Remember when this used to be a bodega where you could by an egg a few cigarettes and some *******?
I only bought **** there
a couple of times
I really went in there for milk or coffee
or an Entenmann’s raspberry danish in the big long rectangle.
I don’t remember the brand I smoked then
but they didn’t sell them.
The guy next door in my building had a thing for rich girls with flash cars
who would buy him clothes and other such presents
He was from the OC
and what he was doing in Brooklyn
I don’t even know
He got involved with some local
Through the corner bodega
And of course proceeded
to date one of their women.
The OC Romeo.
Pink Lacrosse shirt.
Turned up collar.
I had to tell him once to not slap his thigh at me
When I passed him
on that corner
Posing with his newfound buddies.
And to give me back my cassette.
He tells me he left it out on the window sill
And it rained and got wet.
I said give it back anyway.
Not too long after he was gone.
Both he and his yuppie roommate
I heard he moved back to Newport Beach.
I wondered why he ran
Cuz I know he ran
I had some crazy neighbors in Hollywood
into the Russian night.
Someone spotted them a year later.
Playing with the wrong people.
Conning a con.
Your life really is not worth
in those circles
so you’d better be quick on your feet.
He came as an orphan
June 26th, 1865
the death of his mother
Chased and speared by a hunter
First African elephant
At the London Zoo
in all of Europe
How he broke and wore his tusks
In the iron of his enclosure
In night pain from toothaches
From many rotten teeth
Caused by his only grass hay diet
Given whiskey and beer to calm
Shared with his keeper
Matthew Scott, a difficult man
With no close friends
But with a deep empathy for animals
Who drank whiskey
Into the late, lonely night
Jumbo liked whiskey, beer
and lots of sticky buns
A problematic elephant
With a Jekyll and Hyde character
Sold for 2,000 pounds
To PT Barnum
as a star attraction
Jumbo tearing his chains away
Then sitting like a mule
Until he knew his keeper
Would also ride the boat
Across the big pond
Made a deal
Queen Victoria wasn’t happy
Her children had sat
And rode upon his back
Jumbomania in America
Accompanied his arrival
20 million saw him alive
Brooklyn bridge opened in 1882
A year before Jumbo arrived
Then 17 May, 1884
All the way to Brooklyn
led by Jumbo
The bridge vibrated and rebounded
In St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
was his suffering demise
The day the circus train came to town
Tom Thumb and Jumbo
Were waiting to get loaded
Perhaps bumped in the ****
By the speeding freight locomotive
and a slow death
Tom Thumb only a broken leg
Jumbo in a slow death
Scott in a slow death afterwards
the last breath
Of his best friend
Photographed (a recent novelty)
just after his death in B&W
Poor dead Jumbo
Scott at his head
Although PT Barnum
In pure PT Barnum invention
Says Jumbo ran headfirst
Into the freight locomotive
To save his keeper and Tom Thumb
in size and girth
His stuffed mounted skin
burned at Tufts University
except the unbroken bones
plus the end of his tail
“And this is what remains of Jumbo”
Yesterday, I saw wild elephants on the banks of the Zambezi river
near Victoria Falls
Tomorrow I’m hoping to touch Jumbo’s bones in New York City
And walk the Brooklyn Bridge
© 2017 Jim Davis
Jumbo in Swahili means Hello
Written on an UAE Emirates flight from South Africa to New York. With all credit due for words and most phrasing to David Attenborough’s documentary.
“Attenborough and the Giant Elephant”
A few years ago, I heard Barnum and Bailey stopped having elephants as part of their shows!
I really wondered why!
Now I really know!
brooklyn, new york
is not just a place
brooklyn, new york
is sunshine caught in sandy blonde hair
it is the light dusting of eyelashes
it is a pair of deep, hypnotising blue irises
it is a warm smile and a pair of strong arms
brooklyn, new york
is morning kisses across the cheek
it is the smell of sweet syrup on pancakes
it is the sound of 70s music in the background
it is the taste of vanilla ice cream from a tub
it is the feeling of a smooth bubble bath against your skin
it is the view of earthy undertones wherever you turn
brooklyn, new york
is my lover's embrace.
a special place;
a place with the perfect balance
of heat and flames.
fireworks in intersections
and people biking to work
at night they walk around
to the shops and restaurants
the charm of new york city
without the swarming of the gritty
bone grinding largeness
gentrified; an upward *****
trending towards being
the next trendy college town
a boutique of living
and a mural of life
memories dance before my eyes like slides in a movie, except jumbled and in no particular order
Another Earth Day came and went,
Facebook “likes” and e-cards sent.
Locally grown, non-GMO
food was eaten, although
the packaging was thrown away---
it might get recycled—who knows? But hey
it was vegan and gluten free,
and that’s the best for you and me.
Craft Beer bottles bought by the case;
no thought of water gone to waste.
Glass bottles must be melted down,
but it happens in some other town.
Let’s take an Uber to the city;
the subway’s *****—such a pity.
Turn on the a/c, it’s too hot--
Yoga makes me sweat a lot.
Must buy some clothes for my little tot--
knitting? Sewing? That’s a lot
of work that I can’t find time to do.
The Third World does what I eschew.
I’m so virtuous; I’m so Blue--
I’m not Green? How dare you!
I'm not perfect; I drink diet soda sometimes.
there's a *** of water on the radiator
steaming up the windows
in my tiny bedroom -
the one in brooklyn -
where i was too poor to live in a place with a bedroom door
he's here, and he says he doesn't mind the curtain
there's anonymity in city life,
an ease to being completely alone
while surrounded by people
with the chill from outside
and the thought -
just the thought -
of his hands on my skin
his skin on my skin
simon and garfunkle on his old record player
sounds of new york
one bottle of whiskey
how strange to be with someone,
who can make you feel so alone
touch me, please
There are clouds to my right,
massive and grey,
they inch forward across the sky.
Beneath them a stationary sea of stone and cement.
Unmoving waves that’d swallow me if I dared leave my perch.
Around me are noises.
Epic echoes that lend themselves to imaginings of war zones.
In the distance I see flashes
Brief man made stars of red, white, and blue.
The clouds move in.
A silent rolling mass.
The temporary stars try to touch them.
Their lives are too short.
Shining down on me,
The moon smiles,
She knows what it’s like to be temporary.
To need the strength of others to shine.
To be born on path you can’t escape.
The star makers don’t.
The builders and sailors don’t.
We might think we do.
We think we do.
I glance behind me.
To beat up a room that is only ever filled with lonely nights.
To an apartment part of a tradition of temporary dwellers,
With a floor more ocean than the roofs around me will ever be.
New stars reach higher.
I see one peek out from behind a cloud.
My flatmates join me.
We watch the fireworks together.
She's the sweetest thing from down in Brooklyn,
Took my soul on a train ride,
Back to Upper West Side;
Her hair was like the Hudson Bay
Running off with my soul downstream,
Taking it back away -
She's like roses,
Perched upon Times Square;
Swaying in the November air