Inside the Illusion of the Circus
    Robert Gibbons
No money. Twenty-nine-years-old, cutting lawns, writing for a living. She had no money either. A painter. We hadn't done anything for months, but explore, hike, spelunk, & crawl all over each other. I suppose we exchanged a few thoughts, or theories. Everything we discussed was based on material, viscera. The olfactory sensation mixing turpentine with sex. She lived in an unheated guesthouse by the sea. I had a room in a boarding house down the road. We ate very little, didn't care or have time. Not going out, or if we did, rutting in the woods, meant we saved a little money. I got tickets when the Barnham & Bailey Circus arrived in town. Herded up aisles, down stairs, we found ourselves way too close, eight seats from the edge of the action. Inside the illusion of the circus! So close the sewn leopard-skin-print pant hole on the lion-tamer's derriere was visible. Then there was the guy who shoveled elephant dung, following behind with massive shovel & bucket on wheels, the adolescent of the elephant clan, a Dumbo, whom we loved. At first we didn't like being carried off by the circus. High-wire act tragic! Clowns melancholy personified! Could smell the trapeze artist's sweat! Then, from my magic canvas bag, I took a half bottle of Cote-Rotie, Guigal, 1978. Two paper cups. Colors brightened, action intensified, music less tinny, popcorn overpowering dung, the big cats' roar not induced, but voluntary. Another half bottle. We joined the circus, performing a key role in the fourth ring's periphery, for none to see, the two crazy lovers, risking it all.

Robert Gibbons' poem Ode to New York City, published in the summer issue of Slow Trains, was recently nominated for The Pushcart Prize. His work is forthcoming in: The American Journal of Print; Big Bridge; Cauldron & Net; Canary River Review; Carnelian; The God Particle; Janus Head; Small Spiral Notebook; Snow Monkey; and Taj Mahal Review,(India).


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