Hiding stolen fire in a Circus Tent


For our second installment of circus performers, we have a creature who plays with the most dangerous of elements. Luckily, we are safe behind closed computer screens reading about him, for Viva! did all the legwork (braved insanely hot conditions, but from a safe distance away, praise to whoever invented the zoom lens) to bring us images of this spectacle. I hope you enjoy.



The evening proper begins
in a large black tent
made from what looks like
spent notebooks of students
complete with red corrections
and laced with the heady
scent of smoke from
sneakily stolen cigarettes
or laboratory science gone bad

The entrance is crowded with
thousands of fidgeting fingers
not ghost digits
but attached to limbs
and eventually the sinuous
bodies of the audience

There is no place to sit
within the ancient paper walls
and spectators are littered about
a room of mysterious size

mysterious mostly because
the only light shines in a bright
line down the middle of the stage
ring shaped
as if the trickster gods
opened up a little
slice of their domains
just to see the show
maybe they’re peeping
sneaking in
without paying admission

He doesn’t seem to mind though
He, who stands gloriously in
the sliver of incandescence
and bald
which makes it hard for the
crowd to decide whether he’s attractive

He’s also wearing clockwork goggles
and predictably a burnt
amber goatee frames his chin
in perpetual flame

He draws back his arms
and his hands dance
entrancing patterns
like conjuring a kamehameha
or hadduken
but he’s probably just stretching

Nothing happens for a heartbeat
but startlingly quickly
the witnesses begin to sweat
almost as if someone turned
the thermostat to Hades
Ladies unbutton their blouses
and men remove their jackets

The act on stage remains
perspiration free
and in looking closely
one can see heat
dancing lazily off his body
like blackened asphalt streets in
one hundred degree deserts
or mercury
the planet

His dance picks up speed
and quickly the balls of his feet
as well as his palms
begin to glow brilliantly
soon he is completely
engulfed in flames
a conflagration of twisting limbs
making shapes of phoenix feathers

As quickly as the ignition began
the blaze vanishes
and all that is left
is a handful of ashes
and an unclad audience

5 thoughts on “Hiding stolen fire in a Circus Tent

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