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On elephant’s back,
Mahout tenuously perched,
Swoon over moon!
Jim Davis Nov 2018
He came as an orphan
June 26th, 1865
Having seen
the death of his mother
Chased and speared by a hunter

First African elephant
in Europe
At the London Zoo
All alone
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
with Jumbo
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

Barnum’s Scott
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
Twenty elephants
marched across
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
Internal bleeding
and a slow death
Tom Thumb only a broken leg

Jumbo in a slow death
Scott in a slow death afterwards
Having witnessed
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
Weeping inconsolably

Although PT Barnum
In pure PT Barnum invention
Says Jumbo ran headfirst
Into the freight locomotive
To save his keeper and Tom Thumb

Jumbo died
at twenty-four
still young
and growing
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!
The Dybbuk Nov 2018
Green tea, red fire,
Glowing in the place.
Black screen, white tusk,
A poised trunk with grace.
Pupil-less and empty,
Stare into the soul.
Thick flesh-less life,
Ebony and coal.
Distinctly creepy in its eyes,
But beautiful without.
Distracting from its evil,
With the fountain of its spout.
Izzy Aghahowa Nov 2018
metal flowers and metal wings
stuck on sandpaper landlines
the ego of the atmosphere is blending in with my inner traumas
and bleeding into my spaces
and into locked cabinets i hid
to protect my caged elephant heart

black and white chaos is the only purity we can understand
on this bohemian shore
TB Dentz Jul 2018
Reinaldo was the name they gave the great white elephant
Who came to clear the jungles around Sao Paulo
A clever notion that because Reinaldo was born in the jungle
Any jungle would do just fine, Brazilian or Siamese made no difference
Just as clever was the notion that because I was a black man, educated
I would do just fine directing other black men to do work, English or Portuguese made no difference
Was I truly so much a fool, twice over?

Reinaldo occasionally was afflicted with slothfulness
Some of the men thought it was from lack of **** and whip
I was of a mind that it was due to lack of companionship
It was costly enough to ship one giant beast across a great sea
I left a wife, in Maryland, whom I never loved and who never loved me
I admit before the plan was in motion I never considered that Reinaldo could have a family
Sometimes, I wonder, did he have a wife who never loved him?

Loneliness became a common theme in our new home away from home
And Reinaldo and I became friends, at least I thought of him fondly
As far as I could say, of all the men he responded best to me
At times it seemed a load of lumber was hauled as a personal favor
For the handler too soft to handle with fear and anger
But as much as loneliness was a theme, so was change, and death

The lifespan of an elephant compares to the lifespan of men
Were this scheme of mine to have worked as desired
I could have sent for a cow, and made Reinaldo a sire
Soon it was revealed that slothfulness was a symptom of an elephant young, healthy and wise
Who sensed not his own, but a friend's imminent demise
Now I am left to wonder how Reinaldo will fare in a world stranger than I could have known
His softest handler and only friend bedridden, waiting for my disease to take its final toll
This poem is not about me
I’m in my prime; at the cusp of my development.
A few more years of growth makes decay a lot more relevant…
Glass Elephant,
Glass Elephant,
Irrelevance, benevolence, compassion, or malevolence;
I’m one of few who sees it sums no difference.
Glass objects.
Or Elephants.
Irrelevance,
Irrelevance

Striving for motion, with motive elusive
Each thing I endeavor is far too exclusive
I need something inclusive, objectively singular
A sinusoidal wave with a mean lacking integers
Peace in zero and equilibrium inclusion
Glass Elephant
Glass Elephant
Delusions, Delusions
icantbearmyself Jun 2018
elephants moved to
small red houses on both
of my shoulders and they
sing and sometimes scream

they invite the rain and just
drain all the breeze I have
on my mind

today they painted
the houses pastel blue and
they started to grow
with the raindrops

the water level is rising
as I am becoming smaller
under the weight of the
elephants

it can't end well
Zero Nine Dec 2017
We dream
we want
the awards you take
We dream
we buy
the hypocrisy
We dream
we want
the new days you describe
in your speeches

The soap box betrays you

Twitter. Tweeting. Facebook. Facade.
Insta. Instant. Dopamine rush.

If you could separate your self from the stage,
that would be great.
-- but if you're going to make a political statement
while accepting an award for your humanity,
you might want to think about what your
individual actions tell the world about you.

Who will listen?
Who will ask?
Looks like money once more
takes the last laugh.
Opulence. "Must be nice."
Matt McCleve Nov 2017
I fell asleep in a bed of roses
Woke up cut from head to toes
Is this my life? Flowers aren't my thing.
She said, "we need to talk" so I relented, we spent some time trading perspectives
Round and round in circles we went, but I didn't know to train the elephant
to say a word, so in the room he sat.

But I didn't know, what to do, words left unsaid, an elephant in the room.

You felt we ended fit as a fiddle, mine's untuned and feels so brittle, I left you for an island of unrest

One bite at a time, it won't let me forget, these thoughts drown out my sleeping princess. Am I friend or foe to her kingdom's happiness?

I tossed and turned, it twisted my guts, and then and there even though it was tough, I knew it was time to chew my elephant through.

I thought of some words and started to shake, but in my throat my words felt fake. My breath wouldn't flow and my tongue got stuck, her face drained of light, and that's when she realized she'd run out of luck

I knew I'd bit more than I could chew so I spit it out so words could spew. She started out shocked and it turned to mad, I stayed the course and spoke every last piece, I interwove thoughts till the puzzle's complete. At last I was through and she looked kind of numb, I felt ashamed that I made her feel dumb.

Finally I knew that "me and she" were done, I hung my head down feeling like I'd lost and I'd won, I conquered that elephant, a new man I'd become, but I lost my love

The silence lasted a while, she looked up at me like an innocent child, I said I'll go, but she said no.

I froze there again and stillness set in, and what happened next I'll never forget, she looked into my soul and somehow she knew, all she said was "thank you"

Her words melted the ice and it dripped from my eyes, my mask had crumbled, no more disguise. Though I'd just begun, I knew the battle was won, I learned to truth and she learned to trust, with my elephant left back in the dust.
an ode to anyone who's had the courage to have an honest converstaion
Blois Nov 2017
I don't know what to do with it all,
the flowers, the elephant and the
ruins under my feet.
The long and brooding presence.

It is clear that I haven't come to grips
with this upsidedown world. I shouln't have
saved all these goodbyes (at the end, all die
and their ghosts will never leave you).

I saw you floating today and I found
how hard it is to scream underwater.
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