The Juggler

Give me a couple Gabriels, playing the horn with the dark edge of their soul. A hide-beater laying it down smooth. Tat. Tat. Tat. And that large fellow plucking the bass like a thousand pound daisy. Yeah, dig it down by the fountain. Drained of all wetness like Moses' playground. Me, in the middle, ready to receive the commandments. Fall by my frolic pad cause I'm about to get mean with fire, defy the laws set down by the guy struck with the apple. Me, I'd just eat one, like Sister Eve. Or rather, I'd pick four, five, six, or seven, and toss that fruitness into an asynchronous shower. Take a bite as the others orbit in space.

Ok, get off the road to dullsville and help me earn my daily bread. Gather round, dad, you're going to see the man who walked on water that wasn't there. It's the bible! All you sharp chicks, too, leave your cares uptown and take the A, express, down to West Fourth. Lights down, my man upstairs. No, up a bit. Cool. Backlit by hazy pinks. Dig it down by the fountain.

Now I've got your attention. You, you old square, don't look too close, I'll scare away that last hair. Nah, it's cool, just sit back, relax. Don't blink, though, it happens fast. And you, sweet and lovely, why you're a vision of beauty clapping. After the show. Yeah, after the show. All of you, it's time to begin.

Start with clubs and rings? Ha.

Watch me tap tap to the tune of the devil stick? Nope.

The five ball toss while I balance on the bongo board? Not tonight.

Fire, baby. Primordial. Old Prometheus got the beak in the back for this one. But we say thanks. Knowledge. The real dope. A hot shot to the heart. Torches doused in lighter fluid. That's right, sweet and lovely. Fire.

One torch. Lit. Light the next. And the next. Toss one. Pass. Another up. Three. Round and round triangle. Leaves from the sycamore spiral to the ground. Close my eyes and I see it. Three. Three. Three. And eyes open.

Launch one, high. Hold easy. Hold back. And down. Behind the back. Round again. Tease those torches. My hands could catch Jupiter if you lobbed it easy. I'm telling you it's happening. It's all happening. Trees glowing with the fire reflected in the name of universal happiness. All a place. The vortex is omnivorous.

I am the vector. Watch my speed.

The reason's in the seasons and the season is fall, days before winter. Tell me when it gets cold. Tell me. I tell you the tale of the man who bit the hand of the dog that fed him, running the run of the living in the land of the dead, done and buried before the brightest star burned out, switched off and all was darkness. Darkness. Darkness.

What? More? Encore? Yeah, I'm hip to the lingua franca. First a dime-note in the hat. A dime-note cause I have more tricks than I have sleeves and the ladies call me the octopus. The plate's going round. You're not giving to me. You're giving to him, the smiling Buddha, while we spin around on the wheel of suffering.

Oh yes. We have a winner. Thank you. Thank you. Now for your moment of joy. Not you, sweet and lovely. I'm taking your moment and stretching it eternal, Nirvana, at least until the sun comes up.

Balance on the edge of a razor and remember not to look down. Sharp. Cut. Over. You got it. Swords. Scimitars. Swashbuckling sabers. Them that slayed the dragon. Up, up, and up.

See the sharp edges spin. Oh, the demon haunted world. And higher. Oh, the dank caverns of spiritual dead ends. And higher. Oh, may the light go dim to blind us with the radiance of unvarnished being. And hurl one up till it pierces the sun, all the redness draining into the night. Watch that shining steel float...

This is it, friends, the knowledge that you seek. I'll lean over and spin around while you see the oneness of our souls. Don't worry, dad, I've done this before. Wait, sweet and lovely, why the fright? It's not like we don't have all

About the author:

Ethan Bernard lives in New York City. His work has appeared at Word Riot and Cafe' Irreal. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU.