The Big Top Comes Down: A Consciousness Poem

//The Big Top Comes Down: A Consciousness Poem

The Big Top Comes Down: A Consciousness Poem

By Deborah Kahan Kolb


once the elephants left the crowds stopped coming to the circus but look do my eyes deceive me the elephants are back they are blustering along on Capitol Hill with old white-man creases leathering their skin leaving yuge piles of shit in their wake for the humane rights activists to shovel and yes the crowds are back to see the gilded circus with their very own eyes especially the trumpeting elephants imported from Russia but the parks department submits based on alternative facts that it’s not truly a crowd it’s really fake news it’s a scattered gathering of empty bleachers lining the parade mall of the grand old circus the greatest show on earth headlined by the triumphant return of the elephants their legendary memories faulty somehow remember last year how they snorted and swore and yet oh my god here’s the winning new ringleader just promoted and he’s tripping over the ludicrous length of his tie he used to be an ordinary clown y’know all he did was comb-over the orange wig and shift his makeup from white to perma-tan but some clowns are scary and this one likes water for his next trick he wants to pour gallons of it down Ahmed’s gagging gullet oh yes he’s a self-styled high inquisitor turned into a meme this big league circus ringleader oh look there he’s cracking his golden pen now to tame the donkeys braying out of control in an obstinate corner of the congressional ring ladies and gentlemen hell is empty and all the losers are here the circus is not shuttered it’s terrific it’s tremendous just look at those asses their portfolios prancing ringing round the oval kicking up their heels amidst piles of rubles they imagine they’re stallions able to vault a fantastic wall and see up there the amazing gymnastics of the aerialist acrobats wow they can twist themselves into anything huh the people on the pavement ooh and aah and scratch their heads as they witness hope and change swing upside down from filmy vows of lightweight silk and in the center of the platform can you see the monkeys tilting at that crumbling Mexican windmill or maybe it’s Syrian who really knows and guess what my friend the great cats are back the pink pussyhats no more jumping through hoops or performance on demand hear those fierce felines roar they’re swarming the parade route and chasing this circus act right out of town watch the ringleader ex-clown snatch a bellicose bow amid the hue and cry believe it or not a Ripley themed spectacle is playing itself out on the splendid stage of our nation’s capital


Deborah Kahan Kolb was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in the Bronx. Much of her poetry reflects the unique experiences and challenges of growing up in, and ultimately leaving, the insular world of Hasidic Judaism. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetica, Voices Israel, Veils, Halos & Shackles, New Verse News, Tuck, Literary Mama, 3Elements Review, and Rise Up Review, and her work has been selected as a finalist for the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. Her debut collection, Windows and a Looking Glass, is forthcoming in April 2017 from Finishing Line Press, as a finalist for their 2016 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. You can read more of the author’s work at

Photo credit: “Circus elephants and performers parade on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol,” U.S. Library of Congress.

Previously published by Poets Reading the News.

By | 2017-04-05T12:45:31-07:00 April 6th, 2017|Categories: Issue 19: 06 Apr 2017|Tags: , |0 Comments

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