I am of the Circus. I introduce you to Eggplant, Elastic, and Menstrual Smell so that I may introduce you to Me, of the Thousand Female Poses, once a man and now the True Imitation. My Mother knows, at least: I am the bearded Venus squatting at the cracks in the circus Big Top. I am the beastly fat babylon riding side-saddle on our mascot the ass, irate and craggy as men and boys slobber on my blubbery legs. I am the hunched dwarf girl selling tickets for games of chance if I can get my hump to rise high enough in the morning when I get up, and it is on the front side, looking me straight in the eye, dangling from below my shriveled breasts, and I am NOT A LUMPEN CRIPPLE, a hardship, debilitation or freakish heap of meat, but a PREGNANT PREGNANT PREGNANT MOTHER OF LIVING BABY THINGS. For all you know I have fertile queens of many species in my stomach. What else could this swollen lump be? Why else would I waddle while I walk?

So I am special at the Circus. I am not just an attraction, I am a thing to do. All the circus people love me. I am a pregnant thing that still likes to get more pregnant. I like to be treated rough. I accept the needs of both mothers and fathers. I am fertile for any sort of germ that wants me to make it grow. I have many babies in me now. I have beasts with doors on their temples that open and shut, I have drunken musical voices with the hooves of goats, I have heads of blond hair swelling up with the bodies of angry winged horses. Yes, yes, yes, give me your seed or give me your egg, a thousand times yes, I have room, I can make anything belong.

We always make a game out of it. I lay down in a sawdust pit and lift my saggy hump from my trunk, official, like in a game. I can’t even see down there, what’s below, but my partners can, that’s all that matters. They see what’s there and then do what they want.

Each performance is like a meal to me.

I walk away like a glutted duck, fat, strutting lamely with my feet turned out. I point to my swollen lump and shout out I AM NOT A FREAK     I AM NOT A FAKE     I AM NOT A LITTLE PET I am special. I have treats inside of me. I have things that people want to have.

I have plans for my children, you see, visionary hopes. Who says if you’re a genius you don’t make children? I have already made poisons for them to wear to keep them from learning how to talk. I want to keep them from seeing shapes and outlines too clearly.

My mother approves but says I should have a little wife to share my joy with. So she has sent me a little girl who treats me like a man and says she doesn’t care where our children come from as long as she can watch them grow up with me.

She thought I was a woman at first and treated me rudely but when she saw how the circus people liked me and treated me so special she changed her mind. She saw how I bewildered and impressed even the most versatile freaks with my virtuoso distortions, gagging to the very mummified face of death one moment and the next moment collapsing my whole bone and neptune tendon and ligament to a hundred ball bearings made from beautiful glass marbles of rainbow colors. And there were of course the things inside my fat stomach. When she saw how far I stretched out she pointed at my nose and said like a little witch girl

“You fat and ugly thing, to me you are a forlorn beast and the most tempting thing to eat. I love you so.”

How she scares me with the love she makes me feel! Not that I need her. I made my bloated things myself, way before I ever met her. But she always acts so sure she knows all about me. When I play my tricks she turns away and sulks and tells me they are all so fake and she only wants to know how I really feel. She wants to know what I had for dinner and if I had enough sleep. All the things I don’t care about! But she rubs me and soothes me while she asks all her questions. Her fingers get so hot when she presses on the back of my head that sometimes I feel dizzy and about to throw up. But when she sees me like that, gulping and spitting yellow pulp, she knows she must cheer me up and so she pulls silver strings out of my tummy, just like a trickster like me would do to make people laugh.

She doesn’t like the circus people any more though. She says they flatter me too much, and she knows the one I really am. She says she will make me into new things I never even imagined because she prayed to the Virgin and the Virgin told her to make sure my children grew big feet and big noses. She tells me so many things about myself, things I never heard before.

This is tonight now and my Mother thinks I am at the Circus doing my quick tricks like always. She has gone into the woods to hunt crawling night things all night long so I have brought my little girl here. She is going to show me how to love like little children she says.

“Forget your tiny whiny things my little crocodile man,” she says.

“Forget your little ranch with your root babies and dolly’s blood,” she says, and I crawl with my head into the crook of her arm.

“I see buzzing little people made from pus and water with torches for eyes fidgeting in your brain,” she says.

I know she can. I know she can see through my skin.

“Shhh Shhh baby baby I need you to hold my leg with your crooked croaky teeth. Please bite me in my thigh.”

“Become my little girl, crocodile boy. Become my little girl again.” She is so brave to let me be someone else again.

“Let me take this nasty nasty business off your tummy tum. Let me see this little stretchy skin.”

I can feel her taking away my clothes and soft nylon gauze pads. I do hope I do not break out in bleeding. I hope I am sanitary for her.

Oh I feel like a wizard with hard blowy winds inside. My children have antennae and feelers that whip around when I get like this.

