Idle adjuncts sneer from the selvage
of grander spectacles at amused mobs,
a glut of pampered voluptuaries
overdosing on maize, sucrose, and molasses
while ogling at the presently staged array
of idiocies and oddities on offer:
ragamuffins of questionable provenance,
preternaturally tensile contortionists,
the congenitally defective, hideous ogresses
and steroidal strongmen, enflamed jugglers,
manic clowns with inane antics, ludic dyads
engaged in raillery, potboiler routines all around.
Off-duty hours breed resentment not merely
at their contumely but at paltry wages,
meager benefits, limited opportunities
for advancement or professional development.
The tuxedoed sword-swallower, after all, aspires
to exchange his flame-retardant habiliments
for a pediatrician’s attire, while the aging midget
still yearns to transcend his habitus to learn the oboe.
Children’s smiles suffice for the nonce,
miring veteran players in type-casted roles,
and ten minutes from now they’ll appear
in their turn brimful of gusto
before salted popcorn aficionados
and discerning connoisseurs of the freakish,
dutifully delighting in time-honored fashion.
The Pattern-Seeking Animal
Strobic roundels transiting overhead
prompt reflection from earthbound gazers
striving to rationalize numinous phenomena
and perceptively detect fibrils and latencies,
everywhere present, nowhere apparent.
Sedulous intellects commit themselves
to mysteries, sifting through differentiae
to discern factors determinative or at least
implicative, desperate for some semblance
of comprehension in the face of obscurity.
However well-meaning, we remain benighted
of the cosmic pleroma, of the invisible
winches and pulleys animating our milieu
and accounting for our fleeting tenures,
restless in our collective role as marionettes.
We are condemned to exist courageously,
encumbered with the anxiety of uncertainty
and the gnawing intuition that fractional
knowledge will ever remain our condition,
will ever stir yearning minds to glean again.
Under the Lindens
It was in this very arbor, abloom with fragrant
yellowish-white flowers and heart-shaped leaves,
where once as a wide-eyed stripling
I envisioned vectors and trajectories,
charting the course of a life well-lived
in emulation of the deep-seated tree
whose roots were anchored yet outstretched
and whose boughs welcomed the welkin.
In a reverie private and fervent I enthused
over meaning and purpose, eager to muster
the better angels of my nature, enlisting
like-minded allies and forces unseen, hopeful
of being buoyed by a groundswell of goodwill.
Beneath the dulcet canopy, aspiration’s first shoots
emerged and reached towards the penetrating
light shafts of springtime, instilling within me
a spirit of possibility and the will to stake
much ardor and exertion for the sake
of principles and ideals most cherished.
Even as I slouched against trunk bark,
I felt the tree a supportive anvil upon which
earnest ambition hammered my morale,
steeling me for the myriad struggles to come
in a world less custodial and embracing
than the sylvan environs then enjoyed.
Enheartened, I rose to exceed the bounds
of the sheltering bower, vowing mutely
to surmount challenges and never succumb
to the journey’s injurious blows,
to the contusions of time and chance
betrayed in the faces of wayworn stragglers.
Mine would not be smoldering dreams;
rather, the fiery ember scaling the ether.
Onward I sauntered attuning to fate’s hoofbeats
in the distance, intuiting in time
the shared scheme of nature and human nature:
complexity clad in simplicity.
Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and has been published in 100+ publications in Canada, U.S.A., England, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Israel, India, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Trinidad, and Mexico. Visit him at www.brandonmarlon.com.