Matt Bialer – 2 poems

 

BOZO THE CLOWN DANCES WITH THE CANNIBALS

1.
BOZO’S WRITTEN A BOOK

Hi, this is your ol’ pal Bozo
And we’ve got the rootin’
Tootinest ding dong dang book
And book tour for you
In the whole ding dong dang world
Yuh Yuh Yuh Yuh

Take a seat under the ol’ big top
Tell you about my life, Bozo’s life
Stories of astronauts, assassins, presidents
My encounter, dressed as Bozo –
Dangerous cannibals

Not the original Bozo
Portrayed him
Then bought character rights
Widespread franchising
Local TV stations, own local production
Own Bozo
Each market, different actor
Voice and look alter slightly
Trained 203 men to wear the costume
Bozo Boot Camp
Anywhere in the world
Every city that has Bozo
Thinks theirs only Bozo
“Hey!  That not the REAL Bozo!”
Chicago, Birmingham. Worcester, Brazil

Number one of the Bozo Commandments:
Never talk down to a child

  

2.
HIS EX WIFE APPEARING ON TALK SHOWS TOO

Mid-fifties, dyed blond hair
Botox and liposuction
Written bestsellers:
LOVE SMART:Find The One You Want
Fix The One You Got
RELATIONSHIP RESCUE
Hollywood superstars and power brokers
Now she’s promoting her new reality show
THE LOVE JUDGE

I wanted him to have more energy,
More pizzazz
Be smart
Wisdom of an adult, wonder of a child
Bulbous red nose
Work the voice:  machine gun chuckle
Yuh Yuh Yuh Yuh
Flaming red wings of hair –
Tried yarn, string, horse hair
Nothing worked
Yak hair
Dyed it right shade of red
Coated with Krylon
Strength, support, durability

Wake up as Bozo
Go to bed as Bozo
Never reveal your true self

My ex on Good Morning America
Show clips The Love Judge
Wears the robe, pouty lips
Behind the bench
Implant Couple, Weight Loss Couple
Dog Couple: Lucy and Pete
21 year old secretary
He’s a 27 year old headhunter
Engaged, 3 weeks
His dog Samantha
More important to him than me
Always talking about the dog
What the dog feels
We used to have fun, not anymore
Can’t break through
The Love Judge’s verdict:
Both guilty
Gotta try harder folks
Sentence:  One night out a week
Dinner, dancing –
Don’t bring the dog

Children don’t see him
As person who just happens to be
All red, white and blue with funny hair
They think he goes home
To a family of Bozos

People don’t know how
To work their mouth and laugh lines
Raise your eyebrows high enough –
Going to rip off your face
Pretend you’ve just guzzled
A gallon of strong coffee
Six pounds of gumdrops
Bounce off the walls
Excitement, energy
Strong verbs
Learned to speak reading comic books:

POW! WHAM!

My ex asked about my book
What she thinks
Sadly I’m the second of four wives
Was his mistress during first marriage
Wanted sex every night
Twice on weekends
Caught him sleeping with his secretary
Doesn’t even write about us
Pathological liar
If he had two steaks
Said he ate seven

 

3.
SO WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CANNIBALS

Now I’m going to tell you
The dig dong dandiest story
In the whole ding dong dandy world
And it’s true folks
Have photos as proof –
My encounter with dangerous cannibals
Southern coast of New Guinea

Australian outback –
Meeting aborigines, responsive audience
Little children to old women
Teach me dances 1000 years old
Hear mention jungles of New Guinea
If you want to see the wild –
Go to New Guinea
But you’re not likely coming back
To tell us about it!

Australian bureaucrat –
The aborigines might seem primitive
But they have interactions with us
The tribes in New Guinea
Never encountered civilization
Human skulls under their heads
Instead of pillows
Eat you as soon as they look at you

I am what Bozo is
And Bozo is what and who I am
No separation

See if his laughter universal
Costume crosses borders
Test my own strength, courage
Bozo to protect me
Secure own travel
Dive bar, industrial neighborhood
Near airport in Canberra
Stale beer
Blond guy, unshaven
Bell bottomed jeans
Slumped in booth, back corner
Bush pilot – payment up front
Cause you ain’t coming out
Of them jungles, mate

Dilapidated DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver
Crammed with camera man, sound guy
Wearing my Bozo costume
Mount Hagen, 8000 feet
The Enga, Western Highlands province –
Lush forests, waterfalls, jagged rocks
Flying over the jungle for hours
Haven’t seen a house
No people, no buildings, roads
Television studios
You gotta take that wig off mate
Blocking my view

Tribesman appears
Spear in hand
Slender, tightly coiled muscles
Sarong, waist to ankle
Bone ornament hangs from his nose
Headdress, tall plumage, red feathers
Face expressionless

Up to me to do something
Spread my arms wide
Smile
Hands wide open
Nothing

So close I can smell him
Sweet, lardlike
Front of me face to face
Says something – guttural, unintelligible
Mumble the sounds back at him
Says Konato, Konato
That his name?
Bozo Bozo
I point to his headdress
Point to my wig
Chuckle, guffaw
Yuh Yuh Yuh Yuh

More gestures
Need to relate to him
Says nothing
Stares
Can they speak clown?