Will she touch me with her mouth? Will she show me her teeth? I never saw her tongue really. Maybe she knows how to lick my bones. Maybe she can cure me of my brain when it breaks off my nerve chord.

“Please please believe me my little elephant girl,” she whispers. Why is it always a girl she calls me now? Why does she act so old like an evil cat with eyes that hurt my eyes? I think she is grown up inside. I think she is not innocent enough for me.

My head is drooping over the bed and I cannot see her but I can see a baby buzzard, a tiny bird with no feathers on its neck, hopping on the floor. But not like a bird. Like a beetle or a black radish with paws. Something is wrong. Its walk is too jerky. It is darting its eyes all around like it’s scared. There are too many wrong animals around my bed. There are animals I never heard of. There are jacks-in-the-boxes with furry eyes. There are muscles of insect legs blown up too big and flopping on the floor like fishes. I put my hand to my stomach. What is happening to my own sweet lump?

The buzzard that looks like a beetle crawls to my bed and invites others. A comic figure, a comic figure, a howling head on the end of a stick floats through the air and drops poop on my face. I can’t cry. I laugh until my stomach hurts. The shadow of a stiff mouse mask leaps head first at the wall behind my head. I watch it crumple away then swell and stink and hang silently over my bed.

She is pressing me in and out of dreams. My sleep she has made like breathing, falling in and out of thick spongy metal hands. I can’t believe where I am. I am trapped and then she pulls me out. I am dangerous and then she saves a little bit of me. Dreams are jerking out of me and blowing up their stomachs like black noseless balloons and my eyes are seeing the terrible farts of animals’ eyes and torn bodies swooning and sneering above me. Grinning grinding teeth are in inside-out mouths and the skin of everything is gone except for the balloons.

The inflation of animals fills the room. I am surrounded. My stomach is growing weak and small. The twisted animals are growing bigger, stomachs are drooping off the balloons and expelling other animals.

I can see into my love’s mouth, she has opened her jaws and made her eyes disappear in the back of her throat. She pats my wounded stomach but I hate her. She is taking my animals from me and all their distorted pictures are there on her eyes in the back of her throat. I can see the animals floating there in long tunnels, dead remains rising to the top like rotten pig flesh and broken plastic skin. She frightens me because she is sneaky like the children she is making out of my animals — she is a cruel mother to them, making them change back and forth, fight, come back to life and die again, interchange parts, become sticky nonsense things like crocodiles made into tuberous roots, onions growing the faces of eagles and crowned with the blood of precious stones, ruddy pimpled faces of hogs mad from mud and almost exploding from too much gas inside.

I can’t let her make me a shiny skin with everything missing. I have my face forever, and my plastic imaginations. I have the lives of my children to make into my visions somewhere, sometime. I will. I can love as mean as she can and make fights with her body.

I take off her clothes. Her cunt smells wet, her feet liked burned balloon flesh. She has taken my animals and made them different. But I can get stuck inside her too, I can force something sticky in where she can’t reach. Desire makes me cringe because I see she wants me to do the awful thing I said. She wants me to force something sticky in. Because she has a crueller plan for me even than I guessed. She wants to make me the killer of the animals, she wants to tie me with murder to these terrible things she has turned my children into.

She pulls my stick in, she pulls me into her, because she wants me to make a gruesome violence where she cannot reach. I am afraid, I do not want to kill, for the animals now are too bulbous, like old veiny noses floating free, too ugly, I am too scared and if they die she will put them all in me.

I put my stick in hard like a sharp man cuts off his own head but SHE DIDN’T KNOW I COULD PULL IT RIGHT BACK OUT AGAIN WITHOUT LETTING ANYTHING GET INTO ME. She screams, I hear her scream like a siren stuck inside a rock. I throw myself free of her and gargle glass while she makes freak faces and goes beautiful in loose terror. I can see like she sees, all the way through her skin, and I can see the animals running up and down her spine their splattered blood mixing with hers and spurting from cunt to heart. I have broken the balloon bodies, my stick has burst her tyranny and sealed the awful bodies inside her. Hooray for my terror and hooray for the dying things! She is choking and gagging because the animals are stuck, they cannot get out, they cannot get to me any more. They are all dead. The room is clear again. The animals are all inside her.

Behind her eyes dead brains still send twitches through the nerves. Through the clog and gagged flesh I see muscles of bees’ legs flailing on the trunks of rodents, I see crocodile teeth set in the eyes of antelopes. There is no soup, only dry and stinky death. I am a man who teaches with glamorous works, I am the glad and silent mouth who truly humbles the wicked old women hiding in little girls, I am the master of all love’s terrible evil playmates. I call my Mother but she does not answer. She has sent me this lover who has tried to hurt me but in the end has sucked my bloated animals into her own self.