Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Lady With The Two Penguin Feet

I get to see her
Most every day
On the way to work
The lady with
The two penguin feet
And I can’t help but
Feel sorry for her
Every time that
We cross paths

She has a medical condition
That causes her feet to
Splay apart  
And that makes walking
Difficult and awkward
(And painful and slow)
And she walks
Like a penguin walks
Lurching from side to side
Like the pendulum
On a grandfather clock
Tick Tock
Tick Tock

I am a collector
Of human oddities  
A result of my
Early childhood conditioning  
Growing up in the back lots
And side streets of
Old Coney Island    
When she was
Well past her glory days
Like an aging prostitute
With her smeared lipstick and
With all of her wrinkles and
Varicose veins and
Sagging sacks of flesh
Plainly visible for all to see

Back in those days
They still had
The old boardwalk
Carnie shows called
Freak shows
Where people with
All kinds of
Physical deformities
Were put on display by
Unscrupulous con men
Who were out to make
A quick sordid saw buck
On the physical miseries of
Their fellow human beings

Outside the big tent
There were these
Huge garish overblown
Painted posters
That depicted the
Exaggerated deformed features
Of the human attractions that
Could be viewed inside the
Big tent
For a mere dollar or two
(Popcorn and cotton candy
Not included!)

Hurry, hurry, hurry!
Step right up!
Don’t be shy!
Bring the kiddies along!
It’s educational!
It’s sensational!
It’s the greatest
Show on earth!
Yelled the loud mouthed
Gaffers who were
Known as Barkers
Whose sole job was to
Snare the suckers and
The gawkers and
The onlookers and
The morbidly curious
Into shelling out
Their money to
Buy tickets
To see the human freaks
On display to satisfy      
The public's insatiable demand
For ever more egregious forms
Of exotic and erotic displays of
Human excess
All in the name of

Yessiree folks!
Step inside to see
The most amazing
The most incredible
The most shocking
Collection of human freaks
And oddities
On the entire planet!

These freaks of nature
Will amaze you!
They will astound you!
They are guaranteed to give
You fits and nightmares for
Years to come!

You there!
Yeah you!
The snot nosed
Kid in the red T shirt!
Buy one ticket
And your sister can
Get in for free!
You’ll scream!
You’ll cry!
You won’t believe
Your own eyes!

Come and see
The amazing
Elephant lady!
(Pleurisy of the legs!)
Part human
Part elephant!

Come and see
The amazing
Donkey Face Boy!
(Severe deformation
Of the jaw bone
With protruding dentition!)
Part Human
Part Donkey!

Step right up!
Step right up!

I wonder if
My lady with
The two penguin feet
Was even aware
Of the fabulous career
She could have once had
As a Coney Island
Side show freak?

Or am I just
Being nostalgic
For the good old days?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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