What We Talk About When We Talk About Elephants

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While on the subject of elephants , I had a friend once we all called ‘2 ply’ because he was thick-skinned; he didn’t feel like the rest of us; things had to be intense to get through that extra layer but when they did, he felt and gave out generously. Some found him a little distant.

 

My mother had a saying, “I can forgive but not forget.” She was good at grudges. My uncle, who was the recipient on more than one occasion, said she carried a chip on her shoulder big as a butcher’s block.

 

My other uncle had elephantiasis. He was always adjusting himself in the groin area. It looked like he was playing with himself in public. He and auntie never had children. Some nights in adolescence I would lie awake and think about uncle and his swollen scrotum. I had a ghoulish fascination with enlarged body parts. Doesn’t everyone?

Elephant

 

 

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It looked like it would stomp any minute

trumpeting in terror from being woken

after all these years.

What had we done?

What if it went berserk?

Trampled on our good intentions?

Pooped all over the room?

[Have you ever seen elephant poo?]

Or, worse, collapsed on one of us like a slab

Of cement?

 

A Long Angry Pair of Trousers

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You could hear them growling

as they came up the street

bristling with fury

mumbling obscenities

the long angry pair of trousers.

They were rumpled.

They were crumpled.

They had had a bad night.

They did not want to be there.

On him.

Anywhere butt.

They were positively scopophobic

but he didn’t get it.

so they squinched his anatomy.

soiled the cuffs.

Had he not noticed?

But they were all he had

So he wore them

Those long angry pair of trousers.

 

Heatwave

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Yesterday was really something.

A race to the top after five grueling days.

It was like a marathon.

The bureau reported, almost gleefully,

we had done it! we had broken the previous record.

It almost made it worthwhile.

The hottest day in the State’s history!

Yet people kept their cool

Even when the grid crashed.

Emergency Services stayed on top of things.

No one died.

We phoned each other.

Are you okay? We asked.

Yes! I’m okay, I barked after the tenth inquiry.

I was losing my cool.

Other states get floods, fires.

We get heatwaves.

By morning the cool had come.

We waved the heat goodbye.

 

have you experienced similar conditions?

what’s the worst weather conditions you experienced?

 

Who Would Do That?

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Who would do that?

Put a dead pigeon in yr rubbish bin?

If it was good enough

To put in my bin

Why wasn’t it good enough

To put in theirs?

O the stink,

The weight of it!

I shovelled it out of the bin

And tossed it,

Neck all crumpled,

Into the far right hand corner of the garden

Where it could decay

In dignity

Among the cluster of leaves.

The only good thing is

It’s given me something rancorous

To write about.

 

have you had any incidents with neighbors or strangers re your rubbish bins?

Who’s in Charge Here, Anyway?

 

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My body alarms me.

It rings two or three times a night.

Who’s in charge here anyway?

Poetry flowed from me

Like water from a garden hose.

Days were diamonds.

My feet horses’ hooves.

Nothing defeated me.

I was sharp as Sherlock.

Prolific as Zola.

I had two hounds.

The wheels turn.

Accept, my friend tells me, Embrace.

Loss is gain.

Now is the new normal.