dedicated to the self
and our perceptions of it









Circus Magnifique
cover image by D. Glover

copyright, 2012






Listless wanderer, homeless, here by accident, severely mad,
strides across the interstate-— six-lane superhighway—
reaching the spat of suburban trees to the shrilling of truck horns.
Dark grays of nightfall reach town, punctuated
by dull yellows of street lamps, bored whites of shop lights.

Every town is the same: every store, every structure.
Nothing distinguishes each from its imaginary neighbor.
Boundaries that divide and dissect—
walls or fences, ancient riverbeds,
lines drawn only on maps—
they are as futile distinctions as the names of each place:
bland names, sadly impotent names.

Welcome to town, listless wanderer—vast, unending sprawl—
no beginning, no end— stretching cross the horizon and beyond.
Welcome to town.




Great billow, black smoke,
red and orange flames rise from the torches of fire-breather.

Phooom, he spits the alcohol,
pillars of purple and orange and red climb
seven, eight, twelve feet in air.

The faces of the crowd on the street catch fire.
They stir in their shoes, effected by the spectacle,
jarred from their stillness, their apathy.
Long contained emotion burns deep in their breasts,
dim at first, then raging like fires
swimming forth from mouths of crazed mad men—
as fire swims from his scarred face–
the fire-breather.
“Got a light?” numbskull asks, proffering a cigarette.
“Hot enough for yah?” fire-breather bellows, waving a torch in numbskull’s face.

The Carne acrobats, they walk on their hands and
back-flip down the town’s main street,
cartwheeling into gymnastic routines—
bouncing along the sidewalk—

heels over hands—



finely apex-ing

into multiple

back flips

 to land at a







The tent goes dark.

A single light then illuminates
a single spot:  the Ringleader,
in white and black tailcoat,
starched shirt and top hat.
He whips his whip.
“Ladies and gentlemen,”
he booms with another
“boys and girls.
Welcome to Le Circus Magnifique.
Where your deepest fears—”
a pillar of red flame shoots out the mouth of fire-breather to his right—
“or your wildest dreams—”
a second spotlight illuminates a pinhead pirouetting in a glittery purple tutu—
“can be borrowed for the evening.

Your silence, please.
Tonight you will see as you’ve never seen
and feel as you’ve never felt.
BEWARE, some of your closest-held illusions
may be shattered by tonight’s performance.
We may change you forever,
indeed, you may never be the same.”

The big top lowers into darkness once more.




Lion Tamer

“the time has come!” you barely whisper.

The spotlights fire and roll, stopping at the main gate of center ring.
There enters a lion the size of a bear,
and a man carrying a wooden chair in his hand.

“Now, timid audience,” the Ringleader roars,
“Prepare yourselves for feats of incredible bravery.
May I present, LION TAMER.”

The tamer kneels before the lion and places his head
under the lion’s paw, then in the lion’s mouth.
As the lion’s jaws securely grip his head,
a projector portrays a vision of a winged lion,
descending along a path of silver: a vision of St. Mark the Evangelist.
“The first shall be last,” sings the lion
in basso-profundo, “and the last first.”

The lion roars and the Tamer waves his chair.
The lion lies down, then rolls over.
The tamer holds out his hand and the lion licks it.
“Such is evangelicalism,” says the Ringleader.
“Verse can be used by anyone to any purpose.”





Slow is slow, but slow is long.
Slow is cold, but slow is deep.
Slow needs be exquisitely timed.
Slow hurts, but at least you know.
Cause slow is powerful, overwhelming,
and a slow love is the truest you can find!


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