Cutthroat Circus 1970

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Cutthroat Circus 1970

Tickets

bleeding

needing

someone to laugh

in this empty garden

somebody to shut the windows to the night

somebody to open the box of toys

hidden so long

 

topaz shatterproof whispering thief

finding his way into the locked room

tiptoes then dynamites the hanging

fearing to find escape outside of

becoming another fugitive figure

flung fatally into one of the frames

 

mixed relaxations

reactions

interactions

of sitting & rocking

the childminder asleep

like a tighter thought leaping

across the room at my throat

 

Ringmaster’s Intro Speech

 

realized confinement

time & tomorrow waiting

with a box full of everyone

wishes for their giving to

secret plans & dangling

free frozen in the act

of trying to be a lover

or another testy fake

 

beneath satin sliding silk

sticking sucking slender

silent

waiting then leaping

at your throat

knife sharp

cutting

steel swift

shining sinking into

flinching flesh

bursting bleeding

bravely saving sighs for songs

as duty demands this sudden

stealthy

dubious death

 

The Show

 

cautiously

carefully

itemized perfections

petrified pain

aware merry-go-round

 

circus

charmer looking for Mesmer

trying for the bigtop jackpot

scarcely leaning jagged seat-edged

watching amazed as

the trapeze swings

empty

as

the trapeze swings

full

oriental curving through

a thousand falling feet

to the thudding ground

netted protected below

unaware

timid almost

blushing

shy for once

pleased & proud

confused aloud

almost sure these

hands reached for

across the crowd

might prove to be gone

plunging again

but knowing full well

it’s merely a trick of the band

 

the trombone

tension getting device

as the drums beat faster

& the trapeze bar mirrored silver

fogs with perspiration 

slipping hands

feeling thousand hands hounding

grabbing you out of mid-flight

& dragging you

gracefully arching

to the aching 

safety of home

 

gaunt & tall

removed & aloof

the savage tamer

of the tigers in the room

the charming knife thrower

electric pulsating neon

through pink spotlight

cage bar shadow rippled face

loses no time

in hurling rockets of steel

flashing through sawdust air

to trembling spangled buxom target

coyly smiling as she walk

from the spinning hazard into

your eager spread-legged dream

of night & thrill

in the trailers

in the tents

in the bandwagon

in the centre ring

the major attraction of all time

together

you might & majestic

while she

so calm & serene

& able to walk way

alive after having been burst upon

by your crimson dagger

 

simple acts of contrition

rings one & two

no bells are heard

but the leper’s bell

as the choir bursts forth

with discord after harmony 

 

chime

chime

chime

the centre attraction 

is cutting himself to shreds

the knife thrower stands small in the wings

the centre attraction

is taming himself with whip & chair

s c r e a m i n g

dan

g

l

i

n

g in the air

swings by his teeth

twisting & turning in erotic agony

as the bareback lady rides her

mount so heavily over

the sweating

distressed

finish line

 

clowns in fire engine

save the crying child

the crowd roars wild

 

the choir finds a fatal note

rapture

applause

laughter

spotlights flash aimlessly

uncontrolled

over

the

tent top

sky

as beyond

fireworks

filled

as the final fugitive elephant

is prodded back into chains

is lured back into his corner of the circus

 

fleeting & everlasting

steaming rows of

honking seals

screaming rows of terrified children

as the tigers leap

thrashing

at the cage bars

trying for freedom

foreheads bleeding & dripping

clowns playing

in frenzy to hide the

deep inside mastery of the circus

 

circus tickets

laughing futile 

flight through time

again the choir

singing some

faithless mass

the organist trashing his peddles

the guest soprano

leading through

new augmented chords

all united as all

lions leaping through flaming hoops

horses dancing the arias

cadenza

pianist handless

rhythms 

pumping faster

the fire engines futile whine

 

while in the centre ring

I lead them all in

one final chorus of

laughter

At the time wrote this I felt it was a magnum opus. This is one piece were the enjambments were a carnival in & of themselves. ‘dan g l i n g’ stretched across the page, as well as down the page, with each turn of the typewriter roller dropping the letters down one line after the other.

‘topaz shatterproof whispering thief’ wtf? It clearly shows the influence of surrealism and Dylan Thomas. It creates, to me, an image that almost makes sense while being mystifying meaningless. ‘fugitive figure/flung fatally into one of the frames’ what the ‘f’ is going on 🙂 I do love ‘bigtop jackpot’ for the sonics.

The trapeze symbolized my sense of trying swing through life while keeping from being unbalanced by my expectations & sexuality ‘alive after having been burst upon/by your crimson dagger.’ The pumelling images almost reflect some of the melodramatic turmoil I was struggling with trying to get a sense of my own future.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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