Saturday, October 19, 2019

Overread at the Counter: from #MadCarnival "Under the Big Top"

The Judge and his wife take their seats for the show, among all the residents of Luddington and he sees even a few come down from Lewiston and there is warmth inside the big tent, the warmth of all the bodies full of life and breath, from different ages and varying stages, but all in the warmth and the sweat and the smell of the nearness of other human bodies and then the lights begin to flicker and the jester enters the tent and he juggles the a mixture of bowling pins and a cleaver

and he drops the cleaver on the foot of the dwarf who had been walking beside him and the
dwarf squawks and hold up his severed foot

and the crowd gasps, and then the dwarf screws his foot back onto the stump of his leg and runs around the ring, arms outstretched.  A somersault, then another, and the crowd roars with laughter,

and the triplets have climbed to the top of the poles and take their places as the elephants enter, one after another, with the rider of the first all in top hat and purple coat and skirt, glittered like a wood sprite and

one elephant places hoofs on the back of the other and they dance in cadence side bito side, so close
so close to the posts, almost brushing against it

and the sighs of the crowd is the loudest sound, a sound almost like thunder, as the trapeze swingers
swing high overhead, and

the Ring Master in the center of it all, naming the names:

Hanz!  The Laughter Juggler!  The Heartthrob of Hapsburg!

Corrine, Coraline, and Caroline, the Trapeze Triplets!   All the way from Glasgow town! 

Simone, the lovely Parisienne, and her two owners, Jules and Verne, those gentle giants of the African veldt!

Boris and Doris, Mr and Mrs Pretzel, contortionists from Constantinople! 

... NOT ISTANBUL! (he adds as a stage whisper, to the laughter of the audience, and then)

not to forget Shorty Saragoza, the funniest and friendliest friend any one could ever know, all the way from Florence in Italia!

And I am your host for the evening, Sebastien Salinghetti.  My parents told me I was from Cyprus, but I never know whether they birthed me there, or stole me from the market square!

After the laughter subsides, the triplets glide
across the air from one to the other side
each leap longer than the one before, as the sisters
fly above the heads of the eyes wide until

one misses,
hands grasping open air,

a sudden sucking sound of the crowd

as the trapeze swinger tumbles toward the ground, a twist
a mid-air turn,

a land plant on the back of Jules
or Wells,

she stretches her hands upward to the cheers.

And Sebastien says,

And that, dear friends, is the bewonderment of Life,
as you know, each day we reach
and we reach and we reach a little further, and
when we miss, and when we fall,
we all must find a place to land.

Let your place to land, forever be,
the Mad Carnival,

Because while we may be mad,
we know we are mad,
while so many in the world outside this carnival,
they are mad yet don't know it!

Sometimes you have to admit
that you are mad
so that you may have the chance
to find the ground
of your own fleeting sanity!

With that, he dips deeply, while the rest
of the show

goes on.

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