M.A. Vizsolyi

Ancient Whims

               “did you ever get the sense that any moment
it could all be shut off”

“what could”

               “everything & grief got me thinking about
this i mean everything the tightrope gone the
acrobat falling gone the tiger below him too
& the crowd & the three rings of fire the
clown weeping out of his flower the tent &
the lunatic in the cage & the elephants being
tortured & their torturers & the small fires
the people on the street even their shadows
& the cars they drive & the roads the
buildings the trees the bushes even the small
sad ones & the hills & the beaches & the seas
& the sunlight & the moonlight & starlight &
even the grass & the ground itself”

“you mean instantly”

               “yes as if with a switch”

“i think it would happen slowly the acrobat
would fall first but there’d be no net to catch
him the cage would disappear & the tiger
would be let loose & the crowd would be
eaten the guns being gone the clown would
free the lunatic & they’d run away together
into the woods with no trees the elephants
instead would become kings in this new
world & become torturers themselves the
cars simply would not move anymore & then
there’d be only moonlight all the time & the
seas would rage upon us & sink our buildings
but it would take time as i would guess”

               “either way”

“yes either way”


M.A. Vizsolyi is the author of The Lamp with Wings: love sonnets (HarperPerennial) winner of the National Poetry Series. He is also the author of the chapbooks, Notes on Melancholia (Monk Books) and The Case of Jane: a verse play (500places press). Recent work can be found in The New Orleans Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, and Gulf Coast. He teaches writing at Goddard College and edits the online journal Paperbag.

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