May 24, 2012

The Ringmaster and The Tiger - Act 1

The tiger paces the ring, waiting for the Ringmaster to enter.  The paws move, one forward, then another, forward, slowing, silently, creeping in a never-ending circle, around and around the center platform of boxes, the tiger paces. 

Where is he?  I know he’s coming.  He always does.  He waits for me, as I wait for him. 

The tiger is patient. 

I hear a creaking sound. 

The sound is familiar.  A shuffling sound, another follows. 

I turn.  My head jerks up.  I stand still.  I wait.  I watch.

More sounds echo within the empty room. 

The crunch under foot, nearing; nearer, while I wait, with legs that tremble with anticipation.

Another door opens. 

I back away, perceiving this the final door, before he enters. I back away.  I stiffen my legs to keep them still.  I watch the door as it opens. 

There he stands, tall and straight.  A black cape hangs loosely from his thin shoulders.  The right hand contains a long black whip, a leather strap dangling from its tip, to be held back by one little finger.

He makes contact with my eyes.  We stare, motionless, neither of us flinching. 

The Ringmaster reaches his left hand behind his back, closing the door, latching it. The air is dense, close.

He takes five steps towards me, then stops.  He holds my glare.  He knows this look of mine, as I know his every thought that comes across the air.  He knows I will not move until he moves.  He knows this.  He knows me.  He takes another forward step, and I step back two.

The Ringmaster starts to circle around the platform in the center of the ring.  He raises his arms, the whip bends, as his wrist dictates a single wave of motion. Swinging the loose leather tip around in the air above his head, releasing harsh cracking currents of atmosphere, comes near the tiger’s ear. 

I step forward one step; he backs away two. 

The whip cracks in mid air; one, two, three times. 

I jump to the first level.  He cracks the heavens, and I jump, again.  Again, and again, he repeats his signals. 

I leap to the uppermost box and stand motionless. I wait on the platform. I am ready. His eyes and mine, never leave the solid line that connects one to the other.  He knows I will stand there until he signals me, up, up.

He signals, not with the whip, but with the nod of his head. I rise to my full height, clawing the air to keep balance.

He is the director, the conductor, the leader. He is the master musician, the Ringmaster, who leads me around and around. I am the tiger that leaps and bounds, and watches, and listens, heeding his every wish. 

The Ringmaster throws his whip-clutched fist towards the ground, the leather tip raising a cloud of dust into the air.

I jump down and fall in front of his feet.  My legs stretch to meet his.  He bends forward, reaching out to stroke my head.  I lower in submission, sawdust scratching my belly.  He strokes me.

The master. The beast.

I wait.  I am still. The controller of my destinies, in the tone of his voice, as he coos me, and lulls me, and persuades me to move at his next command. 

The Ringmaster turns and walks away.

I rise, without command, and walk along side his leg.  I brush against it, warning of my power. Feeling my strength, he knows me with intimacy. Showing equality, side by side we walk together over thresholds.

Boundaries are set, as the lock on the cage door is opened.  The Ringmaster enters.  He closes the door.  A chair is in the middle of the cage. His arms sag. He drops the whip at his feet.  He sits to wait for sleep, closing his eyes, allowing his body to go slack.

I do not enter this cage, but walk to the far corner of the room. I will wait. We will sleep, the Ringmaster and I.  Around and around in a dream we will pace, repeating our day’s refrain. 

Into The Ring - Act 2 - The Ringmaster and The Tiger

The tiger paces
 then becomes still
all remain standing
breathing suspends
anything but tranquil

The tiger leaps
all in one bound
one movement
no warning
no sound

Life falters, tilts,
a whip sways into view
no crack
no current
no separating the two

Watched by eyes, harsh amber flames connecting with mine
sawdust rises from beneath, meeting forced strides to stand
up, up this solid earth connects to bare souls
down, down, a falling face in the dust
distinguishing time

Bare Souls - Act 3 - The Ringmaster and The Tiger

The crowd stands,
suspended in a transcending moment in time without motion.
Breathing halts.
Hearts pound and are bound,
connecting a dangerous cadence.
Eyes watch, as splinters of light filter down
down through the big canvas top.
Dust particles swirl up, up in the heat,
thick with a tannic odor, metal of a nature unseen,
dropping upon bare souls.

Exhale - Act 4 - The Ringmaster and The Tiger

Exhale, nostrils flare
mouths open
grabbing air

Anger rises, turmoil pursues
craning necks
fights ensue

fists to the skies
a rush to the ring
stares meet bulging eyes

arms hug the scene
then drop
to the dance in the ring

The Ringmaster and the Tiger lie motionless
blood drips off of bared teeth
The Ringmaster takes a breath
a cloud of sawdust stirs
The Tiger licks the wound
The Ringmaster belongs to Her

May 20, 2012


The night was beautiful, until the fog rolled in to cover the vision, a dreamscape unannounced;  Fog, a low lying humid droplet of water blanketing the earth like a snake combing the ground for prey.

Slithering, sneaking around
underlying danger, waiting, not a sound
Turning to cold droplets, after a warm night’s breath 
 tears, a faint pulse, then quiet, quiet death

May 8, 2012

Laughter of The Wind

Bernice L. McFadden's novel, The Warmest December, inspired my thoughts here.

come here
go there
listen to the wind
the voice laughs in my face

full blown strength gutting my image
stripping, smearing me the length of the field
no flowers, just spikes sticking out of the ground

you wait for me to appear
you whisper to me sweetly
you soak me up like a sponge
I’m lost to your voice completely

brace yourself, the wind tells me
as I careen around the edges of my fate
laugh, wind, go ahead and laugh!
your thorny nettles settle deep within my skin

quietly I wait
for a tender sound
you pick me up
to throw me down