Its Circus Time


Walker Evans FSA Photo. Lynchburg, SC, 1936. LOC.

It’s circus time! The clowns circle and the lion roars! The clowns honk and beep and scoot but don’t fit into the car; they are falling out, throwing confetti for a carnation that will not happen, hiding 3 day stubble under faces of greasepaint smiles. Once in carnivals, men fought live gorillas! Now the lion has a stench which is not frankincense or myrrh. It bombards the air! Behind the laughter is a lot of mean, whose only antidote is a return to a time when segregation divided the seating (and jobs!), women could be beaten bloody by husbands and others (every rough movie had a slap scene), and Jimmy Stewart’s real character gave a moral to The Greatest Show On Earth, lost on these clowns and handlers.

Hey, look me over, lend me an ear; they vie; “if you are down and out the only way is up.” Not so! This crowd of clowns has proven you can go further down. The dregs stick to the clowns and lion feet; footprints that soil democracy, as the crowd cheers the golden mane of fear and the false faces.

An old communist tactic is the show’s center piece: close your eyes; now open them: you see nothing Obama promised! (But virtue is in the heart, not in the hand.) Close them again. Now open them! Don’t worry, we will fill your empty hand; we will, we will! Honk!

Blood, Sweat and Trump – The New York Times


(replies) That’s not water squirting from the petunia in Trumps boutonniere. But it is sterile.


“hiding 3 day stubble under faces of greasepaint smiles.”

“the lion has a stench which is not frankincense or myrrh. It bombards the air!”

“The dregs stick to the clowns and lion feet; footprints that soil democracy,”

Love your gift for imagery!

And you are so right about the meanness, absolute baseness, that Trump and his supporters represent.

I always enjoy your comments, which blend intelligence and clarity with meaningful insight.


Two notes: Culture–old sayings, actions, events are recombined and present in new forms in our time. Keenly interested in history and this cultural change, I track it using comparative forms (rather than straight narrative). The language I use is part poetic (stench/myrrh), drawing its conclusions as insights. The key to its meaning is “the voice,” I often write in “their” voice to break down the line between “us” and “them.” (I know Obama fulfilled many promises, which the GOP refuses to admit it–the described trick is how communists refuted God, Cruz’s father tells this story, but it equally applies to and parallels GOP tactics!)

In the post are hints of Dr. Seuss (his rhythm and narration), bits of actual surrealism (in my hometown, men actually fought gorillas! 3 rounds, 50 bucks!), an homage to my cousin Clarke Peters (the Wire, Treme) opening in The Royale, in February, in Lincoln Center, and an oblique tip to Alice’s Red Queen (a favorite of mine!), doing the impossible things (we will fill your empty hand! we will!).

Principles of truth are embedded across many fronts, lies have a limited, restricted range. Truth embodies contractions (love and hate), but evil uses this aspect of unity to smash our sensitivity and deny truth’s legitimacy. Embrace the contradictions! The multiple sides of real laughter (Richard Pryor, Emmett Kelly, commenter Larry Eisenberg’s poems, not Donald Trump’s single dimensions!) are revolutionary!


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