Don’t Think of an Elephant
during one of those teen years,
one of those beginning with an s,
one of those when a youth is trying
to shape a lip’s down into moustaches
and has just started to remove the packaging
that his cock arrived in
and is beginning to work out the kinks,
one of those years
when he is – daily, hourly – banging furiously
and with much false bravado
on the door to manhood,
I read a book of philosophy
and was challenged to:
Not Think of an Elephant
A Zen thing, I’m sure.
A cryptic koan
from some smirking monk
who long ago had left all thinking behind
and had mastered the art of the thoughtless.
Don’t think of an elephant?
Hell, I declared (without thinking), I’m up to that.
Though before I could put the book down
the pachyderm standing in front of me
flipped it out of my hands with her trunk
Hold on there, laddy. It’s not as easy as you think
to not think of me.
And she sat on the sofa across the room,
determined – I knew – to keep me company.
Very well, I reasoned, I’ll go for a walk.
But of course she followed,
the clump clump of her feet
moving earth all around
and making me think of her
and all things elephant.
Right. I’ll go hunting.
Though she trailed me to the forest as well
and boldly made herself my target.
Not wanting to see her,
because not wanting to think her,
I closed my eyes
pulled the trigger
Dinner was no better.
The restaurant was short on wait staff
and the elephant,
so helpful she was,
did the work of three,
her large floppy ears doing duty as serving trays,
her trunk refilling water glass after water glass,
and always having just that extra bit of time
to sashay up to my table
and recommend a particularly fine wine
that would go just right with the specialty of the house.
Even in the bathroom
– the men’s room –
I couldn’t escape.
Yes, she had the class to not actually go in.
Still, she followed me in spirit
– or should I say, in spirits –
(I was quite drunk by now)
For when I opened my fly and pulled it out,
so fresh from its packaging,
all I saw was a trunk.
Dejected, I walked home
though not all the way
– I was tired from trying not to think of her –
and she carried me the last mile or two.
And as she lowered me into my bed,
where I would dream,
of hills and savannahs and herds of elephants,
she said to me with a smile
touched with warmth
and not a little pity,
don’t you know that it is only when you try not to think of me
that I become the most real to you?
Yes, dear, I know.
Why it’s practically unthinkable.”