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no original poem
10,000 beers ago I told my
wife: ‘I’m just off to stone
a mammoth.’ Yet the variety of species
was more than sumptuous and I was having
such a great time with the little stags and rabbits.

When I finally startled awake I realised I was
reneging on a major scale and HOLY MOLEY how
that hurt! I brushed the squirrels off of me and
went forth across the steppe, longing in my heart
to look a wolf right in the eye and then… stock-still…
stand motionless… in order to conclusively conquer my
phobias. The wolf however failed to show. A mammoth did.

It sauntered over dead cool, planted its tree-thick
legs in the thawing surface layer, breathed in and said: ‘You are not
a country man. To you, apples are either organic or not and you have a
cockerel-shaped box tree in your garden. Although in college you studied
food chains and inference models, your children were both
fathered in a Petri dish. Also, because of your unsavoury illness
you are by now so chock-a-block with medicine you almost
light up in the dark, constitute a toxic danger even to
the worms that later will devour you. What’s more:
your daughter: your daughter, she wants to join the chorus line.’

‘Oversexedness,’ I say. ‘What are you on about?’ the mammoth says,
‘Oversexedness,’ I say, ‘is a blessing to humanity.
Just think how many paintings, doctoral theses and
music scores have been produced to the wing-beat
of lasciviousness and frustration tolerance! And speedboats!’

‘A time machine will be invented in the future
making it possible to have this conversation again, but
before the gathered press corps,’ the mammoth added
in a formal, gruff and ever so slightly evasive tone. Then

I, at full tilt: ‘Listen here Mammuthus, even though we’re both
heterotrophic, you’re the extinct one, not me. And be it by coincidence
or not, my rubbish tips are stacked with boxes of undelivered
no-door-to-door-sales encyclopaedias going mouldy, whose
beautifully illustrated pages are devoted to you, your wide-stretched
habitat and sites of your skeletal remains. Would take a genius
to manage to restore them all, especially when you take into account
how little interest youngsters show in carved ivory these days.’

‘You can’t even win against the head lice or house mice,’ the mammoth
went on, now visibly perturbed, ‘nor have you managed to invent
a bicycle light whose wiring and/or bulbs won’t break inside
a year. Just take it from me that following the Anthropocene
those clever octopuses will assume world domination, and
just mark my words: with jaw-dropping speed and verve!

‘You modulate your voice as if you were a cartoon character,’
I replied, exerting all the wit at my disposal,
‘so in actual fact I don’t think much of what
you’re saying.’ Things came to a halt. The polar wind
softly ruffled our stiffened hair. The mammoth slowly
flapped its ears, sighed a discouraged sigh, looked up and spoke:

‘All civilisation is conceit, dear boy. When diligence was added
to all our reports hope sprang. But now the twentieth century
has evaporated in an odorous cloud of pipe tobacco, we see there’s
precious little cash on the nail left to improve – even if it were just
in the manner of washing powder – our prospects. So out with
all the curlicues and out with all that metropolitan arrogance.
Leave the stimulants be and obey your calling as
a bookmaker, national hero, main character or psychonaut.’

But how can I heave any truth out of the ocean of petty
facts with which to still talk round my daughter?’

‘Shut up you,’ the mammoth said. ‘You lust after lilywhite cashiers
and tuck your belly in when your wife just happens to walk into the
bathroom and you’re standing on the scales. Shove off, go bother your
own pets with that ABC assumption, or give generously to the de-’

‘All that talking must have worn you out. Shall I get us a drink?’