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Alternative Culture Articles

October 29, 2002

Campfire Culture
By Royce Carlson

In fear of chaos, disorder, unpredictability,
we hold tightly to our limited thought structure
that pretend to order the world.
My back to the threatening darkness,
I sit with others around the dying fire.

The jungle beat penetrates my fearful heart
like a primitive arrow.
I know the true source
and deny it.

Cheetahs, hyenas
stalk their prey
just outside the small clearing
in which I am encamped.

Big things are happening in the darkness.
Men and women are larger out there,
more dangerous,
It's safer to stay close to the fire
even though
it is slowly diminishing.

A sudden noise and I squint
into the inky forest behind me.
A brief flash of clear green eyes.
A rustle in the bushes to my left.
My spine tingles.
The fire-illumined circle shrinks
and I move closer in.

Another crash!
I move closer.
Only embers are left.
Pale light
no heat
I know what I must do
and fear to do it.

One spark remains.
An animal rises inside me.
I stand,
pulling on my tiger skin coat
and turn away from the fading coals.
I walk stealthily into the darkness.

I become larger with every step.

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Royce Carlson