When the circus comes to town; or, How I fell in love with John Ashberry the Ancyent Marinere and became his harbinger of doom

Dear John Ashberry the Ancyent Marinere,

It’s really about the is and not is, isn’t it?

I mean, if we’re really gonna get down to the pancreas of the matter, really peel back the wallpaper to see what’s on them walls, we better be ready for some semblance of truths.  And if not them, then at least ourselves.

Somewhere I recall you once saying that when poets write about other poets, they indubitably│unconsolably│irrevocably scribble about themselves.  Alright, well, this is me in the mirror.  If I were to hold your words up now, you would see:

And you would see a scene of waiting, as they prepare to come out of the woods to devour us and our chairs.  We wait idly.  By we I mean I.

For me, it was the maze, the being/not being, the here now, now here now.  I kept coming back to the stones throw, then the ripple outwards, then back inwards.  The pumectation of everything and then, pumectating even the pumectation!  The absence of schism widens between abstract and figurative.  Were I to say ‘Let’s run up to / precipice’s edge / and consider jumping’, I’d be referencing your “The room that I entered was a dream of this room.”

Maybe if I concentrated harder on circular breathing.  Or spun around and circular saw this letter in the mirror.  Or made a mural of a misplaced manhole cover girl out of sea shells.  Or none of the above; for no reason.

John Ashberry the Ancyent Marinere, I can feel the chuckling-breath of them at the forest’s tree-line.  I’m waiting idly for the final feast.  And I’m singing your song: “Remember me to the zithers and their friends the ondes martenots.”

Until soon

Jeremy Balius the Black Rider

When the circus comes to town

And now for you (who can grasp this):
All we got to look at is us being us for
A while it’s not us (but that last part was
Omitted from the original translation).
Maybe it was in the back of someone’s mind
Or at least to the back of someone else,
So I asked you for ideas, but you didn’t have
Any and then you went and missed your cue:
The Good Samerican fable told
In our good mannerist style,
Pilfered plumes, roadside travellers and I.
I is not I;                         I is someone else.
What I mean is the circus is in town.
The wolves had been specifically told via
Memo that we were undevourable,
But they didn’t listen – bad mannerisms
Is the New Mannerism.
Sick of being sick made us sicker –
We were just faking it in the end:
The love of fixing things;
A doctor’s speaking-cure; Notarising coats.
(Whenever I said fix, I always meant
metamorphose, but what I really mean is
mauve, pronounced mooove.)
I am pretending to be you, masquerading as
me being you you being me.
And if this is me between │here and here│
Does that make you the trans-fixed page?
You’re not here;             if you’re not, I’m not;
And I definitely am        (I hope).

The you in that is me.
What did you really expect to gain from
This poem;                     honestly?

Note: for the true story of the men who kept the circus afloat,  read Buttermilk Road by David Lynn Clucas, which appeared in Black Rider Press‘ minizine The Diamond & the Thief March ’10 edition.


Filed under Fiction, Poetry

2 responses to “When the circus comes to town; or, How I fell in love with John Ashberry the Ancyent Marinere and became his harbinger of doom

  1. gnunn

    This flows like a river JB… a torrent of words. And yes indeed, it gets to the pancreas of the matter. Am hearing this live in my head, like the wheels of the circus rolling into (or out of) town.

    • Cheers G.Nunn, I don’t know why but you just reminded me of when J.Cash sings “Tell the gossipers and liars / I will see them in the fire / let the train blow the whistle when I go”

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