Sunday, May 11, 2014

ringmistress

Nobody told me it was Cirque de Soleil in here.
When I was five,
every time I closed my eyes,
colors, creatures, patterns, movement.

Mama, you saw the vacuum cleaner,
or me staring out the window.
I saw my head exploding behind my eyelids.

All any adult ever told me was
pay attention
apply yourself
stop daydreaming and listen.

To what?
To the ghost-man nobody else seems to know about?
He followed me halfway up the stairs.
He chased me out of the basement.
He lived next to the water softener,
but could also come upstairs.

To the voices I hear when I'm tired?
Men, women, chattering away in snatches about nothing.
Or, to you?
To my brother?
I soak up your anger, your confusion, your frustration,
till I can't tell what is mine and what isn't.
"Why are sitting in here by yourself?"
Jesus Christ.

There is a difference between a trained tiger and one that's loose.
Nobody told me it was Ringling Brothers in here,
or that it isn't the same for everyone.
I grew up a little stunned, overwhelmed, spinning in the storm.
Now I call down the thunder,
and people say, "I want to spend an hour inside your head."

No you don't. 
The circus is permanently in town,
the gate is open,
and while they are used to me, and willing to perform,
my tigers don't know you,
and I can't be responsible for what they might do to a noob.


_______

for mag #219


26 comments:

Charleen said...

Interesting metaphor. You approach some heavy themes here.

ccchampagne said...

Wow! You really do know how to describe those maddening, crazy voices inside... This is amazing! And if it is self-biographical I hope you know you're not alone these days. There are tigers elsewhere also. Amazing!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Nobody told me it was Ringling Brothers in here,
or that it isn't the same for everyone...

It takes a while for this to sink in, but at least we become accustomed to the noise inside our own heads.

Managua Gunn said...

Cleverly themed and full. Good read..

Cait O'Connor said...

I do like this, you get to the heart of inner and outer voices in child and adulthood.

Sioux said...

So, I need more than a checklist to write like you? You're sayin' I need a circus in my ****in' head?

I guess THAT'S your secret to being a phenomenal writer...

Cloudia said...

Sister, I hear you! (Over our fuelling Calliopes)


Aloha,Ringmaster

humbird said...

Oh,it's important to learn how to hold 'the tigers'...but feels nice to relax once in awhile....~ enjoyed the reading.

Björn Rudberg said...

Sharing those tigers is probably not a good idea..beware and think about Siegfried and Roy.. tigers are not safe for anyone... Great metaphor.. and so well paired with your interview I read...:-)

hedgewitch said...

Sometimes the voices are the only intelligent conversation going, I say. And everybody's a Bozo on this bus--but some of them seem to all be in the same carefully contrived act, one tigers never quite feel comfortable with. At least you've learned how to be the ringmaster. Seriously good, Shay, as always, and totally you, which is always the best.

Kathryn said...

Those tigers have a life of their own. Oh and the voices usually do too. Great write and I loved the metaphors you used in this.

Kathe W. said...

everyone has those tigers in their head- but not everyone has tamed them

Sumana Roy said...

i love the pronunciation "The circus is permanently in town"...

undercaws.com said...

Tigers in your head. I love the way you wove circus imagery throughout this piece. Strong, dark, and yes...lovely.
-Brenda W

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love your poems about childhood, Shay. "I grew up a little stunned....spinning in the storm..." A fantastic write, as always.

Belva Rae Staples said...

I love this piece and that still happens when I close my eyes.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I loved your metaphor so much I've used it myself. (Google "Buddah Moskowitz' Crying Circus" for a yuk or two.) Yes, it's our job to make it look glamorous and fun to be who we are, but it *is* an awful amount of work, or as St. Rodney used to say "It ain't easy being me." Loved this poem and love you more than that, Shay-Dee-Lady, Mosk

Lynn said...

Your imagination constantly amazes me, FB.

Mama Zen said...

This just speaks to me. That's all I can say.

purplepeninportland said...

When your head holds a circus, anything could happen. This is an amazing write.

Magaly Guerrero said...

"I saw my head exploding behind my eyelids."

Such bloody vivacity...

It's almost a dream--or a nightmare--the way she walks around surrounded by horrors no one else can confront with her. It reads like a story...

grapeling said...

heed that warning :) ~

Karen S. said...

I didn't know either! Great approach to using this twist in theme!

C.C. said...

This is so brilliantly done...the metaphor is completely perfect. I started my own blog because of the cacophony of noises in my own head, so I understand the circus and the tigers far too well! But, you have written about it so very beautifully.

Tess Kincaid said...

I still like to close my eyes and watch the patterns...a circus indeed...love this...

Truedessa said...

interesting take on the poem the mind is a powerful place for dreams and some may not understand all that goes on..