The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Yellow Baboon - Issue Forty-Four
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Vervet Monkey  from Christiano Artuso The Yellow Baboon is an old world monkey which inhabits savannas and light forests in eastern Africa, from Kenya and Tanzania to Zimbabwe and Botswana. Like other baboons, they are omnivorous, with a preference for fruits; they also eat plants, leaves, seeds, grasses, bulbs, bark, blossoms and fungi, as well as worms, grubs, insects, spiders, scorpions, birds, rodents and small mammals. All species of baboons are highly opportunistic feeders and will eat virtually any food they can find. They have slim bodies with long arms and legs, and yellowish-brown hair. Their hairless faces are black, framed with white sideburns. Males can grow to about 84 cm, females to about 60 cm. They have long tails which grow to be nearly as long as their bodies. The average life span of the yellow baboon in the wild is roughly 15-20 years; some may live up to 30 years. They are diurnal, terrestrial, and live in complex, mixed-gender social groups of 8 to 200 individuals per troop. They use at least ten different vocalizations to communicate. When traveling as a group, males will lead, females and young stay safely in the middle, and less-dominant males bring up the rear. A baboon group's hierarchy is a serious matter, and some subspecies have developed behaviours intended to avoid confrontation and retaliation. For example, males may use infants as a kind of "passport" or shield for safe approach toward another male. One male will pick up the infant and hold it up as it nears the other male. This action often calms the other male and allows the first male to approach safely. They fulfill several functions in their ecosystem, not only serving as food for larger predators, but also dispersing seeds in their waste and through their messy foraging habits. They have been able to fill a variety of ecological niches, including places inhospitable to other animals, such as regions taken over by human settlement. Thus, they are one of the most successful African primates. However, their tendency to live near people also means they are considered pests. Raids on farmers' crops and livestock and other such intrusions into human settlements have made most baboons species subject to many organized extermination projects. Continued habitat loss forces more and more baboons to migrate toward areas of human settlement.



These Hands


Nanci Woody

These hands, they frighten me.
The veins, bulging, snaking from wrist to finger
signal the end.

These worn out mother's hands once clenched in pain
as my onlyborn
struggled to be free of me.
These hands severed cord
put baby to breast.

These hands, they frighten me.
Skin transparent, dry.
These mother's hands held countless books,
child on lap.
These hands once creative
drew birds and flowers
danced over keyboards for child's entertainment.

These hands, they frighten me.
wrinkles where none used to be.
These impatient mother's hands
ripped switch from tree
snapped it on child's bare legs.

These hands, they frighten me.
Knots at the knuckles tell truth.
These mother's hands carried child into cold light of emergency room
lay on heaving chest
rested on forehead, calmed.

These hands, they frighten me.
These mother's hands that leapt to eyes
pulled at hair
put fist in mouth to hold back sob.
These hands that didn't stop abuse.
Didn't grab it by the throat and squeeze.

These hands that hung helpless by my side, frighten me.
Age spots scream no more chances.
Hands slap at suffocating air.

Nanci Lee Woody was a college professor, textbook author and Dean of Business before writing her first novel. Tears and Trombones won an Independent Publishers award for “Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region,” as well as other awards. The novel can be purchased on and you can listen to much of the fascinating music in the novel at She has published many short stories and poems in print anthologies and online magazines and recently completed the pilot to convert Tears and Trombones to an eight-episode streaming series. For other examples of Nanci’s writing, visit



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