Killing of a circus-hand on a roadside in the evening.


I am wondering why I have changed and stayed the same. I am wondering why the obvious feels so far away. I am wondering why many things, from many conversations, feel like the brightest hope and the most crushing defeat at the same time. I am wondering about summer dresses and dead horses.

Today, they collapsed the final tent
In the leaden rain that bruised my face.
The carnival’s colours seem far less bright
When moving away with the pace of a mule.
That speechless pony, it’s backbone sunken,
Pulls down the hill the lion cage.
Strength tamed each night for three bright years
Brought lethargy loitering in the hay.

Once we did spin with harlequin!
Willow stretch slapped our thighs for hours.
Fire once sprouted from your wet lips, and
Curled around my dancing feet. I remember!
We’d laugh at the clowns that rolled before us,
Those small, fat, insignificant men

Seem far too real without the greasepaint
Forcing from a cracked old face a grin.

(But love is a fleeting thing, especially for my Pierrout, your Columbine)

Barefooted, we danced in the sawdust
To a forgotten gypsy’s tune.
The gaudy circus soon turned guignol,
After stealing half my hearts.
Its been two years since I felt scratching
Between my eager toes, and then I had a taste
Of movement which almost felt the same.
But the carnival is over, and it trundles out of view.

(My hands have never felt older, my soles
Are torn from waiting.
And so at last I admit defeat, jestered by
Another town, of pidgeonholes and dove-filled sleeves).
The autumn came too fast this year, and
I sit on kerbs, watch seasons change.
But summer’s never far away, and neither is
The Jack of Knaves.

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About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

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