Theirs was the untrammeled,
the undistilled and utterly alive;
they, the intruders, as bacteria
joining a lifestream for good or ill.
One imagines those extinct byways
where local color underwent no tampering
for tourist benefit, and the alien
was absolute for all five senses.
Hungry? Eat the local grubs. Bask
in sewage smells amid Shangri-La
movie-backdrop; listen with quickened
heartbeat to war drums; observe amazement
on faces fierce above necklaces of bear
claws or precious stones not for sale.
What cornucopias existed then
for the channeling: today's parsimony
of wilderness throbs for its lost kingdoms.
Lark Beltran, Peru