Happy 30th Anniversary
I'm still using this cup given to me by Virginia Sybert in 1979. Here's a poem I wrote at the time based on its design.
(The weird thing is that when I visited my cousin Fred for the first time recently in Oakland, he served me coffee in the same cup.)
Still life with elephants adjacent to tomatoes
There a tomato illumined a room.
There stood an elephant, African,
enormous, dusty, enormous,
African, an elephant. Taut
vermilion fruits had taken up the slack
trunks which nuzzled, prickly hairs
of the nose, nostril-edges aquiver
at its near end. These elephants
were infatuated with tomatoes, with
the concept of tomato. The joy
was gigantic, of sensing
the blessedly silky, concise and efficient;
what luck, what providence,
that they should adore tomatoes so
and be placed on the same earth as they!
The elephants trudged far
into the congealing savannah
seeking one, one, field.
When they found it they lay
down among the bushes to touch and touch
the rare tomatoes, even after rain,
caterwauling, had fallen
on that inviolate sweet-tree,
on the veldt, even after
like greenish seeds it fell.
Every point on the spherical red
is unmarred as the unmarred one next
to it, even the imperfections perfectly
executed. Every tomato is a radiant,
quintessential tomato. Every elephant
is a dubious instance, except
for the nose. The flawed beasts,
each with his astounding nose, (flawed
because the rest of him is not so
astounding) hold a monstrous happiness
in being in the company—merely
in the vicinity—of the flawless.