Today, I turn back to a free verse poem. I was at McDonald's this morning with my kids, family, and a friend. We got to talking about the Detroit Zoo, reminiscing about the mean bastard of a gorilla who resided in the ape house in the early 1970s, when I frequently visited the zoo. This silverback was so mean he scared me. He would throw things at the viewers, anything at hand. Food. Toys. Shit. Of course, this was at the time when the apes were literally caged in small rooms.
Well, nobody could remember the name of the gorilla in our group. My friend, Sue, had her laptop with her. She spent an hour and a half searching for the name of this gorilla. We found out the name of the gorilla up until 1968--Bobo. We found the name of the gorilla from 1996 until 2005 or 2006--Sunshine. Sue searched until the battery on her computer gave out. Finally, my brother showed up, and, within a minute, he supplied the name of the ape in question: Caesar.
So, I owe props for this poem to my brother, my family, and Sue, who sacrificed her computer.
Saint Marty has a slice of pizza waiting for him now. He hopes you have a good night.
Psalm 32: Planet of the Ape
Caesar hated his home
In the ape house in Detroit,
Sat with his silver spine
To visitors, crushing his truck
Tire like machines in the Ford plant,
Over and over and over,
Planning his next rebellion.
A handful of feces flung
Through cage bars at the glass
Protecting kids, mothers, dads
From his frustration, boredom.
Bananas, lettuce, apples, grapes
Smashed on keepers' heads,
Ground with the force
Of tropical rain, hard
Enough to splinter trees.
Caesar suffered indignities,
Vets observing him, his mate,
Lulu, in intimate moments, he,
Unable to scream, beat his chest
In wild pleasure, or lose himself
To the moment of brute release.
For decades, he stared, placid
As the Sphinx, day after day,
Waited for night to come,
When people went away, when
He closed his eyes, drifted back, back,
Back in blood, in DNA,
In ancestral memory,
To mountain and jungle,
To moon in a canopy
Green as Eden, to the beginning,
When he was named before names.
Thunder. Earthquake. Hurricane.
Eclipse in trees and rocks.
Avalanche of fist and tooth and hunger.
|Mean bastard gorilla|