on the poetics of graffiti

On a day I seemed to have a difficult time approaching, I sat on the inside of an air-conditioned Corporate Chain Coffee Shop, staring out its window. I watched a human graffiti an elephant on a steel-gate shutter protecting a closed storefront. He stepped back every few minutes to view, carefully studying the drips and dimension of curves.

His elephant, flecks of white against grey.

My elephant, the thirsty wanderer curled mass behind my teeth.

I think about an evening in Nebraska with the artists and poets. After drinking wine out of red plastic cups. After baptizing my nudity beneath the not-quite summer night. We sat around the crackling of a fire, sharing our names and spirit animals. I announced: elephant.

Someone spoke out, “But why?”

And I said, “Because I like their wander. Their desire and drive to reach water.”

What I forgot to speak: Because their skin and ivory is hunted and I’ve been hunted. Because of their mass. Because of the strength of their footprints.

I finished my coffee and grabbed my things. I wasn’t ready to be a worker yet. I wanted to exist as just a wanderer. Be elephant, instead of human.

I walked by the graffiti artist and stopped. I said, “Thank you. For creating.”

Then, I noticed that it wasn’t an elephant actually. Rather, a boar. Hairless pig. Predator of wolf. Though comparatively, it has fewer predators than most animals, so it tends to run free. More importantly, they are solitary. Solitary roamers.

Perhaps I am more boar than I ever imagined.

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