The polar bears captured as juveniles
during an episode of Wild Cargo
just after the first years of their young lives
when they were dependent on the mother for survival
along the northern coast of Greenland
yellow now, fully-grown,
taller than generals,
intent on red
puncture-proof rubber balls
smeared with peanut butter, skidding over simulated ice floes:
the bears' condition not that bad,
considering humans -- maybe they were Puerto Ricans --
are harder to digest than fish,
even street urchins
skipping school, stripped to white cotton brief underwear
on a fledgling and untested macho dare
beside the tank.
Such is the problem with childcare in poor ethnic neighborhoods ...
The director, producer and star of Wild Cargo,
told by a journalist
while being interviewed for Playboy magazine
he was rumored to be on the kill list of a third world dictator
hundreds of hours of the filmed expeditions
as well as some natives imprisoned for having been saved by this white man
for whom they'd been working as porters and guides --
he says there's no hereafter, what matters:
faster airplanes, bigger crocodiles, and younger women.
This doesn't mean
soaring rates for jet insurance
doesn't have some very far-reaching importance,
or anyone who says he's not afraid
looking out a cockpit to see an engine on fire isn't a fool and liar --
but walking into a restaurant in Las Vegas
to the palpable electric
charge in the air
as a hundred men turn as one
and give a standing ovation to his much younger wife
makes it worthwhile.
to lead the orchestra
you must turn your back on the audience.