the circus the circus the big apple fambly circus in new york city with sparkling Chinese men in blacklit greenlight skinsuits tumbling through rings and strapped inside giant wheels that spin around a clapping axis—Jack sitting on my knee wide-eyed and startled by hilarious watery abandon of clowns and buckets and sprinklers sluicing while horses wing the ring with sand-upkicking hooves spattering front rows of kids and dads—holding my own mom’s hand while strange white-dreadlocked god-figures stand upside down on top of each other, on their hands, a human power pyramid, dark skin glistening under big misty floodlights—my sister and cousin next to me, passing around hot soggy hotdogs and tossing salty popcorn on the floor—a giant billowy puppet man with flowing blue arms and weird bulging squinty eyes sways right next to us and Jack says, “that’s kind of scary” and I say, “yeah, kind of scary, but kind of cool, too,” and he says, “yeah, cool”—and all and everpresent are shimmering tight thigh muscles of acrobats, arm and back ripples of tightrope girls, sequined calves and glittering chests of dancers—a wild guy on a bike with oldtime aviator goggles rides wobbly round the ring, up on his back wheel, while taking off the front and spinning it in his hands—clownmen piping satyr flutes while audience kid faces flicker in the strobe of this polis vortex—Jack squeezes my hand when the bikeman rides through a ring of fire, acrobats swinging on spongy poles above us...he is my nephew, he is almost four years old, and after the show he’s up on my shoulders and we run and traipse up and down sidewalks, laughing and singing about the people we saw spinning and seeing just how far we can get our fingers up our noses...can we touch our brains?
An Italian-American Spaceman Foresees His Death:
Smashing against ashen walls, alone in space,/
Weirdly wired, mind warping/
Through the void, veering over/
The vapid edge of madness, mumbling aloud,/
"Per aspera ad astra, you young asshole./
It’s a rough road to the stars, Rotando."