ABOUT ANTS

Oh no, believe me, there is no city in
Concrete, glass and steel.
The city is in politics.
Money changes hands. So,
Brightly on a summers day
I know of an escape -
I don't escape if I can help it,
"cos I'm the inveterate city slicker -
Where, to watch ants.

Ants may be stupid, but they work together.
Does the top ant quintile own
Everything while the rest scrambles?
Do ants compete with ants?
Was Darwin an ant or better still
Is there an ant Darwin equivalent
Or for that matter, an "invisible ant hand"
Or rather an "invisible sinewy leg?"
On observation, ants have got it together.

Ant spin-meisters. Black goons plastic
Visor-ed strutters, shop lifted from Wal-Mart
Not relevant in the ant farm.
Enough to serve the queen its motivation.
Central, palpitating, ostracizing
Weak culture of semiotic relativity.
Bubble of steamed-up authority.
Authenticated up on high
So the losers die.

Do ants have hidden persuaders,
Phalanxes of people who know better,
Departments that approve,
Plan, disseminate and inform,
And generally rule the roost
To the advantage of the supplicant,
For the benefit of the whole,
To keep the system running,
To keep their young ones busy?

Are there ant single mothers,
Ant pressure groups that want,
Reports that prove the worst
And gather up statistics that
Show, and disprove, the best in us
Until we believe 'cos we
Cannot fathom the facts from
Fiction nor the real from
The unreal politic of perception?

On this summer's day
This hot and languid summer's day
Ants march, two by two
Sometimes randomly by two
But march they do with loads
Bigger than themselves
To their voracious queen ant
Whose body is the sole purpose
For eternity's more and more and more!

Not unlike us eh! But, with ants it isn't money.
It's spores. Now that's politics.
Watch 'em grow, watch 'em multiply!
That's why for them its always chores.
Looking for ways, then, to make myself
Useful, as I did my stuff, in
The bright sunny park, that day.
While searching for reassurance,
Watching ants, I am not at ease!

Imagining: Now ant meetings.
Six-legged call to order.
Agenda, in camera, recorded minutes.
Important question never answered.
The economy. Encourage, deficit!
Incentives, downsize, tax cuts.
Look to the future. Is it there?
We are the solution. Oh!
Six-legged part of the problem!

Great clumps, organisms of life
Moving in unison, around
Nothing in particular. No nothing
Except it's very important to them.
Them? Ants and you and I.
Looking for opportunity, then
I cruise to find the weakest, wallop
And pounce at the mere sight of warmth,
Until satiated, I seek acknowledgment.

Furthermore this edifice called city
However it accreted-up, evolved,
Is really propped up by the hordes
Acquiring things they cannot use
And do not want, and do not want
I'll bet ants don't' buy things
They do not use or want or want.
Ants use everything they
Lay their pretty little tentacles upon.

Ant lobby groups. Queen ant supplication to.
Anti-ant inflation measures
Ant public relations, ant-art-consumerism,
Ant foundations, Musilix breakfasts
To inform, research, liberal, right wing,
Keep the public up to speed
To help the political process
For the public good, retail it and
Then make jobs for the jobless.

Risk assessment and, yes, you guessed it,
Crisis management. Help wanted ads.
All come under the heading ant education.
Individual sacrifice, bravery and who
Knows best are the usual exhortations.
Give for the betterment of the neighborhood,
The community. Generous offers
Exemplary behavior. Flack invested.
Give 'em a medal. Beacons of approbation.

They have lobby groups? Who!
International connections and resources
Friends and associates abroad
Good relationships with prime ministers
Lots of under the table. Ants of course!
This is how the city is made, yunno!
Now if I were an ant toiling away
All on that summer's day
I'd want more! Yes, more!

If I were an ant I'd be a political ant.
Make sure I am on the winning side,
Like the good Liberal I am.
For when all is said and done
As we tow the line, at the office,
Searching the sublime way forward
Ants display integrity and cooperation.
The difference is, believe me,
We are not the same.

And now the palpitating
Central pulp declares celebrity status -
More, more, more. Line-up then
For go, go, go this ain't no democracy.
Sound familiar? Heard it all before!
With credit cards and mortgage 'round
Your neck, it's go, go, go.
Is this freedom for your aunt?
Or even for an ant! Oh yeah.

Roger Kemble
NANAIMO BC
October 22, 2001.