07 May 2010

Side Show Freaks

A big shout out to Big Tent Poetry
for the prompt.


Every night my
diminutive tattoo artist
comes to me. He
mixes his own colors.
“One of a kind,” He says
“That’d be you Lily.”
When Andy asks me my pleasure, I
leave it to him. Still he asks.

Standing on a stool, his needles ink
fables into three rings on my upper back.

He feeds me cream puffs
to “broaden his canvas.” I watch
in the mirror
as Andy illustrates
a likeness of Larinda
falling from October’s Foal,
eyes wild, lips unfurled. These times
calm me.

For 25 cents, people get to peek
through a window into a room
where I sit bare backed,
facing a round mirrored vanity. My
armpits pin a sheet over my breasts.

Sometimes, one of the people catches
my eye and we stare through the mirror
in private thought.
My gaze intensifies until they look away.
Freak, we think.

Lovely Larinda

“And here she is....
Ladies and Gentlemen
long-legged and lithe
Give it up for
Lovely Larinda and the Lipizzaners!”

Lily is the lovely one. Stories spill
from her skin.

Under my breath, I blaspheme sequins,
adjust my headdress, and
tighten the rhinestoned reins
to stand upon October’s Foal. Later
Andy’s needle will seal my soul, as his
ink reveals my love
for Lily
through my shoulders
down my back.

Every person packing the Big Top
vouches for Andy’s story telling tattoos.
Veracity and vision.
Truth through
Andy’s tats.

I nod, and
balance blasts
my stance
on the stallion.

I fear death while falling to it.


(The ladies love it when I lace
luscious stories to the
bodice of their skin. )

My pens print pictures by themselves
the needles ink them in.
The stories inside remain silent
until they speak through skin.

From afar, I watched Larinda
as she combed her long bronzed hair
She stood upon her stallion
and whispered to a mare.

Before Larinda met her death
I drew a tat for Lily’s rings,
it depicts the precise moment
before the end of everything.

Lily will not know the love that
shone from Larinda’s face when she
asked me if I’d ink a scene,
Lily in her embrace.

Instead the horse,
when it throws her,
makes my needles sing:
Larinda and the Lipizzaner
lunge through Lily’s ring.


Derrick said...

I really enjoyed reading these intertwined tales. There are some lovely lines quite apart from the alliteration:
'Lily is the lovely one. Stories spill/from her skin.'
'I blaspheme sequins'
'I lace/luscious stories to the/bodice of their skin.'

The last line of "Lily" also is so true.

flaubert said...

Beautifully woven tales you have written here. Enjoyed this very much.

Deb said...

Fabulous! Love the three rings, repeated. The language, of course, and stellar lines too rich to choose favorites from.

Well played. Thanks for embracing the Big Tent!

Paul Oakley said...

What amazing details and insights! The mutual feakishness when caught in Lily's gaze. The Lovely Larinda's blasphemy of sequins, fearing death as she falls into it. The secrets, tantalizing titillations of Andy's needlework. This is a tour de force, Brenda!

Jessica said...

This is a gorgeous series of poems. I especially love the distinct voices that each three characters have and the ways that stories twine together.

Anonymous said...

wow! you've been busy! i love the idea of broadening the canvas. and how the series of pieces get more and more detailed as they unfurl. very nice.

thanks for joining the circus! :)

Francis Scudellari said...

The three interconnected pieces work really well, as I found myself shifting focus back and forth between the them as if they were truly rings in a circus.

Cynthia Short said...

You could turn this into a novel! Such a fun and interesting read...left me wanting more.

The Emotional Orphan said...

B- A very well written and well woven tale here. I fell the idea of love forever strengthened even though not reality. Thanks for sharing this excellent vision. - As others have said, I'd love to hear more. Jack

bwarren said...

Thank all of you for taking the time to read and comment. Your kindness makes my day. This is a fun ride. A big thank you to Big Tent Poetry for the prompt.

Marianne ~ said...

Bravo! I love your 3 ring circus of poetry! The poems compliment each other beautifully. So many incredible images.

Tumblewords: said...

Beautifully crafted tapestry of this interlaced trio. Delightful, delightful.

nan said...

I really enjoyed these three rings: circus delight.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Feel like I've been to the Circus! Enjoyed reading these!

lucychili said...

lovely and sad
beautiful pain
tragic fractal

one more believer said...

ahhh the illustrated man comes to life again...who is more powerful the pen, the author or the breathing canvas with deep soulful eyes...