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  #1  
Unread 08-28-2019, 01:47 PM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default Circus

Parade Dust

Titanic war paint never felt so grand
or crackled at the speed of spinning plates.
Kabuki bloodlust rattles my command
performance on Italian roller skates.
I navigate the fire like a clown.

If going to the circus is the game,
then I will hold the spotlight, center ring.
The trick will be remembering my name,
and in the lion’s cage, remembering to sing.

On closing night, the audience leaves town
delighted by the act they came to miss.
The flying Trombonistas pack their bags
and stiff the elephants. It’s come to this.
The top is smaller now. The canvas sags.
And pugilists are paid to take it down.



___
Lines 2 and 3 were:

or dried so fast on someone juggling plates.
Kabuki in the afternoon! Command



Then, line 2 was:


or dried so fast. I'm only juggling plates!



Line four had ended with a comma.

Line 7 was:

then I prefer to hog the center ring.

Stanza breaks added.


,

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 09-04-2019 at 05:20 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 08-28-2019, 04:02 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Rick,

What a nice topic for a poem! It opens up a fun range of vocabulary, which I think you've made good use of. I enjoyed your tone as well, which seems apt for a circus viewed from inside. A bit weary, a bit blase. Stiffing the elephants couldn't help, in these times, but remind me of Donald Trump and his famous habit of stiffing whomever he comes in contact with, almost gratuitously.

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 08-29-2019, 04:11 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Line 8 is hexameter, Rick. Is that intentional?

I'll be back.
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  #4  
Unread 08-29-2019, 08:17 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks John.


There is a Trump era feel to this circus, I think. I like the notion of trombones stiffing elephants--the extensible instrument poking at the trunked mammal. "Stiffing" is a great word--cheating, shortchanging, ignoring. In this case, I mean it in the sense of stiffing a waiter on a tip. But I'll take what I can get.

Thank Andrew.

I get a definite five count on that line.... How are you parsing it? I will admit I would have a hard time showing exactly how I am.

NB: Wait! Wait! Wait!-- I think you are referring to line 9. I am going to say it's on purpose.... ~,:^) It is a six-count, but I like it and claim it is the pre-volta in a 15-line "sonnet." A midterm Alexandrine?

RM

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 08-29-2019 at 09:07 AM.
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  #5  
Unread 08-29-2019, 09:11 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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edit: nevermind
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  #6  
Unread 09-02-2019, 09:06 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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I tried punching this up a little. Changes are noted.
RM
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  #7  
Unread 09-03-2019, 01:25 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Rick,

I liked this before and like it more on revisiting. I think it's very nice. I agree with all your first set of revisions, but prefer the original here: "then I prefer to hog the center ring." Hog as a verb is fun IMO.

Cheers,
John
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  #8  
Unread 09-03-2019, 08:58 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Rick, Hi.

1. If you wanted to make L9 iambic pentameter, here is one option:

The trick will be remembering my name,
and in the lion's cage, that I must sing.

2. It sounds odd to say that the audience will "leave town," since most of the audience presumably lives in the town where the circus is performing. You could change L10 to read:

On closing night, the circus leaves the town.

Of course, you'd have to modify L11.

3. For me, L11 is ambiguous. My first read was that the audience came to the circus with the intent to miss a particular act, but they ended up being delighted by that act. But that reading doesn't make a lot of sense. My second read was that the audience was delighted by an act, and that they missed seeing that act after the circus left town. If the latter is what you mean, then I might change the line to read:

delighted by the act they'd come to miss.

Mark
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Unread 09-04-2019, 08:34 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks John.

Hi Mark,

Well, obviously the circus is a metaphor. By the end, I'm intentionally into the man bites dog world. Things turned on their head in a description of the end of what the circus is a metaphor for. Thus, the audience, not the circus, leaves town. I mean, straightening those lines out makes them dead in the water. Thanks.


Also, new line 2

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 09-04-2019 at 05:21 PM.
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  #10  
Unread 09-05-2019, 04:45 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Rick,

The language and rhythm crackle like fireworks, but I'm not sure what I'm meant to feel. Often your poems defy obvious easy interpretation, but I usually get a feeling from them. Circus world is always resonant in terms of imagery, but this one isn't hitting me for some reason. There's a metaphor in here, clearly, but whatever it's a metaphor for (politics?) its obscurity seems a little strained, perhaps.
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