Friday, February 9, 2018

Poem - The Greatest Show on Earth

So it's been nearly four years since I've posted anything on this silly blog I once had. I thought I'd post a couple poems I wrote in this Writer's Studio class I took last year, since they're both too long to be published anywhere else. And I don't have the energy to search high and low for somewhere to published them. I've got a trilogy of novels to edit!














The Greatest Show on Earth


 


 


Montgomery Jeeves Python lays hungover


and half-asleep, dreaming wonderful dreams


of the glory days of the circus –


the great attractions –


Garantula and Jumbo the Elephant.


 


Yet he feels as if a giant foot


has trodden upon his head like


a clumsy tightrope walker.


Just five years ago,


Montgomery’s Flying Circus thrived.


Crowds thrilled at Tomasso Chicolini,


the Human Cannonball,


as he soared through the air like a hawk.


 


They sat awestruck at


Cowgirl Connie’s


bareback riding acrobatics


with Henry the Horse,


always smoothly and


elegantly performed


to the music of Ellington,


Basie or John Philip Sousa.


 


The realities of current Big Top life


haunt Montgomery like a failed marriage.


He hears Punchy, his longtime Man Friday –


who, due to dwindling ticket sales


and subsequent budget cuts,


now serves as the juggler,


lion tamer, and contortionist -


berate Escapo, the escape artist,


after botching so many tricks


that people now call him


“The Great Boo-dini.”


Punchy then


chides the Hendersons –


aging trapeze artists Fletcher,


Florence and Rickey –


calling them “The Flying Dull-endas.”


 


The celebrated Mr. Python sits up,


rubs his eyes and takes his first look


at what lies before him.


This formerly-merry jubilee


now resembles an abandoned mall


or amusement park.


Weeds, vines and rust


crawl over the old knife-throwing wheel


and the bed of nails.


Old clown shoes hang like nooses


beside the trampolines,


which haven’t been trampled in years.


 


Montgomery stares


at Tomasso’s old cannon.


If it still functioned,


he’d shoot himself into oblivion


and wash his hands of this whole


operation.


 


He wonders if Plum the Clown


ever feels like setting the place ablaze


and becoming a gypsy jazz guitarist.


 


Would Goliath the Strongman ever


run away with him and finally start


that professional wrestling promotion?


Or would they go down with the ship?


Couldn’t they all use something


completely different?


 


Montgomery reaches into


his side table and takes four aspirin


and five Xanax.


It seems every night


when Fucik’s


“Entrance of the Gladiators”


starts playing, he looks at the empty seats


and is compelled to admit


the circus is dead.


It is no more.


 


He attempts to get out of bed,


still feeling like a monkey


is banging his head like a drum,


and he sees who he thinks


is Buffalo Bella,


the bearded lady sharp-shooter.


As her facial hair slowly flies away


he sees that it’s actually


the once-great Bobby Bee Beard.


 


Montgomery laughs softly,


wishing he could be those bees,


just flying away to nowhere in particular.


He knows the others want to as well –


the snake charmer, the sword swallower,


the unicyclist – (again, all one person).


Maybe they’re all just like Escapo,


wanting to break free from


the straitjacket, the chains,


the handcuffs, pack up the dancing bears,


the trained seals


and Lydia the Tattooed Lady


and flee to Puerto Rico,


where Montgomery saw a man


wrestle a grizzly bear many years ago.

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