Liberated Muse Arts Group

The Elephant Whisperer by slangston hughes

(Author Note:  Written for my mother this mothers day, this poem is a greeting card to her and to all mothers. As well as to the entire planet and universe for truly we are ALL connected. Also dedicated to the memory of Lawrence Anthony aka The Elephant Whisperer.)


“I have never really understood the saying “To think outside the box” why would anyone sit inside of a box and then think outside of it. Rather just get out of the box”

-Lawrence Anthony


“Two kids whose definition of beauty begins with the word Mom”

-Shane Koyczan



When I was a kid, every Saturday morning my sister and I would set up all of our stuffed animals at random locations all over the house. And then proceed to hunt them down, one by one. We didn’t have a TV at the time, so I guess we were inspired to get really creative at providing our own entertainment. And the prize animal was this green and yellow stuffed brontosaurus named Dolo. We always hunted him last. When my mother caught wind of what we were doing, she was rather appalled. “Why on earth are you hunting your poor stuffed animals?” she screamed. But when she realized that Dolo was in danger, she sprung into action, because Dolo was a dinosaur dammit, the last of his kind, how dare we! She warned us that if we kept mistreating this majestic creature that he was sure to leave us. We laughed. One morning about half way through our silly safari it dawned on us that Dolo was missing. Searching high and low, he was nowhere to be found, until peaking out our bedroom window we saw him, walking down the street. Green paws pounding the pavement legs positioned as if he was actually placing one prehistoric foot in front of the other. After running to retrieve the beast before he could get away. My mother took a marker and drew a heart on his chest, she said, this means that you have to promise to never hunt Dolo again, because now he is alive.


How easily we take the most precious things for granted.

As if they’ll be with us forever.


Like dinosaurs

or mothers

or every single creature on the earth. 


This is an eco

Of a child’s endless imagination blooming into sunset
beneath a fading heart beat.


Where a collection of infinite roads linked to one another all lead to the destination of our destiny in the city of who you were meant to be.


Blink once and it all fades to forgotten

An extinct memory

A blue whale swimming into oblivion

A white rhinoceros of regret


In 2003 during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, during a bombardment of bombings and other various highly inhumane atrocities a man named Lawrence Anthony would rush head first into the war zone in an attempt to save the animals in the Iraqi zoo, the largest in the Arab world. He would later go on to save 2 herds of endangered Elephants in his native of South Africa, and dedicate his life, day and night to their preservation and the mission of preserving many of our planets most deprived living gems. He would become known as “The Elephant Whisperer” and in his best selling book of the same title he said that “it was never about whispering to the Elephants per say. But simply being willing to listen to what the were saying to me.”


One of my favorite memories

was the day my mother sent me and my sister on our first adventure by ourselves. 

The mission was, make it to Great Grandma’s house alone. While she went and handled some very important life altering business.


She looked me in the eyes and said

“Victor, take care of your little sister”

I held my sisters hand with a grip that said

This is one thing that you can never let go of.


Somehow knowing even then

That what means the most in life

Are those who mean the most to you


We are not whole  

Because we are not ourselves


Until you feel the eternity of creation

Organize it self around you

When the organism of earths organization

Become the planet spinning inside you

You will not feel whole

But only feel a hole

Unable to fill the hole

Until you feel yourself become apart of the whole


Of everything around you


Our only identity is everything


Freedom in the form of an angry elephant

Charging heart first into the electric fence

Of your own self doubt

All tough skin and ivory hoping to find truth beyond the trees


I remember this one winter when we didn’t have any heat.

And icicles formed on the window seal, inside of the house.

But we never said, “whoa, these are hard times”

No, instead my sister and I looked at each other and simultaneously formed

the same idea in our snow filled thought bubbles.

“If we throw water on the kitchen floor in the morning

we could totally ice skate.

And if we take down the curtain rods?

Hockey. Oh yeah!

My mother immediately put a stop to these plans.


