Side Show

Side Show

Very
sturdy rogues.

Several have exploited your worlds.

With no needs, and in no hurry

to make use of their brilliant faculties

and their knowledge of your conveniences.

What ripe men! Eyes vacant like the summer night,

red and black, tricolored, steel studded with gold stars;

faces distorted, leaden, blanched, ablaze;

burlesque
hoarsenesses! The cruel strut of flashy finery!

Some are young,– how would they look on Cherubim?–

endowed with terrifying voices and some dangerous resources.

They are sent buggering in the town, tricked out with nauseating _luxury._

O the most violent Paradise of the furious grimace!

Not to be compared with your Fakirs and other theatrical buffooneries.

In improvised costumes like something out of a bad dream,

they enact heroic romances of brigands and of demigods,

more inspiriting than history or religions have ever been.

Chinese, Hottentots, gypsies, simpletons, hyenas, Molochs,

old dementias, sinister demons, they combine popular maternal

turns with bestial poses and caresses.

They would interpret new plays, “romantic” songs.

Master jugglers, they transform place and persons

and have recourse to magnetic comedy.

Eyes flame, blood sings, bones swell, tears and red trickles flow,

Their clowning or their terror lasts a minute or entire months.

I alone have the key to this savage side show.