The Daily Freak Show

by Bruce Boston

 


When I was a lad

and little more

a circus came to town,

with lions and bears,

aerialists and clowns,

and a carnival besides,

where a clever barker

caught my ear with

his spiel of horrific

oddities guaranteed,

right before my eyes.

 

So I spent the money

I had saved and saw

the freaks upon display:

the dog-headed boy

who drank from a bowl,

a creature of a man

grotesque and fearsome,

a gargoyle come to life,

a woman enveloped

by shelves of flesh,

a two-headed lamb,

a dog with six legs,

and other monstrosities,

no sane god would design.

 

And I dreamed them long,

nightmared them hard,

hard as their suffering lives.

They filled my thoughts

and weighed upon my mind.

 

Now I am a man

and so much more,

I walk the city streets.

I see the passing crowds,

the carnival flowing by:

the beaten who shuffle

with heads turned down

and shoulders hunched,

the dreamers who wander

with thoughts in the sky,

the arrogant, the meek,

the dazed, the drunkards,

the poseurs and the losers,

and the other lost souls

no kind god would consign.

 

And I dream them long,

nightmare them hard,  

hard as forsaken lives.

They fill my thoughts

and weigh upon my mind.

 

Normal is a word

and not much more,

a mean, an average,

a dot upon a graph,

a calculated ideal that

can rarely be applied.