The coming of the circus was announced in colored pulp and paste. Main Street became plastered with poster papers extolling the horribly repulsive: two-headed serpents and negresses, bearded women atop unicorns, gladiators for the fiercest wild cats, and those secret sights too disgusting for ladies and children to look upon. Families attended the Great Intercourse Circus, one and all. An endless throng titillated by poster papers that promised hideous monstrosities. In each town, there were mothers who protested the egregiousness and sin, and fathers who took to the pulpit after seeing the 5-Buck Shows. Still, hordes stepped right up, one and all. To watch a whip-wielding Tamer who called the wild cats mere pussies, and to rabble-rant “lock, lock, lock em up!”
In every town, business men knew Circus Tops were bigly pay and they bought the Barker’s bottom line of starving scruples and fast dirt. They lent their building sides for the adverts and took their families tent-side on free tickets. The Barker’s prophecy usually pandered out— within the catatonic masses it was never difficult to find a bad hombre willing to put their head in the mouth of a lion— or a crowd to witness the wrestling Tamer who whispered nasty into the wild cats’ ears. One and all, they surge-screamed “kill, kill, kill…” between the bites of their kettle sweets. It was manna for mayhem. Enchanted threads for the common bread.
Catherine Moore is the author of three chapbooks and the forthcoming “Ulla! Ulla!” (Main Street Rag Publications). Her work appears in Tahoma Literary Review, Caesura, Tishman Review, Southampton Review, Still: the Journal, Mid-American Review and in various anthologies. She’s been awarded a Walker Percy and a Hambidge fellowship, her honors also include the Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, a Nashville MetroArts grant, inclusion in the juried “Best Small Fictions of 2015” and Pushcart nominations. Catherine holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and she teaches at a community college. She’s tweetable @CatPoetic.