Tourism Truths

Like a poisonous snake
and just as shiny
with hissing, humming sounds,
the bus advances through the fields
but arrives merely half as elegantly
in front of the flashing sign.
(There will be more of its kind
in equal distances,
with all the same logos.)
The entrance was sketched in Disney World’s Epcot
and leads to the heritage grounds;
these grounds did, once, belong to
who tended these earths and the grassland.
But alas, they moved away so long ago, probably sold all their herds even longer ago.
Now the masses descend and mingle in chaos
right beneath the flashing sign
to photograph themselves countless times anew
with a stick as long as three arms.
Now the flood bulldozes down
–thunderingly and uncontrolled–
the main road of this village so new
as the manicure of the ladies’ gloved hands.
The yurts of the Mongolians resemble the old
with their colorful paintings and features
to keep cool in hot months and warm in winter winds,
and hide from enemy’s spies.
Once inside, though, the hotel room shines
and invites the domestic tourist
to feel more at home than anywhere else
and forget about the intended homage
to those who still live in poverty
and stand up to political demise
but tend to their cattle in harmony
with seasons and the horizon so vast.
So within these concrete walls of the yurts,
elite standards hide away truths
about privilege and power
and those who lack both
and veil them with hair driers and blinds.
If traveler and tourist is one and the same
in these fields so wide and so harsh,
the real journey is halted abruptly then
and it’s revelations erased with a sponge,
leaving merely the empty copy.
So what quest are we really on
and how much truth can we really take,
or has luxury already corrupted us
and planted false promises instead?