Carnival in Purgatory

Baby here we stand again, like we’ve been so many times before. Even though you looked so sure; as I was watching you; walking out my door. But you always walk back in like you did today; acting like you never even; went away.” “Here Come Those Tears Again.” – Jackson Browne

I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I went to the poetry reading. The roads snaked like a river, a main cable that plugged right into her. I knew as I hit the door it wouldn’t be anything. These academy kids had all the juice squeezed out of them years ago. In another ten years they’d be looking out office windows in high rise buildings on some Market street wondering why their lives were so meaningless.

The room was full of zombies, walking dead, fake people who never stared into a wound in their lives. They hid it, ran home and Mommy put a bandage on it. They would never find out who they were. Lonely, troubled, anxious women surveyed the room for their next victim.

The poets read, barely audible, terrified, like the words were precious, frail and fragile. The future chief of police shushed the crowd. It’s was pure Valium, plain oatmeal, no one laughed, no one cried, no one kissed, no fights broke out and no one bled, not even the poets. Burroughs, Bukowski, Kerouac and Ginsburg somewhere on the ethereal plain bent over retching, leaking blood from their eyes. I knew if they could hear such pabulum they’d never stop throwing up. It smelled like slow death in there; malaria, nightmares. I had to bounce.

I could feel her pulsating torment all the way up the stairs. I made my way to where the vibrations emanating. The room had those suicide windows. Shit man, somebody turn down the lights and put on some make out music. She was the only thing there that was alive. She buzzed all sadness and lonely eyes begging for relief. I headed for the door.

The cool night air slapped me awake. I started the engine and gave it some gas. I was covered in a patina of regret. I headed for the Bay where the fog cleansed me. By now Cassie was cleaning the spoons and closing the lights. A June bug flew from the warmth it once knew. I measured the distance between our hearts and caught the last train for the coast. #love # passion #poets #carnival #purgatory


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

5 Responses to Carnival in Purgatory

  1. Roy says:


    U didn’t respond to my last emails. You should date your stories so we can have a context like 1960s or such.

    It’s cold here in 20s and 30s and almost no heat at Paulies house Vallejo


    Sent from my iPhone


    • Sorry; what’d I miss? I wrote that piece in Oakland. Lohrmann was with me that night. i took him to the event. The chick; Casandra, turned out to be batty. She told me “my last boyfriend raped me in my sleep.” I boogied; rule one; a women mentions the word rape and I vaporize.

  2. James Mcfarland says:

    Stark reality. Read 3 times to absorb. Life is a cabaret, my friend.

    • Thanks Pal.

  3. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

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