Prelude to ‘Cul-de-Sac’



Circus clowns are tragic creatures.  That’s something she learned all too well from the numerous family trips into New York City via the Long Island Rail Road to witness the excitement of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  No cotton candy for her – the stunning feats would leave her mouth agape.  Sometimes she felt as if she couldn’t catch her breath until the end.

When death arrived at her family’s suburban door, winter came early.  That she thought of the circus was cosmic justice in that she always identified with the tragic clown in times of stress.

Now, reflecting back on how death brought with it alienation as easily as neighbors used to walk through their side door with Sunday’s lemon meringue pies, she wished that she had paid more attention to the acrobats tumbling high above the stage at Madison Square Garden, than to the bumbling clown.  Then she might have learned how to be more flexible in her family’s cancer-stricken tranquillity.  Ah, but then there were those clowns who suspended reality of space and time, crowding into tiny cars.

Motherless at fifteen, she found herself caught between the magic of childhood innocence and the illusion of adult responsibility.


One Response to “Prelude to ‘Cul-de-Sac’”

  1. rtmlove Says:

    I really like this piece. It reminds me of a Don Mclean song aptly titled “Circus Song” in which he visits the circus to escape the pain and predictablity of his own life. However, in this piece the pain of life brings the speaker to the circus because they identify with the clowns and the circus in general. Its actually quite startling to think how closely the show that is the circus and the show that is life parallel. In both instances characters perform these amazing feats for an audience with smiles on their faces. Yet, the reality of it is what they are doing is extremely difficult and often even harder to do knowing people are watching. Its beautifully tragic….I do love how the speaker says that they should have watched another performer in the circus so they would be able to deal with their life better. The connection is just so strong, that had to be my favorite part hands down.

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