The Circus Series

The Ringmaster

When the curtains opened,

He emerged.

Light as a puff of air

Chipper as a songbird

Hand woven around the strings of his puppets

As he forced them to dance.

His workings were products of perfection;

He was the master,

The mechanic behind this well-oiled machine

He had never known anything other

Than formulas and scripture;

For order, rules and beliefs were always enough

To keep the parts working.

He was the architect

Who wavered upon the structures of his creation,

Fists clenched and brow moistened;

He had scribbled draft plans and slaved over calculations

But his world was not a mathematical equation

From which

He could derive meaning.

Adaptability was barely an acquaintance;

The unexpected stung.

Failure, to him, felt like wringing out a soaking rag

That he could never dry.

Wetness pooled at his feet,

Licked at the soles of his shoes

Smelt thick and marinated in the fluid of his lungs,

For breathing was hardly an option

Now that he had stared defeat in the eye.

As Lady Macbeth,

He could not wash the stains

That arose from his rigidity:

Leading consisted of jumping through calculated hoops

In hope of emerging unscathed

And he was not quite prepared

To allow himself to stop.

The Lion Tamer

He was the face of a Warrior.

A man with a snarl

With the incredible ability

To suppress every last piece of

Uncertainty that somehow found itself nestling in his gut.

He loved life through his liver,

Sipped on glasses

To loosen the grip he had on his trembling heart

For there was nothing to repress or swallow

If he couldn’t recall what he had to fear.

They called him a peacemaker,

The glue between two opposing walls:

Two forces that would otherwise crush everything in its wake

Had he not wedged himself in the middle

Sacrificing himself

In the line of duty.

But being stuck in the in-between,

Tasked with the responsibility

Of taming an impossible beast

Or allowing it to prowl unguarded,

He cracked

Felt himself peel away

As the mighty roar

Slithered slowly up walls of his throat.

How could he survive

If he had to play the part of the predator

Rule a land that did not belong to him

Govern a writhing, unwilling animal

For the sake of the public?

He felt more like a thrush

Yearning to speak truths

Whisper hidden secrets to the unaware

But he fell prey to his own impulses

And found himself trapped in the motions once more.

The Funambulist

He tiptoed on the string of what had passed

Or what had never begun.

His eyes glued to a distant forest

Where the trees whisper of new chapters

And promises of success.

He was a bird

That had nested on security

Sat upon the comfort of

Knowing that he had the ability to soar

To feel the sun’s heat on the back of his neck

And hear rumble of seawater against rock

But the taste of his Mother’s feeding was enough

To convince him to stay.

Life was spent relishing the idea of flight

And he knew that

To reach the other side

One foot must simply overtake the other

Yet the thought of moving forward

Even a single step

Was enough for him to perch in place.

He teetered with indecision

Mouth gaping

As he gazed at what ifs

And what could be.

Life was a great balancing act,

A battle against pressure and the slapping of wind

And though his sole mission

(His soul mission)

Was to reach the other side

To realize his potential and take flight

The danger of falling was too great.

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