Step Right Up by Jim Senetto

midget elephant trainer 1920's

Step Right Up

I have seen midgets dance on Elephant backs
and clowns sweat off that semi-permanent red smile
as they tossed confetti water from galvanized buckets
and at the end of the ‘step right up day’ we all dug deep
into our whiskey carnival ride wondering how life became
stuffed into a single wide fifty foot trailer to Neverland.

Long before the ticket buyers and curious kids,
a crew swung sledge hammers and hoisted big tents to upright
as pancake powder whitened unshaven faces and the stuffed dolls were set up for a soft ball toss folks could never win or just maybe a half dead goldfish would go home if the bell was rung with a mighty daddy swing.

So Ringling Bros. was brought to suburbia in summer heat, tradition
right there in empty parking lots and at the end of it all, the crew
would dismantle the fun-house on wheels and half eaten corn on the cob
was kicked to the side of the road as squirrels watched and waited
to feast on carnival leftovers, as the packed tents road off
to the next town.

blackpooljimmyAPJim Senetto about Jim Senetto

My father was quiet; loving, provider but quiet…I never knew a grandfather, his side, or his brother lost at 28 and I was told not to ask. So quiet I was…me, the quiet one, second echelon in a group of friends…quiet in the confessional booth I was brought to…why tell a stranger, in a dark booth sitting behind mesh, my woes, thinking it just might be his woes were worse than mine (I’ve later learned, some in collars should have sat on the other side of that mesh window, confessing). I was drafted in ’66, taught how to kill strangers and my mouth began to question why and with some friends now dead from bullets of insanity, I became alive, vowing never to be as quiet as my father. He had his reasons, I’m sure, old school and all of that, but I had to break the chain. Art, photography, music, poetry is my voice and it’s all fair game…say it loud, some will listen and that is good enough for me.

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