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vultures at montgomery circle

by Gabriel Ricard

It’s going to be funny no matter what. We understand
that everyone gets a kick out of a clown who sips whiskey
from a side pocket, smokes blue box Pall Malls and doesn’t mind
a few burn marks on his jacket.

He gets all that. It’s not a mystery on par
with all those boarded-up houses
that suddenly appeared just outside of town.
It’s nothing like those flash floods from the last dust bowl.

He’s seen every movie that documents
how funny his life is. Getting out of his car at nine a.m.
for a birthday party at the Lewis place the thought occurs
to him. Since his hands won’t stop reaching for people
who moved out of his place years ago, he thinks about his favorite
story and fixes his red nose three times before getting to the door.

Above him the vultures are starting to learn
that it’s best to wait until someone rolls down
the window at the infamous twenty-minute red light.

All over the neighborhood the Hula-Hula Boys
are making off with housewives in armored trucks.

The show at the Lewis place
is a straightforward disaster. In the first ten minutes,
he smokes in the living room after they tell him not to,
knocks over the birthday cake
and tells one of the little girls to stop dressing like a whore
before it’s too late.

Some of the kids laugh nervously,
one converts to his Grandfather’s idea of Christianity
and a few go home to grow up.

He then hits on the mother,
cries through the first five minutes of his act
and sets the couch on fire trying to make
the elephant balloon animal his son used to like.

His gun doesn’t come out until
the Lewis’ try to make him leave. He reminds them
that he was paid in advance and has never once
gone back on a prior commitment.

Except for the one time.

At fifty-seven his knees hurt more
than anything else, but he goes through
the rest of the show anyway and actually
does a pretty good job. A couple of the remaining kids
get into it a little bit.

By the end he’s gotten about thirty minutes
of Vegas magic out of two hours the close
with the Lewis’ calling the cops while he sits
in the backyard smoking a cigarette.

He’s approached by the Lewis boy,
and Jams the Clown offers him a cigarette.

The kid accepts,
and Jams only mistakes him for his son twice.

He talks to the kid,
listens to the orgy next door
and wishes he could walk to Denver
from Los Angeles.

A younger man could make a go of it, certainly.


03/19/2010

Posted on 03/19/2010
Copyright © 2016 Gabriel Ricard

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Joe Cramer on 03/19/10 at 01:05 PM

... excellent.....

Posted by Maria Terezia Ferencz on 03/19/10 at 07:02 PM

Why do I love this so much? Not sure, but I do!!!

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 03/22/10 at 08:02 PM

There is a method in this madness, but not sure what it is. LOL! You managed to satirize or profance so many symbols or cultural traditions. You did it with your usual wry humor and verbal gymnastics.

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