I’m a carnival barker in a bright red hat
who can break you down in nothing flat,
I’ll pull you in and give you what you want.
I’m smoothe, I’m harsh, I know the dance,
and I can match this pale romance
with images that leave your body taut.
I’m a tight rope walker in a tailored suit,
a blond haired beauty who will bend the truth
in ways that bring your family to tears.
I take shapes that keep you up at night
while spinning wildly with delight-
they must reflect your meanest, darkest fears.
I’m your priest, your pappa, and your pimp.
I jeer with pleasure at your pitiful limp.
I know your soul and say just what you think.
I read the leaves, I keep the score
and see deep down you thirst for more
than your meager life has given you to drink.
So, come on folks the water’s fine.
I have new smart phones and cheap red wine
that call your hidden wishes and desires.
Let me do what I want with all those Others
for they are not your sisters or your mothers-
just ready targets for the usual liars.
Now hold your breath and dive right in,
I’m your school yard bully and your new best friend
through all the twisted hallways of this chase.
You may be angry, you may be scared,
you may lose yourself but you don’t care-
because I am your hidden, other face.
I’m the midnight shadow on your bedroom wall,
and I know that you will take the fall
when times get worse and your little world is sinking.
I’ve rigged the game and stacked the cards
and now your life is jagged shards
of what was grand, come on, what were you thinking?
I hear a funeral bell, can you hear it? Something’s stinking.
by Doug Jennette
Nov, 2016 With appreciation and apology to Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)