Is it the islands, or their inhabitants,
that once struck me as alien,
as alienated as I am now from my compatriots,
their separation from the mainland
an intentional disconnection from the normal webs of society?
When you’re on the mainland
looking across
you see this thing, and quite naturally there is an inescapable urge:
you want to get to it,
to see whether there is actually something different
there, and that it is true what they say, that its roads
are not as deeply rutted, its denizens
more idiosyncratic in their manner of dress
and the matter of manners, and really,
you think that they don’t care as much
about the way things are done on the mainland.
Only that may not be so. I mean, to the people
who live out there on the island,
( unless there are so many of them, like for instance
in Manhattan, that all they see is each other,)
there is really a sense of isolation,
and they’re always a bit edgy, like they’ve got
the mark of Cain or something, whatever, that will eventually be outed,
so they may even try
to assimilate more of the ways of the mainland
than the people who actually live there really have.
So the reality is that these denizens, who are usually not even indigenous to the place,
become more conservative, especially
now with the internet, and the way that they are lambasted
by the newspapers and TV for allegedly being
such moral outcasts, insensitive to the majority’s tenets, than those
who are landlocked in the very center of the country.
I don’t know. It used to be
that if an island was effectively far,
and not connected by the umbilicus of a metallic span,
or better yet, could not be seen,
then, by being there,
as if one had fled to a land of make-believe,
a sense of independence might be achieved.
But today, such characteristics have so quickly been rinsed away,
like a Chloroxed decolorization of churning clothes,
so islands are condo-congeries, petty kingdoms
of high-rise homes with their attendant malls;
wherein minds are mix-master homogenized
and congealed. And there is no such sanctuary.