Monday, June 14, 2010

Prose Inspired by the Carnival

By now it should be obvious that there is no shortage of things related to circus and sideshow that I enjoy writing about. While mostly I stick to fiction, such as a short story about an albino and snake charmer who find love, or the novel I have been working on for the past several years, there are also thoughts that are put together in some sort of poetic fashion. Honestly, I dislike putting labels on anything I write, as the words just come as they want to.

At some point in the future, I will go into more detail about the previously mentioned novel, and certainly am entertaining the idea of posting the short story as well. In the meantime, here are a few things that were composed while traveling with the carnival in 2005. These were also published in Issue 1 of Alive On the Inside.


In that iron cage you ruled
The gathered crowd was fooled
Aiming and pitching their best
To see you in water up to your chest
From that platform you would holler
Made them part with that dollar
Insulting people you’d hardly know
The worse it was, the harder they’d throw
Hit the target and in the water you fell
When you didn’t they said “Go to hell!”
During a break you went to the bathroom
Saw those marks, thought you were doomed
Recognized as the foul-mouthed clown
They had tried so hard earlier to drown


With the head of a beautiful woman
And the body of an ugly snake

They say Angel is her name
An ancient illusion of fame
Only a dollar to enter
Closely inspect the cage
She’s resting on a table
Exactly as described
And yet…

That snake body is fake
And the girl seems to be as well!
Someone cried

Rest assured she is alive
Tho does not speak as advertised
People leave with disappointment
Missing the simple illusion
In the end it doesn’t matter
No refunds for the ignorant

Come inside and see Angel
Beautiful woman and serpent of evil


‘Even a handful of hay and a cupful of water are a mighty big meal for Tiny Tim’

Tiny Tim is the World’s Smallest Horse
He’s housed in a barn across the midway
Plastic barn painted red and white
His name visible from every side
People pay their dollar to see Tim
All day he stays in that barn
And I hear how small he is
It’s starting to infect my brain
The madness turns thoughts deadly
A plot of insanity to kidnap him
Turn him into glue for my hair
Jell-o that I happily slurp down
Food for my hungry dogs
That damn horse deserves it!

At the end of the carnival
When the rides are dark
Everyone in tear down mode
There is Tiny Tim
No bigger than a tractor’s tire
He’s not such a bad guy
It was the grind—
The looping tape from Hell

You know what a Geek is don't you?

Red and yellow canvas tent
Pitched behind the sideshow
Crowd gathered in curiosity
One dollar gets you inside
Packed against sweaty bodies
Air reeking of cheap beer

Eyes stare at the oddities
Nature’s cruel mistakes
Live freaks put on display
Extra attraction is sold to the marks
They push forward in eagerness
Anticipation saturates the air

With a mad grin he steps into the light
Takes a survey of the curious faces
Politely bows for the captive audience
Holds a clucking bird by its feet
Brings it closer to his mouth
Women are screaming in the rear

He’s a geek, self-made freak
Robbing chickens of their heads
He’s a geek, self-made freak
Likes them raw not cooked instead
See the geek, take a peak
Just a dollar for the show
Why he does it—no one knows!
He’s alive; on the inside
So c’mon in and see him now!

Stand in line to have a turn
Observe the advertised tattoo d man
Brightly colored ink embedded into skin
Detailed designs cover him from head to toe
Even in places which cannot be seen
Dressed too fine for street trash
Clothes fit enough for a King
Walks with confidence purpose attitude
Eyes caught by the beauty of a Queen

Raven hair tumbling in curls
Pale-skinned face penetrated by metal
Heavily tattoo d body supple with curves
Draped in a vintage lace dress
Intense eyes fixed on him as lips smile
She is actually real—not a dream

She’s a geek, self-made freak
Eats insects like tasty snacks
She’s a geek, self-made freak
Listens to their bodies crack
See the geek, take a peak
Just a dollar for the show
See the freak, take a peak
Why she does it—no one knows!
She’s alive; on the inside
So c’mon in and see her now!

As the casual observer knows
Boy meets girl and they fall in love
Taking a ride on the carousel
Joined for eternity by the Carny law
Automaton calliope playing loud
As around and around it goes!

Drawing crowds into their shows
Building the tip on the pally stage
He delivers the smooth pitch
She’s wrapped in the coils of snakes
Inside they share the spotlight
A tube that he drinks from—
Out her mouth from in her nose!

Then into another pitch he flows
An extra dollar will gain access
To something gruesome
That comes with warning
And curiosity funnels them into line
Bodies packed in the blow-off tent
What they saw—
Well…what do you suppose?

He’s a geek, self-made freak
She’s a geek, self-made freak
See the geeks, take a peak
Just a dollar for the show
See the geeks, take a peak
Why they do it—no one knows!
They’re alive; on the inside
So c’mon in and see them now!

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