Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Hippopotamus



A hippopotamus attends the fair.


By chance, the first thing she sees is her own reflection in the fun house mirrors.

"How beautiful I am!" she cries, preening and proud that her diet is working.


Afraid of being trampled, the crowd scatters before her.

"Everyone here loves me! They treat me like the Queen of England!"

And yet, she does have sense enough to stop short of giving the little royal wave.


All day, her broad simple face is lit with a smile,

Her few teeth gleaming from the great chasm of her mouth,

And her heart is filled with a big fat lump of joy.


You mightn't know it to look at her,

But she is possessed of a great and singular talent.

Despite her lack of thumbs or physical grace,

She can play the violin so beautifully

That bounty hunters and professional wrestlers embrace each other in tears

At the sound of a note coaxed forth by her.


And so her sensitive nature is stung

When a girl

--the sort of honey-haired young stunner who can crawl from a dumpster and be crowned Miss Universe without even brushing the barf off last night's jeans--

Says,

"Get a load of the fat cow," and snickers as only one so entitled can do.


But a cow could never have snapped the girl up like that.

A cow could never have trotted with such surprising speed over to the games booths and dragged that beauty queen to the bottom in a hail of yellow plastic ducks.


In an interview from jail, the hippopotamus, manacled and wearing an enormous and unflattering orange jumpsuit, confides:


"There is no such thing as too much beauty,

But no one should be expected to look too much reality in the eye

And not flinch."


The article goes on to add

That in the deep cinder block evenings at the county jail,

A sound as heartbreakingly pure as first love and summer roses

Makes even the screws weep

Like little children.

________________

16 comments:

david mcmahon said...

Standing ovation for you ....

Poutalicious said...

I hesitate to admit that I can relate all too well to the hip-hippo: "A cow could never have trotted with such surprising speed over to the games booths and dragged that beauty queen to the bottom in a hail of yellow plastic ducks." Bravo!

Paris said...

Girl...you are amazing! (clap clap clap) :)

Riot Kitty said...

oh! this is sad and wonderful at the same time. I love the image of a hippo playing the violin.

Marty said...

HA!

Mama Zen said...

I love your description of the beauty queen.

Kelly Dickson said...

i was expecting a rant, but i wasnt' expecting one as good as this. i read it twice this morning, and again now and everytime i feel or see a different nuance. I can't pick out any particular part as it is all great, but i think this is insightful social commentary;

"There is no such thing as too much beauty,

But no one should be expected to look too much reality in the eye

And not flinch."

Keep em rolling gay-shay-gal

xxx

Fireblossom said...

Oh, thank you David!

Pouty, those ducks always crack me up, not many people probably write about whimsical murders. Glad you liked!

oOo, Paris, thank you and welcome to the Word Garden!

Riot Kittyyyyyy, one never knows what talents may lie hidden. ;-)

*winks at Marty*

Mama Zen, when I was at Gatwick airport waiting for my delayed flight, it seemed to me that unless one were young and ridiculously pretty, one is not expected to fly. I saved up all that bitter resentment and made it into something worthwhile lol.

I may not slice vegetables in half the time or make your car's upholstery look new again, but I am glad that I can write good poems about virtuoso murderess hippos. It's always a joy when you comment, K, and in fact, I kind of surprised myself with that bit you singled out, and was pleased with it.

Jannie Funster said...

Bounty hunters and professional wrestlers - how they weep like sweet ladies. Another nobody-but-Shay gem. Me too, on liking the beauty queen's description.

Having difficulties sending e-mails.
xo

oximoron said...

I love the hippopotamus! :)

lmerie said...

Glad you made David's list - Enjoyed Hippopotamus!

Deb said...

Good Morning ~ I just wanted to congratulate you on POTD. I have now read Hippopotamus over a few times and am just sitting here reflecting, relating. I enjoyed my visit here and will be back. Enjoy your day!

Mrs. Organic said...

I love all these images - especially the screws weeping and the quote at the end. So good!

Fireblossom said...

Thank you, everyone!

Poutalicious said...

Ha-ha! I was the second to post after David. I almost beat him here. Gratz on POTD. Good one.

Shaista said...

Yes I am part of that first commentator's ovation :)
This is so moving and clever and real. Can't wait to read more of your poetry :)