It's the elephant in the room, he'd said,
and so it has proved. The way clothes both define
and hide a form, there is this vague, suggestive,
fungus of a shape, an elephant you saw once in a cloud
and see now at the north end of The Green State Room.
A shroud, a billowing skin,
anchored in places, somehow tracing
the contours within -
as if the decorators are expected by and by.
The ghost of an elephant out on its haunts.
Unwinding the cover
to show off the skeletal sculpture beneath -
basalt, I'm thinking - life-sized
and studded with jewels. The Indian version displayed.
Then without more ado. To the tune of:
we never discuss this, of course...
the subject's taboo!
He's winding the shroud round and round,
like the covers had slipped for a moment, that's all
and now it is back in its cloud.
Two years and a fortune in jewels? I ask,
then hidden away in.... Exactly! he says
Irresistible subject, the talk of the town.
Outside of here, it's all go.
But the funding... I try a new tack. Working that trick...
He cuts in with that grin: seduction, he says.
Her ladyship courted and... well, not just the once.
She likes to be done on the bounce.
So she kept me in all my desires for two years
and provided the diamonds and pearls.
Is there nothing, I ask, you'll not do for art?
See here, he replies, it's art doing something for me.
What we have, she and I, is a mammoth to share -
my best installation to date. We are, you might say,
the elephant most in the room.
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