At The Circus



 I pick my seat and see the elephants,

it smells like fresh, buttered, popcorn.

I hear the music tune like

da-na na na na-daaaa!

I feel soft, bushy, seats to sit on.


I am a lion and I got rolled on the stage

and something goes wrong!

A mouse was walking along, and then

I started chasing the mouse, and I jump

through a hula-hoop to keep on track

with the mouse, and I landed in a pool,

which Wasn’t supposed to happen.


I was sitting and called up to volunteer.

“Just walk along on the thousand inches high rope!”

said the circus guy. He put me up there

and I threatened I was going to jump,

but a lion had his mouth open to chomp me.

So,  I didn’t jump. I fell.

Luckily, I landed in a pool. “Phew,” I said.

“You were terrific!” my friends said.

I just stared.





I am smelling popcorn. I am tasting hot dogs.

I am drinking soda. I am excited about the people

that go in the huge ball and go in it.

I like when the people do tricks.

I like when the people have to grab a stick

with two strings to pick them up.


I am so scared

and bored of the songs

and that crack

of popcorn

over and over.





In the circus I am seeing clowns and mimes.

In the circus I am smelling cotton canday, hot dogs,

ice cream, popcorn.

In the circus I am hearing animals, trumpets, cheering.

In the circus I am feeling the soft seats,

my hand in the popcorn.


In a cage I am a lion

and I am supposed to do tricks but instead

out of the cage I escape

and go inside an airplane

and go to the jungle

so I can be in my home

and say bi! to my family.





In the circus

I am seeing jugglers juggling pinball’s

and clowns doing funny things.

In the circus

I am tasting cotton candy

and popcorn and snowy snow cones.

In the circus

I am hearing lions roar

and clowns laughing and monkeys crying.

I am feeling the wind blow on the tent.





At the circus

when I’m walking, looking for a seat,

I see elephants and clowns.

At the circus

I feel the soft chairs.

At the circus

I eat ice cream.

At the circus

I see people jumping through a ring of fire.

At the circus

I see clowns slapping each other with a chicken.


I am a lion

and when my lion tamer opens the cage

I start doing tricks,

but when I did the ring of fire

I burned myself.


When my owner opens the door

of his house, I am a flying monkey.

I escape by scratching him in the face

and fly in the air outside and say oooh ahhh ahhh!





I see tigers jumping through hoops

they are orange. They roar. They sit.


I am a lion.

They open the cage

and I come out!

I am very sleepy so I yawn.

The people say, He is about to roar!

In my hede I say What do you mean?

I am just only yawning.





At the circus

I am smelling a latrine

and I hear monkeys and

I’m feeling popcorn on my head.


I am a lion

and the lion tamer opens the cage

and when I come out I hear

one person yelling Boo! Boo!

And then all the people do it

and I feel pizza on me.

and I send the man who started it.

I send him running to his death

with me chasing him and shooting

laser eyes and I could fly

and I went BARK at the lion tamer

and then ate him

because I was hungry

and mad at him.





At the circus

I see Luke, owls parints, bears, lion,

worfs, bunnys and elphants and monkeys

and cats.

I am eating a hot dog, snow cone, ice cream & sprite.

I hear meow, ooh ooh ahh ahh, eeee eeee, polly wants a cracker.


The lion in the circus

which was me

flew away into the sky

and never came back.





At the circus

I see the blue sky.

I am walking into the big tent.

And I see elephants and horses everywhere

and a DJ playing music.


When the lion tamer opens the door

the lion pops out, does a summer salt,

2 flips into the pool, and jumps

into the ring of fire,

then into the pool again.




At the circus

I’m smelling elephant poo.

It smells weird.

I’m hearing cannonballs blowing.

I’m looking at dirtbikes riding through rings of fire.

The foods are popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs, snowcones.

The band is an accordian band.


I’m a lion at the circus

and I see pizza

and it looks really good

so I eat it

then I do my tricks.





At the circus

I hear Ha Ha Ha

from people laughing.

I taste hot dogs.

I feel a bun.

I smell popcorn.

I see a elephant in a tu-tu.


I am a lion.

When my tamer opens my cage

the thing that happens is

I suddenly think if I mess up

I will be laughed at,

or worse, killed.

What kind of idea is jumping

through a ring of fire?

So I ran out of that place

but took a hot dog.





As I walk in the circus

I’m seeing clowns juggling,

a seal holding a ball on it’s nose.

As I walk in the circus

I’m smelling popcorn, hot dogs.

As I walk in the circus

I’m hearing laughing, happyness, and cages.


As I walk in the big tent as a lion

I’m seeing crowds cheering,

a big ring on fire

and I’ve got to jump threw it.

I also am seeing trainers saying,

“Jump threw, lion!”



When I am at the circus

I see akrobats

and an elephant pooping

and I smell popcorn

and I am supposed to eat it.





At the circus

I see lions in a cage.

A lion rolls out in his cage,

someone pets it

and they get bitten.




At the circus

I see animals and clowns.

A clown is juggling.


A person opens the cage

and I walked out and ate meat

and pizza

and then they rolled me away.





I hear popcorn popping.

I see a elephant flipping.

I feel a fang from a tiger.

I taste pizza and cheese.

I smell zebra poo,

but someone threw a peanut.





At the fair

I see rides

and I go to the rides

and I just want to get on the rides

and I see people eating

and I like the cotton candy,

it is very, very good.

I go with my family.

I see people talking.

I love you Luke.




About deniselanier

I am an educator & advocate, poet & performer, speaker & storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to transform & transport, create & connect. I was the shy, awkward girl who didn’t fit in, was often bullied, happiest with my nose in books, whose best friend was my dog. After being cast in a play in my teens I discovered a way to be comfortable in my own skin, bringing to life the words of a character. Costumed in make-believe I dared to be more of myself than I ever allowed off-stage; I claimed my voice. I spent most of my adult life teaching others to raise their own voices, through acting, creative writing, even slam poetry. When the diagnosis of MS intervened in my 30s I had to let go of acting, which is why most of my storytelling is now expressed through page and less “formal” interactions with stages. I devote much of my time to kids, teaching them to use words & imagination, developing authentic, resilient, remarkable voices. I endeavor to grow in my students the belief, the truth, that we are all artists & the change-makers in our own stories. My best friend still has fur & four legs. My mobility assistance dog is my constant companion, teaching assistant & muse to many. Luke is also chief partner in crime; I’m getting a reputation for stealing things. As inventor of a poetic form called klepto-collaborative, I pickpocket words & phrases from others, reshuffling & reshaping the puzzle-pieces into a colorful, storied mosaic of diverse voices. Taking something from every speaker at a conference in real-time, I craft a collective poem that highlights the messages of the day, repurposing ideas & refashioning stories, weaving them together in a manner that never loses the originality & spirit of the speakers’ themes. So while I may be a word thief, I figure being eco-conscious makes up for it. I’m available to facilitate wordy goodness in your community, school, workplace or play space. I like to think I have way of transforming annual meetings into something interactive, cooperative & memorable. Through my klepto-collaborative poems I aim to delight, to ignite conversation, and maybe even incite innovation. I earned an MFA from Florida International University, where I edited Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. I’m the founder of WordPlay, a poetry-in-the-schools project inspired by Dave Eggers. My poetry has appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Cake, Luna, Best American Poetry blog (a collaborative poem with the phenomenal Denise Duhamel), Wicked Good Life, and various anthologies. My non-fiction has appeared in the Miami Herald and my fiction has been nominated for Best New American Voices. &

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