Circus Aesthetics – written 31 December, 2010

My circus aesthetic is, I like to think, a reflection of a certain lifestyle once held by circus performers.

It’s dirty and a little morally suspect.

It’s the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, holes-in-the-soles-of-your-shoes feeling of grit and weird, unexpected familial ties.

It’s a group of strong individuals who, somehow, create a close-knit team, pulling through hardships with mutual respect (and possibly a hip flask).

It’s jazzy and sexy and gives you dirt under your fingernails.

It’s tap dancing.

It’s brash, but cute. Perhaps a little bit noir.

Faded sequins and drooping feather headdresses – the most talented men and women in the world, largely ignored by a population that is unwilling or unable to venture out to see them in their magnificence.

It’s smoke-and-booze-afflicted singing, tuneless pianos, and enthusiastic accordions.

It’s a series of rattling train cars, billowing coal-smoke, and steam.

It’s garter belts and dust-covered high heels.

Lipstick and rouge and a fake mole.

The tattooed lady and the strong man on their cigarette break.

That eerie, creeping calliope.

That’s what jazz circus means to me.


2 responses to “Circus Aesthetics – written 31 December, 2010

  • kvennarad

    (Amherst. ED country. No wonder you’re a poet.)

    It’s a list of very vivid, highly effective images.

    It’s rather good. I love the eerie, creeping calliope with its creaking assonance and alliteration – a simple trick but you pull it off in style.

    It’s a big push on the ‘like’ button.

    Marie Marshall

    • lapiccolacoccinella

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! I actually feel as though I’m a really poor poet most of the time – mostly because I haven’t had that much practice. What poetry I do write tends to be more like this – long lines of what could be prose, separated into lines. But I’m really glad that you liked it, and a bunch of other people have seemed to like it as well.

      Alliteration, by the way, is one of my absolute favorite devices. An easy way to get across a feeling, you know?

      Thanks again!

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