“Prayer to Ganesha” by Jeff Poniewaz

Prayer to Ganesha

O Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles,
we beseech you to remove the obstacle
Global Warming-denying Republicans have been
to doing anything about Global Warming.

Ganesha a nobler image of the sacred Elephant
than the desecrated image of the Elephant
usurped by a certain political party.

Haven’t elephants been abused enough—
from carnivorous cavemen spearing mastodons
to elephants abused by sadistic mahouts?
from the Roman Circus
to the Barnum & Bailey Circus?

1903: Thomas Edison stages and films on Coney Island
his highly publicized electrocution of Topsy the Elephant
in order to demonstrate alleged dangers of Nikola Tesla’s
alternating current, which, if it posed any danger at all,
it was to Edison’s own competing direct current.
America had used electrocution as capital punishment
since 1890, the year of Wounded Knee.
It took 13 years to get around to an elephant.

Elephants, along with whales dolphins humans,
among the most intelligent beings on the planet.
Elephants renowned for mourning their dead.
The fabled Elephant Graveyard, though,
is only a Tarzan fantasy. No elephants
were present to mourn poor Topsy.
Ah, how the elephants in zoos around the world
would mourn if they knew the remaining elephants
in the wild are so few and so near extinction!

They say elephants never forget. Yet the Repubs forgot
what got us into Vietnam, so went ahead and got us into Iraq.
Or maybe Cheney and Rumsfeld remembered all too well
and used allegations of WMDs as their counterpart to
a fabricated “Bay of Tonkin Incident.”
And now the stampede of Repub attack ads
trampling the minds of America
amid their favorite TV shows!
The berserk rogue Republican fake elephant gives
gentle peace-loving real elephants a bad name!

And now Madison Ave. would have us believe
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
is caused by an elephant sitting on your chest!
A species that killed countless elephants for their tusks
during the heyday of ivory greed and
big-game hunters merrily decimating
the African continent’s teeming wildlife
shouldn’t be blaming elephants for COPD.
The editorial cartoon Republican elephant,
not a real Asian or African elephant,
is sitting on the chest of America.
Yea, the rightwing Global Warming deniers
are sitting on the chest of the planet!

O Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles,
help us remove the obstacles
to saving the world before it’s too late!

Jeff Poniewaz taught “Literature of Ecological Vision” via UW-Milwaukee between 1989 and 2009. His 1986 poem book Dolphin Leaping in the Milky Way won a “Discovery Award” from PEN, the international writers organization. Allen Ginsberg praised it for its “impassioned prescient ecological Whitmanesque/Thoreauvian verve and wit.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti called Jeff’s epic “September 11, 2001” (an abridged version of which appeared in Van Gogh’s Ear and two major 9/11 anthologies) the “best poem I’ve seen on 9/11.” His last name’s pronounced POE-nYEAH-VAHSH and is Polish for “Because.”

Jeff Poniewaz, Allen Ginsberg, and Antler

One thought on ““Prayer to Ganesha” by Jeff Poniewaz

  1. dpautzke says:

    Great to see you at Schlitz Audubon Nature center today

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