Remember, the shadows are important as the light.
On the steps of The Floating Palace,
there is a man on stilts. His derby tilted downward.
Next to him, a girl spinning her black parasol. Its beaded tassels
shimmer darkly in the sun.
The two draw a crowd who also hear
a static voice calling them in. Come, bring your kids, your friends;
see the two-headed turtle, the twin-tailed fish,
the snake with dragon wings.
We hesitate, momentarily drawn
to the maze of shadows on the broad walk;
our own mingled with palm branches
and birds darting in and out, messengers
probing the degree
of mystery that lies within
those different angles. Between us ( man and wife)
less than ten percent. Between the stone and light,
the cirque du soleil shapes on the stair
and this main street, something beyond sum and science. Neither
figure casts a shadow.
Note -- Venice Beach, a Bohemian replica of the original floating city ( Venice) in Italy is an iconic tourist attraction in Southern California. It is known for its diverse set of oddities from human characters to its variety of trees. Mime artists, crafts people, jugglers and palm/tarot readers ( along with others) line the main street or broad walk during the week and on weekends. It has buildings that strive to emulate the same type of architecture found in Venice. One being The Floating Palace, which is not on a jetty like in the Italian city, but rather on a strip of wide pavement facing the ocean. Here, they have weekend "Freak shows" inviting people into to see various creatures like the ones mentioned in this poem. Venice Beach is a place that conjures up the feeling of "Surreal", a carnival like atmosphere reminiscent of figures/players found in "Cirque du Soleil" or the musical, "Pippin". One can find it beguiling and often wonders if he or she is suspended somewhere between illusion and reality.