May 06, 2010

The Show Must Go On (BTP Prompt #1)

This poem is for anyone who ever felt they didn't "fit in", hated pretending that they do, - or thought themselves trapped by others expectations.

While preparing my entrance-

(a nightly performance)

with stones in my gut-

(and dispair in my soul)

in a ridiculous costume-

(so no one can see "me")

and a greasepainted smile-

(to pretend false emotion)

then under the klieglights-

(for blinding interrogation)

and cacophonous music-

(that mocks me so cruelly)

I scamper, cavorting-

(though I'd rather run screaming)

while invisible strings-

(like some marionette)

tug me this way and that-

(in a fool Punch & Judy)

to wild applause-

(from the rubes who surround me)

who I've fooled once again-

(into believing I'm human.)
This first prompt from "Big Tent Poetry" asks us to write in the persona of someone in the circus. To me, this was quite easy, as I feel my life can be quite circus-like at times! Mostly I enjoy it, but underneath is always some very conflicted emotions. I tried to touch on that here.


  1. I really like your most recent picture Cynthia.
    Good to see you back again. You have been very quiet lately.

  2. Hi Cynthia,

    Not nice, always having to pretend, wear a mask or solicit attention. Good to see you back to poeming.

  3. we all carry a burden of expectation, and tailor our behavior and it happens to children which is most worrisome..

  4. Hi, Cynthia! It's great to have you posting your poetry again.

    Ah the dichotomy of inner and outer realities! So painful. So invisible to most. All of us at least sometimes crying on the inside.

  5. Cynthia,
    Good to see you back writing and I missed you during napowrimo. Good take on the prompt.

  6. Cynthia,
    I really loved this poem. It is what we all do most days of our lives. At least on those 'off days', when we wish we could stay away!
    Best wishes, Eileen

  7. I like the alternating lines, very effective. Sad insightful piece.

  8. Great work. I very much appreciate the revelation of the internal voice. Very effective-as it is in life. Thanks for a great read.

  9. I've always liked the metaphor of the tearful clown. Some of us accept the costume more easily than others. I really like the way you structured this. The alternating voice flows very nicely.

  10. so much of the circus fools us into believing one thing or another. it's an adventure. illusions. all that. and you've done a great job of how those thoughts can hurt someone who knows the ins and outs.

    thanks for writing with us!

  11. Always a fine line between reality and hope, you've written it well.

  12. You've captured the eternal truth of the clown, I think. Well done.

    (And so glad you are writing again & sharing at the Big Tent!)

  13. like the mix of performance
    and personality

  14. The audience's interrogation while being yanked by strings is an incredible image.

  15. the two entwined mezmerizes the reader..we all participate in one way or another in this disguise...

  16. I like how you take two sets of thoughts and weave them together seamlessly as one. If I didn't know any better and formatted it such, I'd think I was seeing a cleave here. Well done.


  17. Well done. I like the call and response aspect to this. It can be read 3 ways, each one well done.