The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Patas Monkey - Issue Sixteen
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The Patas Monkey, photo from Christian ArtusoThe Patas Monkey is distributed over semi-arid areas of West Africa, and into East Africa. The ground-dwelling patas avoids dense woodlands and lives in more open savanna and semi-deserts and, perhaps as an evolutionary response to the high adult mortality rates associated with this strongly terrestrial lifestyle, has a remarkably high reproductive rate. The patas monkey feeds on insects, gum, seeds, and tubers, a diet more characteristic of much smaller primates, and they grow to 85 cm in length, excluding the tail, which measures 75 cm. Adult males are considerably larger than adult females and some of them can reach speeds of 55 km/h, making them the fastest runner among the primates. They have several distinct alarm calls that warn members in the group of predators. Different alarm calls are given by different group members and certain alarm calls indicate particular predators. Unlike other primates, patas monkeys rarely take refuge from predators in trees. This is most likely the due to the relatively sparse tree cover in patas monkey habitats. While patas monkeys usually run away from predators, both male and female individuals have been observed to attack predators, such as jackals and wildcats.


The Internet Café at the End of the World


I am the strange man in my small town
who entertains hopes of survival.
It isn't as easy as you'd think.
What can I do about the middle
no longer being the middle, or
having a middle? There is no
middle here! And every day they
are working their wheel to grind it
down to its smallest, largest part.
Nor is this mere philosophy
to the weird woman in Mogadore
--there is a town called Mogadore--
who works two jobs and moonlights
as a telephone psychic and tells me
that it is most often hard not to say,
"You're fucked. We're all fucked.
The whole place is fucked."
I will string some wires between us
and fill them with starlight and eels,
and then route it out to those girls
who live in Aubrey and tell their parents
they are roommates, and down to
the man in Louisiana for whom
the Mississippi's dead zone is a cancer
of the eye, staining a pupil's black
all the rest of the world. We'll need
that woman I met in a Missouri bar,
who speaks French and is an extra,
knowing neither how to grow a vegetable
nor stalk an animal, but whom I adore
for the accent and all her myths
of the exotic and suggestions of life.
Anyone who can convert a Dodge Dart
to solar power is welcome, of course,
as are you who can find a box of
the candy bars of my youth or
Freshen Up gum, particularly cinnamon.
You will join me in longing for the return
of cheap Converse high tops and
the worldwide stoppage of clocks.
Our first task is to make sure that
certain people are troubled at night,
and stare at their ceilings until they see
starving children and clear-cut forests,
fat toddlers with cheese puffs fingers
and dairy cows giving flame-retardant
milkshakes to ex-monks and cabdrivers.
Because you can't pray the acid out
of the ocean, it's getting too hot
to sit through a baseball game,
and we're already accustomed to
living underground. We will gather
a million points of light, call our own
together at last, and hold a dance
down in the deep. The earth spins
in its grave, this is our homecoming.
We will dance in the dark, and there
will be no one left to laugh at us.

Todd Heldt's poems have appeared in dozens of print and online venues. In 2009, Ghost Road Press published my first full-length collection of poetry, Card Tricks for the Starving. I live in Chicago with my wife Kelly and two young sons. I aspire to feel okay about things.
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