The Department of Explanation
Dr. Lester Hazlewood-Simon
Today they brew, tomorrow they bake. Next day the country’s reins they
take. No one knows their political game. Rumpelstiltskin is its name.
Early one morning, a woman walks into the department of explanation. What does she want? Explanation, of course. Explanation. Explanation. Explanation. The wretched, melancholy lady wants to know why, after ten years, she has to choose between staying with her current lover, and leaving him for a new suitor.
The apprenticed heckler at the door reminds her, in a not-too-gentle manner, that she came here five years ago, and indeed five years before that, asking the very same question. He wonders why she doesn’t use her phone and call and save the trip. Her phone is out of service? He suggests she goes to church more often.
The master heckler rebukes him. She, by her very name, is of the church. She was not always like this. You can still see some history in her. A conformation that beguiles the beginner; inlets and outlets to recess and rest in reverie; a level but shapely abdomen without extensive flabs; gentle, inviolate, undulations in the right places; and, if you are up for the hike, handfuls of rolling hills rising to an elevation that makes men peak and go boggy.
The apprentice whinges. The master continues. Her problem is that men have always been fighting over her, from ancient times to now. But do they really love her? There is very little evidence of this. Greed, power, narcissism and indifference, masquerade as love for her.
The intrigued apprentice wants to know how to love an island. Leave her and go on voyages to discover lands in her name. Plant her flag on captured territory. Bring back gold and silver and curry and pepper, like Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama. The master heckler reminds him he has to first learn to swim and sail to do all that. Then he has to convert natives to Christianity and give orders to burn to death women and children as they plead for their lives.
The young heckler considers his options. He will have to invent chattel slavery and erect edifices and statues. Tourists will visit, including the descendants of the slaves who built the cities on cane and chain under the pain of death. They will admire and respect and take pictures, without flash, lest they have a flashback on history. Worse, he will have to refuse to come to the table for a civilizing discussion on reparations.
Some islands, like some women, are best left alone, before and after the meridian of life. They are not worth looking at or fighting for. But not this ardent, native one. This island-lady demands explanation but really needs no explanation at all. She comes here every five years because she has the power and the greed. What can simple hecklers tell her? Look back and see what her lover has done in 10 years and in that same fertile moment of imagination look forward to what her suitor can do. With her power and greed, she engages and enjoys this real and imaginary, uninhibited, quinquennial concoction.
But is she worse than politicians? Their divine power and rampant greed are everlasting because they pretend to give us the right to choose. And we love the collusion of pretence. They can turn straw into gold. They can move mountains, whether or not Mohammed wants to go to the mountain. We know the truth but the effervescent thought of the impossible becoming possible fills us with incandescent joy, like milligrams of viagra in a geriatric, desiccated, shrunken man.
Such nice people; some politicians. Granting favours, solicited and unsolicited, out of the sheer kindness of their heart. What can we do without them? Every five years we become desperate for real love or for play-play love. Our tender heart cannot pump alone.
And so this island-lady is garlanded with planks of aching signs, complaining symptoms and logs of political medications that can make you sick. With so many promises to fulfil and so many premises of wood, her natural beauty is lost from the full forest and the single trees.
Our island-lady knows what promises are real, unreal or surreal. She knows when politicians are lying through their teeth. She can even taste the potential misery in their five-year, greeting kiss. And yet, the department of explanation is called upon every five years to explain this consensual orgy of power and greed; this fusion of pretentious love and portentous lust. Yes, we vote with an X.