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Sport 19: Lightworks

Early Memories of the Circus People

page 26

Early Memories of the Circus People

I've been driving at the edge of town,
losing myself on wild west streets,
the secondhand stores lit like Christmas.
Hard to say where the wrong turns started.
Takes me back to convoys traveling
town to town. Muscled, nuggety runaways
working the big top. I remember dusk
and those lined faces, stories
mumbled in circles of pipe-smoking men.
It's the stuff hardest to explain
brings me here once more. Sifting through
photo albums, boxes of family junk
in a store-your-own garage by the trailer park,
curiosity becomes obsession.
I start tracing over the years, personal history,
the accumulation of questions, doubt.
With day-to-day concerns in momentary stasis,
driving becomes the turnstile to the old world,
a start to documentary. I remember
an accordion playing the funeral march.
Through simple routines, the circus people
imbued broken down summers with magic,
made the uncertain world a better place.
Tonight I sit back, watch for them,
take a smoke. For one fine moment
I believe they're here, walking elephants
to a watering hole, where
I've been driving at the edge of town.