“Elephants”, An Original Poem

This is a transcript of a poem performed at the MLK Celebration in Ashland written by Southern Oregon University student Ahsante SanMLK1kofa Foree.


We declare it time to address the elephants in the room

We come from a house this house where we fail to unpack the pack of pachyderms packed wall to wall

Stampeding over couch thru your quaint breakfast nook

Crashing into your mama’s nice china

While they crush bodies

Our bodies Our Black bodies Our Trans bodies Our Queer bodies

Too many bodies

And we hear the thundering of the elephant feet

Feel our faces wet from the splashing blood

And we have the audacity to look up and say

It must be raining

Worse still these elephants will gore you with their tusk

Witcho grandmama’s grandmama’s bones crunching beneath them

They got folks riding on their backs that will defend them

They say that we Underfoot like tall grass

Live in a fantasy

These elephants wouldn’t hurt anybody “Haven’t you seen dumbo”

They say while a riding atop ancient masses of silence

Living in peace wandering through the hallways and bedrooms that are “Their native habitat”

They will say

You are a poacher

When you try to kill their beast Before it kills you

Tell you climb Tell you climb, as trunk wraps around your little brother’s neck and snaps it

Say it was your little brothers fault

Say he was troubled Say he was resisting Say he was dangerous

Tell me.

What can a little boy do to an elephant?

And I know any day might be the day we pay for knowing

That queer civil rights don’t end with legalizing marriage

That My body is not mine if the legislation says so

That thin privilege exists.

that there is no such thing as a good cop

But before I become strange fruit to pop under 8 tons of indifference

I will ask

What is an elephant doing in my living room?