And the truth is that

Our most sacred memories remain

Omnisciently written in the language

Of an ancient intergalactic drum

That plays the universes theme song

A melody of empathy pulsating through our chakras like wind

A mother elephant thundering into the backyard of your life


There is a reason why elephant herds are lead by the matriarch

And proof that us humans have clearly got the shit backwards


In 2012 when the elephant whisperer died of a heart attack the 2 herds of elephants who he had saved nearly a decade earlier marched in unison for 12 miles. One by one up to the front of his house. Led by their matriarchs. And set in mourning for days in the front yard. As if they just knew some how.

Had felt their friends spirit shift from one world to the next

“proving the wondrous interconnectedness of all beings”

showing that there are things beyond human intelligence

that bind our souls threads like a Godly garment

holding this world together.


His wife said it was the greatest tribute that anyone could have paid.


And the elephants never forgot


When someone great dies

The entire planet’s orbit passes through a doorway

The Heavens shake

Carrier pigeons send feathered light beams

To the angel incrusted homing beacon

Inside your souls matrix


A whispering elephant transferring truth

That our stories are not our stories but our’ stories

We are all chapters in the same novel

Constantly writing it self into existence   


Imagine if you could walk on air

And breathe dreams through your lungs

Write the kind of poems

That only animals can translate


When I die fuck a funeral

I want to have a wedding

Marry me to the planet

Spread my ashes over the ocean like confetti

Have our honeymoon on the moon

Do dances in zero gravity that make us look like spastic constellations

Cause dammit we are


The universes loudest whisper that we forgot how to listen to


When I depart from earth

For heavens sake

Please don’t post

Paragraphs of praise on my Facebook wall

I can’t read that shit from Stovokor


Instead I want all of my loved ones

And all of the loved ones

To march in an elephant like precession to the edge of forever

Led by a parade of youth poets screaming madness in tongues

Only lightning bugs understand

Backed by a trillion djembes played by an army of alien ancestors


And if you look inside the palms of each drummer

You’ll notice them slowly terra forming into the faces of every person

I ever have or will live a life as

And if anyone dare cries

A great bird will fly down from beyond

Transform into a baby

And punch THEM


Write in the heart


Then everyone in attendance will look up into the sky with exploding eyes

And all at once will get it

Will get the great and unfathomable joke that is us

As we all fall to the ground laughing so hard

That it causes the universe to start over again


And I have no idea what is happening

And that’s ok

I don’t even know what this is

Or why you’re reading it


I’m not sure anymore if this is a poem about mothers


Or the fact that as humans

It takes the presence of death

To actually make us feel alive


When we were really young

My sister and I used to sit outside at night with our mother

and watch the stars. The moon used to sing to us.

So one day we decided to sing back.

The rule was, that when it got really late, as soon as the moon went into the clouds it was time for us to go to bed. So one night we invented a song, intended to keep the moon out of the clouds. It went


“hey little moony stay out the clouds stay out the clouds stay out the clouds   

  hey little moony stay out the clouds stay out the clouds stay out the clouds”


and it actually worked

for like 2 hours we sang and the moon listened


back then we believed in magic

because we believed in mom

and mom was real

so magic was real (mommy magic)


and it still is.


Hi Mom.


Did you know you were an elephant?


Because you never forget


How to love.      


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Slangston Hughes

Slangston Hughes attempts to bridge the gap between the legacy paved through the Harlem renaissance and Black Arts Movement with the innovative but yet rebellious spirit of HipHop culture.

Slangston Hughes was the first ever Word War grand slam champion in 2008 (Baltimore) and the 2010 Baltimore Crown Awards "Poet of the Year" recipient.  a member of the Philly Pigeon Slam team that competed nationally at Southern Fried Poetry Slam in 2012, he is the artistic director and lead literary instructor for Dew More Baltimore.

Slangston’s newest album Ghetto Griot vol 1 (Tubman City Times) is an epic of truth that brings together HipHop Afro Beat and Rhythms with the revolutionary spirit of the black consciousness movement and ancestral spirit of the griot and nomo (speaking words to life) tradition. Most recently his work has been published in the Poets ‘ America anthology via the Kratz Creative Writing Center. (2014) 

Slangston is also the lead slam coach for the Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team (Dew More Baltimore) And on March 7th of 2015 published his first collaborative literary work along with author/prosaist Devlon E. Waddell as part of E.M.B.O.D.Y. (Ethereal Manifestation By Overtly Developing You). 

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