(design/edited Leo Edelstein and Yanni Florence, associate editor Judith Elliston)
from the Psychomilitary issue

Rudi Ketz

Even matter-of-fact naturalists end up waxing poetic when describing me, the Guianan cock-of-the-rock. In my previous life I wore a beautiful SS uniform, but now I’m in my natural state—it’s continually dazzling to witness. ‘A mass of brilliant flame,’ wrote one. ‘A fiery comet,’ said another—I’m used to flattery, your honor. The sight of me, everyone agrees, is unforgettable. Being a nature writer in Brazil, I’m the best source for cock-of-the-rock info. Objectivity is my art. I sport an orange-colored bill. A chestnut stripe, running along the margin, accents my crest’s flawless semicircular shape. From crest to claws, I’m wrapped in mostly orange plumage. My wings, black with a patch of white, are covered by a fluffy layer of golden-orange feathers—it makes me look as though I’m wrapped in a shawl. See, that wasn’t so bad was it? You will agree that in a dark-green rainforest, a bright-orange outfit is hardly the color to wear if you want to blend in. Well, I’m a dandy and I want to be seen. I use my splashy looks to expel rivals and allure admirers. Before my, shall we say ‘return,’ mating season was pretty well circumscribed for male cocks-of-the-rock. They’d descend to well-defined areas called leks. That was where all the hocus pocus took place. The word ‘lek’ probably stems from the Swedish verb att leka, meaning ‘to play.’ Indeed, for years naturalists understood our courtship capers to be nothing more than play—a pleasant matinee on the forest floor. More recently they learned that a lek can be transformed with a bit of concrete and inspiration. I set up the Jungle Dancers Club after my rebirth in Brazil. The actual date of my comeback is confidential. To be honest I felt as if I’d never really left. My affiliations in the intervening years had made me an expert organizer. Jungle Dancers is an explicit cock-of-the-rock entertainment center. I mean, there’s a time and a place for everything. The people, they say, who survived my elegant supremacy, will never let ‘the next generation’—ha!—forget. The Jungle Dancers Club is living proof that we should all forgive and forget. We should remember, however, that white ghosts are destroying the rainforest like there’s no tomorrow and Jungle Dancers is under threat. The ongoing entertainment of the Amazonian cock-of-the-rock should be high on your list of priorities dear nature lover, so please be sure to give as generously as you can.