Circus Tender cover

Circus Tender

Joe Wenderoth

Copyright © 2012 Joe Wenderoth. All rights reserved.


there‘s nothing here—
     come in
a length of time is incredible

Assembling Your Clown

Notice first that your clown is made up almost entirely
of ligaments, cartilage, bursae, minisci.
Technically, a clown has only one bone—
the forehead—
and that is where your assembly must begin.
Put the forehead in place—
which is to say—
place the forehead on your kitchen table.
Feel the sadness of the clown's bowed head,
its willful eyeless despair.
The rest of the clown will come together easily
after that—it is the sadness
that puts him all together.
As he begins to take shape, you might notice
that he is clinging desperately to the kitchen table.
This is absolutely normal.
Indeed, if it is not difficult to remove your clown
from the table on which it has been assembled,
you have probably done something wrong.
Probably a clown like that is going to disappoint someone.

Nammered in the Glamulal

"….for there is no reason why some events that have actually happened should not conform to the law of the probable and possible…."

—Part IX. The Poetics, Aristotle

A young woman
of Asian descent
wearing a pastel floppy hat
and big sunglasses,
very upright
on a sort of Mary Poppins bike,
a big flowery basket
between the handle-bars.
I'm like: okay God—
you want to do this thing—fine—

Like Grandfather, for Instance, or Like, a Possum Living in Your Backyard

At first you treat him as a nobility—
a miraculous figure
with no real office.
Then he dies.
Then you see what's written on his hard drive.
So many unforgivable things.
You miss him.

Plan Ahead

retirement is the sport
for which your parents
those many times made love
in the profound secrecy
of a room
in a house
—are you prepared?

Crisis in Historicity

I let the birds out of their cage
(let them sit on top of their cage, at least)
because everything is free tonite.
Everything is free.
God's love.
An elephant.
A baby dinosaur.

Manufacturing Consent

some things are expected of me
all syllabi must be sent to Secretary X
for instance
by such and such a date
and sometimes I forget to send
and I am gently reminded
and still—let's say—I do not send
then maybe there is one last request
and even then maybe I am too busy….
—well, there is a point where they give up
—a point where they consent to live on
with an imperfect archive
maybe we shouldn't talk about it

Evening Without News

"The work of Herodotus might be put into verse, and it would still be a species of history, with meter no less than without it. The true difference is that one relates what has happened, the other what may happen."

—Part IX. The Poetics, Aristotle

….the wolverine orchestra emerges
….the golden ceiling blackens

Hummingbird Feeder

it is a trap for what you have seen before
but never noticed
a trap
(never mind this poem)
    a festive artifact
to which something
is made
to come
and barely rest
    a functional feeder of tiny brains
a trap
you have
so rarely
to fill

Apology for My Outburst in Workshop

It's just that the market
for soul-less, clever poetry
is so small,
and its producers' heads
so large
in comparison….
It's disturbing, really—
  the disparity in the markets.
Sometimes my privilege is inescapable.

Trouble Is

I recently came into a complete understanding of everything. I was like: oh. I see. Trouble is: having a complete understanding of everything undermines one's potential dramatic arc. That is: I don't really give a fuck anymore. The narratives I occupy myself with and care about are absolutely foreign to the narratives presumed conceivable by the society I'm lodged in. They are obscene, in fact, to the society I'm lodged in. At no point do the two overlap or intersect. Thus, I no longer fear in the same way as those around me. I no longer speak in order to be understood. I no longer have the same fear-set. I fear more, mind you, and in more disabling ways, perhaps, but I do not fear the same things. Nor is my fear apparent to others. It is useless, I expect, even to describe it. Nor can I imagine the situation in which it would be useful for someone to understand. Fortunately: I don't speak in order to be understood by distant strangers. I've accepted the fact that my legend will fade and be forgotten. That I will never be heard. Have you?

Joe Wenderoth

Joe Wenderoth is a writer and an opponent of The Holy Spirit. He desperately needs money—could someone please send money?