LOCAL VIEW –The Underground Bugs–

I’ve always been a member of the underground, and the underground bugs people who believe you should be up front and honest, and step forward to be shot at.  About the only time I “came out” in any way, shape or form was in 1969, and that wasn’t really my doing. I was not at all cool in my school, being rather shaggy and unkempt, but suddenly that was in style, and to my amazement people were abruptly looking up to me as some sort of authority on coolness. It didn’t last long. Before I could really settle into the novel experience of being in-fashion, Disco came along, and I was back to being an outcast.

I don’t really see how people find the time to be fashionable. There are much better things to think about, and too little time to think about them. So I have tended to go my own way, disinterested in fashion, and far more interested in this thing called “Truth”.

Many fashionable people don’t want to hear the Truth, preferring  stuff they find snazzier, and therefore Truth gets relegated to their subconscious, and if they want to get at the Truth they have to hire a psuedoscientist psychologist. I had better things to do with my money, (and anyway, back in the 1970’s when I fooled about with such things, I tended to cause psychologists nervous breakdowns by telling them the Truth about psychology).

Years have past, and I’ve become a grouchy old man who wanders an inner world others avoid, and I’ve discovered that this underground bugs people. For example, people say you should be up front and honest, but when I have told the Truth about Global Warming I am told I am a “Denier” and should zip my lip. I don’t. One of the prerogatives of being a grouchy old man is that you don’t have to be as shy and reclusive as a young poet must be, and you are allowed to be a royal pain, and heck if I am going to give up that right.

In any case, it is likely for this reason I identify with underground bugs, especially when they go to the top of a tree and scream at the top of their lungs. We had a bunch of these “come out” yesterday, as little brown crawly things that scrabbled slowly up the sides of trees, and then cracked their backs. Not only did they come out of the dirt and darkness, but they came out of their old selves.

Cicada 1 FullSizeRender

That bunched-up thing to the side is a wing, and the first order of business for this bug, called a “cicada”, is to pump up that wing so it works.

Cicada 2 FullSizeRender

The kids at our Farm-childcare were not entirely impressed by this wonder, and some found it pretty gross.Cicada 3 IMG_3562

However I myself found it a wonder, and also a handy symbol; IE:  If you come out of the dirt and darkness into the Truth and Light you discover you have wings.

Cicada 4 FullSizeRender

This means you have to leave the dirt and darkness and the husk of your old self behind. Unfortunately back in 1969 hippies like myself didn’t get this part quite right. We felt being open and honest meant plunging into lust and drugs and greed, and made a mess of things by remaining with the old husk.

Cicada 6 FullSizeRender

Not that joy wasn’t involved, and being depraved wasn’t such fun that, if I was young again, I might not be tempted to make the same mistakes all over again. But even insects know enough to leave the husk behind.

Cicada 7 FullSizeRender

They fly to the tree tops and sing a song that contributes to the sheer sizzle of summer.  And we? What do we have in hand? The mere husk of life?

Cicada 8 IMG_3564

Besides the emergence of cicadas being an interesting tidbit of science, the underground bugs also demonstrates how I can take a symbol and run with it. Many psychologists find this unnerving, because they figure they are suppose to be telling you what the symbols mean, but poets (and small children) tend to juggle symbols and fling them about like paper airplanes, while psychologists are still laboriously counting on their thumbs and consulting the manual.

By the way, the cicadas that spend 17 years underground before emerging have red eyes and live further south. Therefore, in the true spirit of Yankee one-upsmanship, I have decided to call our species  “18-year-cicadas” (until I learn otherwise.)

I can feel a sonnet brewing. I’ll add it on to this post later if I get around to writing it, but I think the final line will be, “It’s amazing how long some can live in the dark.”

(PS:  I finally wrote the sonnet on July 31):

Some summer long ago I knew the light,
But fell to earth and came to dwell down deep
In dank tunnels, subsisting on sap. Sight
Became a groping thing, and to creep
Became the norm, until today I got
The crazy urge to quit sucking the sap.
The dark felt suffocating, and I thought
I must go up for air, and left the trap
I’d long embraced. I climbed up, returned
To the dazzle of light, the push of wind.
My crusty skin felt old; my back burned;
And then I split from the husk where I’d been pinned.
I find I’ve grown a set of lacy wings
And can fly to tree tops where romance sings.

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7 thoughts on “LOCAL VIEW –The Underground Bugs–

  1. You described my life perfectly, out of step 1948-1965. 1966-1975 in step. 1976-2016 out of step. To show you how out of step I currently am, do not even own a suit or tie. If heaven forbid, I have to go to a wedding or funeral, I am out of luck!

    In any event, whether I was in step or out of step, it wasn’t me that changed.

    Wasn’t it amazing how the 1960’s non-conformists all non-conformed the exact same?

    • “I want to be a non-conformist like everyone else.”

      I suppose it is natural to want to emulate those we admire, but my older brother didn’t like it much when I tried to act like he did. I did such a bad job of it that it became a sort of parody.

      What really I didn’t like was when someone much older tried to be hip and hang out out with us. It is one thing when the young try to emulate their father figures, but what do call it when the old copy the young? Emulating “son figures”? Or maybe just senility?

      • Around 1970, I knew a 40 something with a good, high paying job. He had a “mid-life crisis”, dumped his wife and ran off to join a commune where there were no doubt a lot of hot, young chicks he could hit on. A classic case of an older creep trying to be hip and hang out with the young.

        I wonder how all of that worked out for him. In retrospect the whole notion seems ridiculous, but the lure of free love and all those cute, young flower children less than half his age overcame his common sense.

  2. Love those cicadas! Saw them come out in Texas a few years ago. Fascinating when they clean themselves off after emerging. Your poetry comments of late reminded me of a line from the song ‘Cold Dog Soup’ by Guy Clark. ‘Well there ain’t no money in poetry. That’s what sets the poet free. I’ve had all the freedom I can stand……” Looking forward to the Cicada Sonnet.

    P.s. Still looking for the guy with one blue eye in Chile…..

  3. Pingback: LOCAL VIEW –Do Gnats Still Sing?– | Sunrise's Swansong

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