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Ruby Circus

Through a glass prism, cracked, emerged

A forbidden mistress in red lace, Like a yellow finch in the cornflowers.

The children are coughing up tar in the streets

Of Brooklyn, New York, to pave the roads.

I’ve always felt hidden, not behind any barrier,

But under the smoldering coals of hellfire,

Breathing hotly, unalive, not unlike anything else.

I’m stuck in a painting of a Denmark winter Where the mutts lead the hunters past Frolicking children who laugh and skate on cracked ice.

In circuses, with tents of outcasts and degenerates, The crowd erupts in laughter as poached African elephants

With two trunks paint self-portraits and smoke cigarettes.

The Nile turned red as They jeered and snorted,

But the pharaoh ambled down to its banks and

Assured its cherry flavor “to whom it may concern”.

Don’t despair, don’t fret, at the unclean vagrant, In your local supermarket or mine, When he brandishes a hunting knife

Only to bisect a lime and drink it through his eyes.

Don’t you worry at all, little darling, Because there’s nothing to see here; nothing at all.

We’re all just masturbating or playing sudoku,

Running a hot bath to drown ourselves in.

What is this quintessence of dust?

Man delights not me

I have, of late, lost all my mirth

A sterile promontory;

This most excellent canopy.

It is my pain to be Hamlet,

And yours to be Faustus. We, both born of Wittenberg,

Struggle so mightily.


Derek Engen


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