wrestling lions and grappling with live boa constrictors in the depths of the Guatemalan jungle.
–interview with former Tarzan actor Herman Brix in The Christian Science Monitor

Liana, liana. Lovely on the tongue & in the mind’s jungle. Reaching obliquely for the yellow flowers & the crown, dark slash between lines of verse transcribed as prose, dropping fat figs to lure the parrots & howler monkeys, in whose bowels will gestate the insidious seeds that want to hover up there like UFOs & send their landing gear down in the form of lianas.

Wait, bear with me! Soon enough I’ll completely hedge the host tree in: a real live tree fort. And having given such generous support the tree dies as conveniently as Jack’s beanstalked giant. Because as the free marketeers proclaim, in the jungle it’s grow or die. The slime molds & fungal mycelia colonize the heartwood, soon followed by hordes of miners–whole companies of ants, grubstaking beetles & bees. And after the bottom falls out there’s room for a menagerie of snakes & bats & spiders in this hollow column shot through with light from the chinks in the lattice-work of what once had been such pliant vines–yet even then had been strong enough for a New World figleafed Tarzan & a clinging Jane to swing from, so lithe, so blithely unaware of how (for example) the black jaguar got its spot, or where the guerrillas learned how to lord it over the ranks of high society. And this, for the curious, is the story of the strangler fig, which is also delicious.

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