About the Poem
Society can be cruel. What "society" will accept is nominally judged by the masses and already accepted as "normal" by the masses. But what of those who are different? This poem is about the "Freak Shows" that used to travel the United States in the 1920's and 30's. The characters mentioned are real people that society labeled "freaks" for being different, a practice that still goes on way too much today.
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Carnival Of Guilt
|by Michael Anderson|
I was greeted well enough at the door,
Giving my ticket to the clown.
I saw attractions by the score,
Still, none seemed to slow me down.
I heard laughter all around me,
Yet, I felt a silent jeer.
No, it didn't take me long to see-
I was not welcome here.
Heads were turning, eyes were burning,
Suddenly, all laughs were gone.
Only silent glares and my stomach, churning
In repulsed fear, pushed me on.
I walked faster, yet so did they,
What this horde wanted, I did not know.
Running to the nearest door on my way,
I found myself at "The Freak Show".
Sneaking backstage, in hopes to hide,
I saw a two- headed man in a fight-
Against himself, each head taking a side,
And neither side was right.
Both looked at me, without words being said,
Each pointing their given hand to a door.
Smiling, as if somehow my thoughts they read,
They knew what I was here for.
Walking inside, with what I saw-
Thought, defunct, my human eyes.
Though inside I was struck with awe,
I tried not to show surprise.
A four legged woman walking-
With a man who had no legs at all,
Living, loving, laughing and talking-
As if he stood ten feet tall.
A bearded lady singing, soft in tone-
To a man with two noses.
A man so skinny he looked to lack bone-
In the mirror, practicing poses.
I stood, amazed, at the shapes he took,
As my misdirected thoughts ran.
It seemed he could make himself to look-
Like anything but a "normal" man.
As if sensing my questioning mind,
A boy approached, beginning to speak.
Saying, "Stay, safely, here awhile, you will find-
The answers that you seek."
I looked down, seeing each arm without hand,
But pinchers like a lobster, instead.
He said, "There's things the world won't understand-
That can be grasped, here, full- fled. "
He gestured to a snake-skinned man-
And said, "Beauty, truly is in the eye.
Viewed by the world, a charlatan,
Won't you give the magic mirror a try. "
So I stepped over and took my view,
Beheld a man without a face.
It was suddenly so clear, I knew-
I had finally found my place.
And every night people stop just to stare,
And maybe we raise their self-esteem.
Some pity us, thinking it's not fair-
Some think we're just here to scheme.
But I recall the other side, I know-
What leads you to jeer and jilt.
And what you see as "The Freak Show"-
Is just your carnival of guilt.