To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rochelle Owens: Devour Not the Elephant

Poaching scene 
crime scene  carcasses of
dead rhinos and Savannah elephants 

Precious the ivory tusks and horns 
cut off  severed

Two from a bull
raw and bleeding holes gouged
into Jumbo’s face

Swollen  infected the wounds
every day bears the data

Data of body 
feces  hair and nails  yellowish-white
bones push to the surface

In the green of leaves  Earth 
Air  Fire  Water


What is property?
property is the body  Ears  Trunk 

The face half-severed  precious
the ivory tusks and horns 

Property is the body 
mutilated  burned  Ears  Trunk 

Ears like human fingerprints 
none are the same 

Flapping their ears
blood circulates in the head 
ears the shape of Africa

Two long pointed teeth stick out
of the mouth 

The trunk is like a human arm
or the fingers of a hand
picking berries

Elephant corpses found drifting
In a creek  yellowish-white bones

Push to the surface 
In the green of leaves Earth
Air  Fire  Water

What is property?  property
is the body  a human arm or hand

My mother was sold
from me \when I could
but crawl


Among the stalls 
piles of ivory trinkets  bangles
and beads

Rows of Ivory carvings 
of maidens  monks  and birds

Carcasses of dead rhinos
and Savannah Elephants  carcasses
stripped of their skin

Burned  mutilated  saleable parts
hacked off

Ears  Trunk  Feet   
the horns and tusks ground up 
my body the bread  my blood the wine 


Disturbingly informative
an elephant savaged by poachers

Poison in the rivers 
poison in the arrow heads  following
the dying animal around

Following the dying animal around
every day bears the data

Data of body  body of data
property is the body mutilated  burned 

In the green of leaves  Earth 
Air  Fire  Water

[N.B. To which she adds, in correspondence: “The elephant is a non-predatory mammal, a sensate being.  The poem intersects body and spirit -- elephant desire, with the function of marketing, production, distribution and exchange of elephant and rhino body parts by human predators.”]

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