The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingPurple-Faced Langur - Issue Thirty
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Purple-faced Langur from  Christiano Artuso The Purple - Faced Langur is an Old World monkey endemic to Sri Lanka. They are long-tailed, arboreal, mostly brown species with a dark face and a very shy nature. They live in closed canopy forests in Sri Lanka's mountains and the southwestern part of the country, known as the "wet zone". They are mostly folivorous, but will also feed on fruits like Dimocarpus longan and Drypetes sepiaria, flowers, and seeds. While they normally avoid human habitations, fruit such as jak, rambutan, banana, and mango may contribute up to 50% to their diet in cultivated areas. Their digestive tract, with its specialized stomach bacteria, has evolved to derive the majority of their required nutrients and energy from complex carbohydrates found in leaves. Males are usually larger than females and both have black to grayish brown coats, and whitish to gray short 'trousers' rounded off by purplish-black faces with white sideburns. Part of the back is covered with whitish fur, and tail is also furred with black and white mixed colors. Feet, and hands are also purplish-black in color. They use vocalization to alert members of predators, attract mates, defend territory, and locate group members. Like humans, adult males are the most vocal among the entire group and their defensive whooping calls are also accompanied by intense visual and locomotive displays. Their range has constricted greatly in the face of human encroachment, although it can still be seen in Sinharaja, Kitulgala, Kandalama, Mihintale, in the mountains at Horton Plains National Park or in the rainforest city of Galle. Populations are critically low within and between sites. Threats to this species include infringement on range by croplands, grazing, changing agriculture, road production, soil loss/erosion and deforestation, poisoning from prevention of crop raiding, and hunting for medicine and food.


Abuelo's Last Wish: Independence


Andrés Castro

1970: The Mainland

was tall, skeletal, black hair wavy thick,
brown eyes set deep above nose, straight razor
shaven square jowls—splash of pungent bay rum.
White shirt Chinese laundered, grey Bogart suits,
vested time piece, black fedora, shoes wing-tipped
brown, shirtless days climbing jerry-built scaffold,
set against old two-story wood home in the Bronx.
Days happiest spent shingling the roof, painting
gardening. Sundays very best, a big breakfast, La
Igleisa Christiana
, then home, sitting on the porch,
singing hymns to vines of red roses and listening god.

Oh si yo quiero viver con Cristo,
Oh si yo quiero andar con Cristo,
Oh si yo quiero morir con Cristo,
Quiero serle un testigo fiel.

1971: Boriken

Returned to dirt road snaking by open fields, palm
trees, abandoned plantations, ending at green lagoon,
stony farmland, corrugated tin-roofed shack up on
brick stilts, fenced in by thin wood slats chicken wire.
Black-spotted mangoes hanging from short bushy trees;
red orange white chickens trotting around piglets: tiny
green lizards playing tag on brown outhouse doors; old
goat with wise feminine eyes nibbling at a collar rope,
porch window screened, shirtless Abuelo hunched over
sun-bleached workbench, listening to a radio antique,
smiling, gnarled fingers rolling cigars, he would not sell.


Notes: Boriken: pre-Columbian name given to Puerto Rico by its indigenous Taino people. Spain's colony for 400 years, 8 days after being granted autonomy, becomes de facto colony of the U.S. after invasion of 1898. Due to island's easy to occupy small size, is ground zero for brutal experimentation and exploitation by U.S. industrial/government/military complex. By 1960, U.S. Gov. subsidized corporations owned most of island's wealth producing land, resources-poor & working class fully subjugated. Gov. is now bankrupt. Over 45% of population lives below U.S. poverty line. December 9, 2015, GOP blocked proposed bankruptcy bill that would allow P.R. to restructure its debt. Austerity schemes including cuts to public services and primary to higher education to follow. Check my facts. Recommend recently released Nelson A. Denis' War Against All Puerto Ricans and David Talbot's The Devil's Chessboard.

Andrés Castro is a PEN member/volunteer and is also listed in the Directory of Poets and Writers. This poem first appeared in The Acentos Review. More recently, his work appeared in Pilgrimage, Counterpunch, New Verse News, and Montreal Serai. He maintains a blog for new and not so new practicing poets: An earlier version of "Abuelo's Last Wish: Independence" first appeared in The Acentos Review.
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