These carnival visions
that possess me with their
weird glimpses of sawdust, and swaying
My other girl the elephant
runner into the grey pack
she is spangle & blink, paint
glitter & perpetual substitute
as if she don’t know
but what she don’t know
can’t make her a shame
of her many acrobatics –
in the cool darkness of that
greenback tent, his fat-handed grope
won’t go unrewarded.
She turns her head to face
the crack of light
that flashes from beneath the canvas
edge, white as a blade.
Afterward she stuffs herself into a sequin
not knowing her own dull
thinking, that comes as if
from some other brain,
saying this don’t suit
everyone, was I born for this?
& a tired blue-painted eyelid replies, who is?
& what can we do but do it,
all & all, for nothing.
But in these damp July-breathing days
something seems to move blackly out in the heat,
a lifetime of Augusts pitch their popcorn tents at night and
a pink-sticky exhaustion settles over her like a
another layer of the cotton-candy shroud
and she seems to think
what the hell am I doing here
The pale crack of a chewing-gum
dawn won’t answer, not
with the elephants moaning and the black eye
of the electric man on her again