Dear risk-challenged, dear tourists, dear restless
comfort-seeking, there is uncharted terra firma
to be explored. Lace up your boots, strap on your tents,
turn your maps upside down, lose your guides,
and swallow your worries. O, benign sheep!
Nonconformists! O, lemmings sailing from the cliff edge!
Hurl your Gucci luggage into the nearest loch.
Be adventurous! Revel in discomfort, let the perspiration
trickle from your anxious hearts. Follow
your primal instincts, lose your bearings
in sun-stained archipelagos. Eat from the fish sellers,
rice paddies, orange trees, quench your thirst
from glacial streams funneling over slippery boulders,
let your feet grow leather! There are volcanoes
under cities, exotic-spiced, cinnamon flavored
gourds of lava. The clamoring cries of the snake-toothed
carpet-sellers, hennaed ladies in souks, dark with greed.
Soak it up! Let it build a crust on your marsh-mallow
skin. O, glistening underbelly! O, pine-needled vista!
O, wafts of hot tar in busy ports! You fountain-bathers,
you graffiti artists of life, you homeless buzzards, snapping
your blue-eyed fingers in time with primitive djembes.
Fry your termites and crunch them between your teeth.
Hear their mellifluous pop and crackling, speaking
all the tongues ever conjured on earth’s roiling mass
of humanity with whom you’ll mingle. Fling away
your shekels, let them marvel at your beautiful zaniness,
your mesmerizing-sphinx chuckle. Stoke a bonfire
at the diagonal peak of Kilimanjaro. Soften the stones
in Notre-Dame’s bell tower with your sleeping bag,
you minstrel, you dusty-throated guzzler. May you never
enter the claustrophobic marble halls of a Hilton again,
you charmed chameleon. O anonymous gargoyle!
Only one last plea: toss your cumbersome gadgets,
thread your images on the lens of lavender-gilded memory.
Proceed with abandon! Trust me when I promise you
that all the mysteries in Homer’s wine-dark sea
are lapping eagerly at your starry heels.