The Disappearing Man

The small circus sideshow came to town,
Speaking to me with its freaks,
Magic women,
Worldly men,
Promise of adventure and transfiguration.
I did not tell my parents when I
Slipped from my bedroom and
Followed the caravan when it left,
Jumping on the last wagon driven by
Errol the Strongman
Who had an intricate tattoo of a red dragon on his arm,
The creature's tail curling around his fat bicep,
Disappearing up his shoulder and down his neck
Into a thick forest of wild hair.
He slowed the wagon so I could pull myself up
As he mumbled, Another one, then rode on.
I was thrown from one task to another,
Cleaning animal cages,
Oiling the bearded lady's combs,
Supporting the barker,
Taking tickets at the ring toss,
And was lured to the many tents where the gypsies
And the Romanian Dwarf Girl
Demanded to sample me.
After a time I became permanently assigned to the
Disappearing Man,
A small sparsely attended attraction
On the fringe of the circus.
Each night, the skinny old man,
Clad only in a loincloth,
Set himself on fire and vanished in a strobe of
Three sulfuric smoke rings that rose to the roof and dissipated.
He confided in me one day,
Claiming he was tired of burning and fading,
That his life had become an endless circle of
Exploding identities.
I was forced to take his place when he did not return to life after the show that evening.
I lost myself in a spade of
Promiscuity, inked arms and waves of
Appearing and disappearing,
Being and not being,
And of never learning the trick of
How to avoid being singed by the flames.

© Poem Fix 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment