Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Study of Swarm Intelligence

by Yours Truly


The creatures scatter
at the sight of one of their own
shot dead.
That is when they show
ant-like qualities,
falling into pheromone trails
of fury and protest.
Swiftly, the once-empty streets
crawl with millions.
They parade a new queen
drenched in yellow war paint.
She leads
a swarm so single-minded
that the existing royals
are summarily dethroned
the entire colony repatterned
like never before.


Further observation of the creatures
leads me to suppose that the new age
may not be so new after all.
During a lull filled with fresh elects,
I see what might be a reenactment
of the first dethronement.
The signs follow:
individuals and their little conclaves
calls to reform
jump from one hand to the next.
A loud voice or two is enough
to herd the all-too-ready
onto the streets once more. There,
the yellow queen
endorses another queen.
I know how this ends.


I may have been mistaken.
Their patterns may be more akin to that of bees
foraging, perching from one flower to the next
for ever sweeter nectar—
that is this creature’s quest for leaders
even if they must alight on the shoulders
of rapists, thieves and murderers
which is what I fail to understand
why they refuse to abandon
solutions no longer viable, drawing
from resources long exhausted.
If this is a sickness of the mind
of the individual, or the colony
or the system;
one or all, I cannot tell.
It may all just be a performance
of hardwired instinct.

First Appeared in The Philippines Graphic Magazine, December 2013

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