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Circus Music

When you were a child

breathing street lamps

from your cold window

your world an oyster shell

bequeathed by fairy tales

moons hanging on silver threads


Don’t you remember


When lions and elephants

cavorted and the tattooed lady

waited under her marquee of stars

watching the horses on the merry-go-round

eat lady fingers from little hands


Yes, that window’s frosty, grimy now


As lamps glimmer on shortening wicks

and those figures on the painted lady

cram into each other’s wrinkles,

disappear into themselves


But the music stays with you, big tent music

beat and throb, trumpets blaring oompah pah

it plays on, your private juke box when

you glimpse the moon, smell the fragrance

of a painted carousel or circus animal dung


A silver arm encircles a shellac disk, lifts

moves over, places it on a spinning table

and you hear all those old tunes again

your ten year old pockets filled with

an endless supply of glinting coins

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© Johnmichael Simon



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