By Ben Mitchell
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When I was small, there were lots of elephants.
They’d walk in rows with sequined showgirls
straddling ornate furniture on their backs –
a woman with purple feathers for a hat
strung up by her teeth on a silver wire,
miles in the sky and dangling like a shark.
Back then you could laugh at elephants
or women hanging up like trophies.
I could rip off my clothes in the vegetable section –
take a shit right in my pants. What changed
in the years to come was an ever-diminishing
circle of what was acceptable – like a noose.
Some days I walk into the office and as soon as my mouth
drops open, a purple accordion
leaps from my lips and honks wildly around the room.
So I leap into action, club it to death with a chair.
Or when you’re wearing a tie and a big yellow giraffe
sticks its nobbly head from your left breast pocket.
It bobs with polka dots on its long neck, staring
blankly into the face of Doctor-Someone-Or-Other;
its humid nostrils fogging the good doctor’s glasses.
What if eels or leopard geckos burst from his eyes
arranged themselves in rows to dance the can-can,
on the parade ground at your feet.