Circus of the Unbecoming, or Circus Maximus


If you’ve seen one, you haven’t seen anything yet.
You think I’m joking. You’re not serious. Try,
as you might, you cannot jump the synapse of gray
equestrian logic that staggers you before
the premise of a flowering intuition.
Your flaming giraffe or tuba are not my concern
but garish trappings of the desert I cross
to Akaba. And like Lawrence, I can take
or leave it but would prefer to do it on my
own terms. The heat does something. One can see it
in waves or water where there isn’t. Such
exquisite thirst one dare not drink. Even
camels, with their grotesque features and pirate
dispositions, sense the beauty of epic
siege and mute abandonment. The yellow tile
they lay, standing upright, at natural stop-offs.
It’s piss, plain and simple. Right? That is the word?
My ear did not deceive me? I do have one.
This is not onomatopoeia. Otherwise,
urine would be more in keeping. It flows—
like thoughts and images from Dali’s head.
You can say what you want. You have the floor.
Corny as it might sound, I am all ears.
I know. You heard that. It’s an affliction of the time.
It was not my idea to begin with. I was
almost strangled, like one of the figures
in an illustration of the Rubaiyat, where it
seems everything comes to life in a Persian haze,
on the vine reaching for sour grapes. One man’s
wine, another’s poison. Watching the cold
transparent beads of rain and snow becoming
rain on glass aspire to makeshift necklaces,
I count my blessings—like sheep, like stars falling.