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The Cloud Carnival of Cairo


I was looking for an escape.

Got to talking with this dockworker,

who said he knew of a place I could get away to,

he told me of The Cloud Carnival of Cairo,

where runaway animals held an eternal circus in the sky-

'in fact,' he said,

'it's that cloud right there-'


and that all sounded pretty unbelievable to me,

I said, "if it's a circus from Cairo,

what's it doing above Austin?"


and he said, "It floated here!"


and that was enough for me!

"How can I get up there?"

I asked him,


and he sold me what he told me was a giant dragonfly egg

(then promptly disappeared)

but when it hatched in my hands,

huge wings unfolded to a ten foot span.


The insect took hold of my shoulders

then we took off

up through the clouds

only to emerge above them

to sunlight streaming across a fantastic cloudscape Serengeti

where I saw intelligent elephants and gazelles in glasses

grazing on wispy white grass

and then we were zooming above a soft fluffy path,

so I struggled my shoulders and when the dragonfly let go,

I landed like a teddy bear in a toilet paper commercial-

rolling into a somersault and through a cartwheel

and a carnival archway

where the world turned cotton candy

then I saw forked flags waving from tent top towers
and then came the all ape brass band parading down the lane

playing irresistible endlessly looping circus music,

and I forgot I was human as I

took up a spare set of cymbals

and clashed crashing after them,

joined them, enchanted,

pulled, past tent flaps

and into the enormous center ring,

where we wove through spiraling concentric circles,

of colorful critters in silly circus costumes.


The outermost edge, made up of monkey mimes

trapped in a train of invisible boxcars,

chugging silently around a circle of ballerina horses on two legs in tutus,

leaping and rotating pirouettes,

as they circled a circle of seven elephant clowns on tricycles,

spraying water from fire hoses up into the air, where,

acrobatic lions and tigers and bears wearing spandex,

were swinging by their teeth from ceiling trapezes!


And floating in the focus,
in the center of it all,

was the ringmaster magician chicken,

clucking commands and proclamations to his animal disciples!


and I was below, within,
looking up, amazed!

still dancing and playing in the primate parade,

but when we reached the center,
I abandoned the band to peddle with the painted pachyderms instead,
and as we came around again for a second circle,
I realized that I finally found my place in this world,


I found The Cloud Carnival of Cairo!

I joined the Eternal Animal Circus in the sky!

It was the happiest day of my life!!!!!!!!!!!



how am I gonna get down from this cloud?


  (c) Copyright 2004, Daniel R. Strack
the real world is dull sometimes

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