online literature since 2007

Thursday, February 18, 2010


For sixteen years I was a tent carny and only the circus knew it.  For those sixteen years I did not know sleep because I snuck away at night to a cubicle in an office in a metal-glass rectangle in the clouds of the night sky.  I worked on the seventy-fifth floor and the street lights below looked like the naked bulbs on the rails of carny rides.  I typed and I typed and I worked fast like Bukowski and made many beautiful reports and graphs and spreadsheets that I collected in a drawer for no one to really read.  I cut my finger one night and typed the reports until the only letters left unprinted were q-z.  I worked alone while a black man cleaned the office floor.  I told him he should work for the circus.  He told me this was his circus.  I asked how that was possible and he said he could not afford the circus.  I told him that when I was a kid I dreamed of sneaking away to work in the office during the hours of the night so I could feel time in my heart like cold plums between my toes and know wine like the poet and women like a titan.  He said his balls hurt because he had 20 year old jizz in there that he could not get out.  He said he did not know the taste of wine but only the feeling.  He said a doctor told him how much time was in his heart. I told him to go to the circus.  He told me that he was at his circus.  How do you explain to a man who thinks the circus is all around him that the circus cannot be sufficed time nor hidden from the eyes?  How do you explain that the circus is the only thing a man should truly appreciate in life?  He told me that if the circus was the only thing a man could appreciate in life then he’d appreciate his life.  I asked if I could try on his spectacles.  He allowed me and I saw some exotic place I had never seen before.  To my left there were lions with teeth and beards and elephants with skirts.  I had never seen this before.  I asked him what it was that I saw.  He said it was the circus.  I looked again.  There were clowns in pastel body paint drinking liquor from bottles and the most beautiful women I have ever seen with six arms and two breasts.  This is what you see? I asked.  This cannot be the circus I said.  I work at the circus in the day and sneak away to the office to write many beautiful reports all night.  He said I was right, I worked for the circus during the day.  He asked for his spectacles back.  There were all my beautiful reports in front of me and my city below me asleep.  I thought how much longer I had until morning and had to return to the circus.  My heart beat and I could not remember what the circus looked like or where to go or how to get there or who I was there and for the first time I considered the oddity of waking to resume my job at the circus that was never there.