A City Full of Eyes (James Cilhar)

About James Cihlar
Author’s Notes

 • Rancho Nostalgia
 • ’Til We Meet Again
 • Night Song
 • Lonely, Deeply
 • Light and Dark
 • The Face Behind the Mask
 • Johnny Guitar
 • Undercurrent
 • Nora Prentiss
King Arthur and His Mob
 • The Normal Lives of
    Good People
 • English Poem
 • The Projectionist
 • Man Proof
 • The Reality Show
 • Modern Maturity
 • Epistemology Roadshow
 • Nostalgiarama
 • Let’s All Chant
 • Rancho Nostalgia II



King Arthur and His Mob

A float of femininity, Bangles Carson rides the white upright
            through the Horseshoe Cabaret, accompanied by her trio

on a violin-shaped barge pulled by two little men in bellboy uniforms.
            I’ve got to be where I am, and do what I do.

Her odalisque back drips off the edge of the piano,
            the black sequins slide down her thighs with her hands,

light twinkles and bubbles, and the jazz pours inside us
            like Coca Cola. I’m a black sheep who’s blue.

The hoi polloi smile indulgently,
            café society laughs knowingly, and the ragamuffin

worships her up close, crabbing her act. Her float is wisdom.
            Even the Black Knight can’t help but dance. During the divorce,

my father called my mother unfit, and it was like casting a spell.
            She fell into another plane of being, a woman under water

mouthing words, gesturing with her hands for help. Bangles
            stomps through the rest of the movie in a confection of tulle,

a storm of feathers, an organdy collar off of a Pierrot costume.
            Maybe I’ll dig up a guy who’ll give and let me keep.

Sir Sorry buys a better home for Shirley Temple. Passed around
            like a sack of potatoes by the gangsters guessing her weight,

thrown from a horse at a party, she finds safety in the underworld.
            My mother’s face surfacing from sleep in the hospital.

Who knows how many lives she swam through on the other side.
            Bangles sings Shirley a lullaby. Thank your lucky stars

you’ve got a bed. You’ll grow up to find it all a racket.
            I propose as follows: You go to sleep.

  © James Cihlar, 2012


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