Sunday Poetry Series Presents: Jason Gray


CIRCUS CIRCUS


This is the trapeze a dream might make—

Precarious height from which you swing to safety

Or fall into your life, the swollen sea

Of calliope music where no driftnet lays.

Blessed to land on solid ground for once

Instead of sinking deeper into the whirlpool

Where you are phase-shifted to some Middle Europe

With its klaxon angels that scream at you to wake.

Their dissonance overwhelms, like slides

Of all your human failures stacked together.

Try forgetting, and life will send its lions

To ravage the hole you make—so wide,

It is a flaming hoop. See how they leap

Through to the past, that sewer that does not drain?

Photograph what you see to freeze the moments

And watch the way the light betrays

Its very gift by fading. Even the light can’t bear

The repeating, a scratch against the silence, the record

Never getting to where you want it to go,

But always in motion. The Big Top’s shadow stretches

Across the grass and changes every second,

Like a sundial, but you refuse to see it,

Hiding beneath your never-unmade bed.


Jason Gray is the author of Photographing Eden (Ohio UP, 2008), winner of the Hollis Summers Prize, and two chapbooks, How to Paint the Savior Dead (Kent State UP, 2007) and Adam & Eve Go to the Zoo (Dream Horse, 2003). His poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits the online journal, Unsplendid.

About Okla Elliott

I am currently an assistant professor at Misericordia University in northeast Pennsylvania. I hold a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University, and a legal studies certificate from Purdue University. My work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, The Hill, Huffington Post, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, and Subtropics, as well as being listed as a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015. My books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer’s Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a coauthored novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Bernie Sanders: The Essential Guide (nonfiction).
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One Response to Sunday Poetry Series Presents: Jason Gray

  1. Jen Town says:

    This is lovely, Jason.

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