Dave Cullern

The Torture King

When I was young,
But not that young,
I wanted to run away
With the circus
Of course
But my skill set
Lent itself only
To banging in the pegs

I could have been a geek
I guess
But I’ve never liked
The taste of snakes
And I can only get so drunk
Before I vomit up
The reservations of sobriety

I read a book
About eating glass,
Dreamed of getting on
That ferris wheel truck
I saw from my parents car window
On motorway drives
To safe holiday villages

I lay on spiked beds
For my school friends
But my sinuses
Never accepted masonry nails
And juggling anything other than my balls
Was always going to be perilous
And end in bloody sheets

So I stayed home,
Read long books
About freaks
And carnies
And wrestlers and crime,
Dark shit
Of course

But I always wished
I’d learnt to fall,
Practised up a funny walk,
Picked up tips on
Taking a custard pie to the face
Like the clown
I always longed to be.

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