“The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.” —Emily Dickinson
That two ton elephant in the room
whom none of us has ever seen
does more than dent my linoleum
or pee on your Persian rug.
He wiggles Disney ears;
bats four-inch eyelashes
à la Horton Hears a Who!
and every Sunday morning
lifts his trunk to so tell it like it is!–
that were he in, say, Botswana or
Zimbabwe he'd have the attention
of every beast in the jungle.
(I'd be remiss did I not mention
the fifty-cubit farts that women
who come and go in the room
insist they cannot smell.)
Ages ago, tired of being ignored,
he begged the Goddess of Clarity
to give his life tangible meaning
by upgrading human vision.
Patting his burly shoulder, she declined;
explaining that were he to materialize
(even as through a glass, darkly)
we'd saw off his tusks; chop off
his balls; and sell him to the circus.
Wiser now, knowing how rarely the
painfully obvious lumbers through
the windows of shatterproof souls,
he aspires to be noticed only by
the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
David Alpaugh holds degrees in English from Rutgers University and the
University of California, Berkeley where he was a Woodrow Wilson and a
Ford Foundation fellow. His poetry, fiction, drama, satire, and
criticism have appeared in more than 100 literary journals, including
Evergreen Review, Poetry, Rattle, and Zyzzyva, and in the Heyday Press
anthology California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present. He has
been a featured reader more than 100 times at book stores, cafés,
colleges, civic centers and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area
and has been a finalist for Poet Laureate of California.