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final performance

by aoife mannix

This morning the mountains burn snow sunshine,
a golden haze clings to the balcony.
Silence comes as a shock,
the green whispers of days on the run,
beating the rhythm of words.
Turning right over the bridge,
the polished streets, polished smiles,
slight awkward pauses, terribly polite in their translations.
Asking what a name means, a radio emptiness,
trying to drag the questions in, to put a frame around music,
I turn on my best smile.
A clown, an acrobat, a circus ringmaster in my own lion show.
I clap my hands in desperation, slipping in and out of my ID card,
dazzling them with the speed of my costume changes,
firing phone calls from a cannon.
The promise of your voice, real and sure and warm,
if you were here, you'd laugh too,
but on my own, the joke's not funny.
I run out of cartwheels, and am weary of nodding my head,
splitting my skin open, I step out of the bag,
fresh blood on my shirt.
How interesting, how different, how totally and utterly cute.
My heart is Houdini and for my next trick I'll stop breathing,
walk barefoot over hot coals, stand on my head,
spin myself like a top,
faster and faster, the colours blur,
I'm knocked out by the punch line.
I lie there bruised and unconscious,
the crowd disperses, this show has left town,
and my stories are empty, not a dream to my name.
I'm just cheap entertainment,
trying to string a sentence together, whistle the right tune.
In my bones I know it's time to go home.


copyright © 2003, aoife mannix



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