Uh oh

Leans his head back
Let’s rip blood curdling howl
People materialize
Faces all painted, lap-laps
Spears of black palm
Bone daggers, Bows, arrows – thin bamboo
Ready for war
And a meal

Keep pointing to Konato’s headdress
Then my wig
Headdress, wig
My big Bozo smile
Sweat, make up pour down my face
My crew cries, babbles in despair

Form a circle around us
All I can see, corner of my eyes –
Spears, axes, teeth

And then all of the sudden –
Slight Konato smile
Addresses crowd, points at me, gestures –
Touches my red nose
Fingers graze my wig
Big white fluffy balls on my shirt

Motions us to follow him
Mangrove vegetation, river deltas
My size 83-AAA shoes sticking straight up
Push aside brush
Hear familiar noise in distance
Dogs barking, kids laughing

Then the music!
Hand drums, hollowed out logs
Hourglass shape, crocodile skins
Slit gong drums, clay whistles
Coconut shells, voices of spirits
Bamboo flutes decorated with hair, feathers, shells
Bullroarers

People of the village
Start dancing, pull me to my feet
Sing sings
Children rush to my side
Teach me their dances
I perform magic tricks
Sleights of hand with rocks
Show them my own dance moves
As I count out the steps:

A one and a two
An old tennis shoe!

 

 

THE FACELESS
                       For Elisabeth Frost

Another woman has come forward
Claiming she’s the nurse, iconic photo,
V-J Day in Times Square
Frenzied August afternoon
Strangers hugging and smooching
Delirious celebration
A man in navy uniform
White sailor’s hat
Kisses her as she lifts right foot
Faces largely obscured

My mother told me of the day
Had just gotten off shift
Doctor’s Hospital
She and a friend
Subway to Times Square
The war was over
Where else does
A New Yorker go
Past Hector’s Cafeteria
Window shines – cheesecake and cream puffs
45th and Broadway
Grabbed
By overjoyed American sailor

My daughter, 17, loves MMO’s
Massive Multiplayer Online
Her thing when she’s not texting
Has good friends from them
Doesn’t know who they really are
Honey, don’t give your real name
Dad, you’re a worry wart
They’re straight edge
They’re cool
One of them always contacts her
Not sure he’s even a kid
Online identity:
Kanji symbol, vertical characters – Akuma – Demon

My daughter’s playing a game now
Alternate Reality Galactagon
Times Square – Toshiba jumbotrons
Samsung, under ball drop
Dad, look it’s Grandma
Celebration after inter-galaxy war
Two aliens, black helmets, fins for hands,
Bent down – same kiss

The photographer, Eisenstaedt, never knew
Who the two people were
No time for names
Saw a sailor running along the street
Grabbing every female, kissing them
Young girls, old ladies
Then he noticed
The nurse
Just as he had hoped
Sailor came along, embraced her
Bent
Down to kiss

Over the years dozens have said
They’re the sailor
A retired NYC police officer
Plantation, Florida
On leave, USS The Sullivans
Watching movie with a date, RadioCity
Doors swung open
People screaming
War was over
Partying in the streets
Had quite a few
Considered her one of the troops
Polygraph test, matching scars, tattoo of golden dragon

Then there’s the man from Newport
Came out of the subway
Celebrations
Excited his brother
Held by the Japanese, prisoner of war
Hollering, jumping up and down
The nurse
Saw him, opened her arms
Forensic artist:
Compares Eisenstaedt photo,
Current day photos of man
Ears, facial bones,
Hairline, knuckles and hand
It’s him

My daughter calls me hysterical, from a Starbucks
He found me Dad
Who?
The Demon
Chatting website
Don’t need to give information
Or sign in
Gave her name, put a link, the chat
Facebook profile
He knows who I am 
Keeps texting her
He’s coming over
I’m sure he’s not really nearby
My daughter, long black hair, dragon earrings
Sitting with her laptop, back table, hiding her face
Honey, get offline, turn off your phone
I’ll be right there  

Last summer, my mother, Grand Marshall, July 4th parade
Unveiled a computer designed life bronze statue
Larger version aluminum and Styrofoam
My mother, white hair, wearing nurse’s uniform, tennis sneakers
TV interview:
Retired kindergarten teacher, 30 years,
Recognized herself in the photo but kept quiet
Didn’t think it was dignified but times have changed
27 at the time
Hope, love, peace, tomorrow
She loves connecting with the veterans
Poses with two men claiming to be sailor
One of them, with a cane, shows off arm – golden dragon
He takes her in his arms, bends down, almost stumbles
The kiss
Everyone snapping pictures
My daughter –
Laughing, clicking them off, cell phone
Later, my daughter
Tells me she heard him mutter
Peaches, I know it ain’t you
Can’t be

 

 

Matt Bialer‘s poems have appeared in Green Mountains Review, Le Zaporogue, Catch Up, Gobbet, Forklift Ohio, H_NGM_N and many others.  He has three poetry collections in print:  RADIUS (Les Editiones du Zaporogue), ALREADY HERE (Black Coffee Press) and ARK (Black Coffee Press).  Two chapbooks entitled THE BLOOP and BLACK POWDER are forthcoming from Black Coffee Press as well as a poetry collection entitled TELL THEM WHAT I SAW from PS Publishing in 2012.   In addition, Matt does black and white street photography and has work in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of the City of New York and The New York Public Library.   Les Portfolios du Zaporogue published a book of his photographs entitled MORE THAN YOU KNOW.  Finally, Matt is an accomplished watercolor landscape painter with work in some prominent painting books and a book has of his paintings has just been published by Les Portfolios du Zaporogue entitled SHADOWBROOK.

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About gobbet

gobbet is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the very best experimental poetry and prose. Intellectual perversity and explorations of dark themes are positively encouraged. We are only interested in work that is progressively experimental. We want to see risks, and we want to see them pay. No previously published work. Prose should not be longer than 1000 words. There are always exceptions. Send 3-5 poems. Include a short bio. Send submissions to gobbetmag@hotmail.co.uk Work will be published every 5-10 days. We also intend to publish anthologies of selected work published in gobbet. We will do our best to reply promptly. Most submissions will receive a decision within a month.
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