Upon Realizing I am a Circus Bear

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E. Berg via Wikimedia Commons

wow
i am a circus bear
i am big and formed in the wilderness of my own cognitive dissonance
i was once wading in the torrent of a river
attempting to catch salmon with my canines but mostly being slapped across the face by the fish

now i’ve been fed
in front of circus audiences
beneath warm invasive spotlights
fish after fish for my earnest attempts at being human
but in reality i’ll never learn how to speak
especially if they keep shoving cheap cod fish into my slobbering bear mouth
as i wear this little hat

and they leave me no books in my bear trailer
no one comes to visit me except to prepare me to perform
except to bring me more fish, of which i have plenty
and i suspect i am stronger than all of this
that i can escape my trailer
and wander seamlessly back to the wilderness of my cognitive dissonance
that i can climb trees and create a wonderful bear family to feed and care for
and of course i’ll wear the hat

because the hat will be part of my past even if it’s a bad past

i stare deeply into my bear face in the mirror
and though part of me recognizes this face as my own
part of me wonders how i’ve come to arrive at this moment
to be so lost and lonely on a ball in the middle of a circus tent
people devouring me with their eyes like i was ten dollar popcorn
people devouring me with their eyes like i was a twelve dollar hot dog
my bear eyes roll back and i am back in the forest and clawing at the bark of a tree
and i’m thinking all sorts of thoughts that i believe exist as part of my true bear nature
like where come from the fish they feed me and where will i find the love i truly want?

 

Brice Maiurro is a Denver poet and the owner of Punch Drunk Press, a local poetry publisher.