And It’s Oh! That Strawberry Roan

[An old cowboy song, with some verses added (heh heh)]

I heard that the circus had come into town,
So I thought I’d go down and have a look around.
I tucked in the kids and I turned out the lights,
Told my wife not to wait up, I’d be home late that night.
“Come in! come in!” cried the barker to me,
“For stupendous bad taste in the highest degree!
“A thousand things here, that you’ve never seen,
“Guaranteed or your money back to give you bad dreams!”

I ignored the frail gypsy who coughed in my ear
And sidestepped the siamese twins who were joined at the rear,
Headed for the Big Show in Ring Number One,
Where the Ringmaster picked at his nose with his thumb.
Madame Glansky got up and she cleared out her throat.
She took a deep breath, fiddled underneath her coat,
Sang the Star-Spangled Banner forever it seemed.
Then she stepped in an elephant’s pie and she bugged out her eyes
And she cussed and blasphemed.

“I paid to see action!” I yelled, and a snake
Bit Bigfoot the Clown and he fell on a stake.
The dogs licked his blood as he squirmed on the floor.
The audience loved it and yelled out for more.
Then they all hooted when the garbage truck came
And shovelled up Bigfoot and the snake all the same.
“Hold your peace!” said the Ringmaster waving his hand.
“If you want some more action, here’s Sam Beau LeGrand.”

“With his whip he can master the man-eating beast.
“At the croon of his voice, savage instincts de-seest.”
Sam stepped in the cage, gallantly cracked out his whip.
But Leo looked bored and he curled back his lip.
To the lion Sam reached out a slow-circling hand,
Crooning softly, when Leo reared back on his stand.
Then Sam tripped on his whip and he fell on his face.
Machine guns were loaded as Leo exploded.
The bullets were flying; the blood sprayed like lightning
From their touching embrace.

And it’s hard to close the circle
As the great spotlights grow dim.
The poison’s in the bloodstream,
Paralyzing every limb.

The garbage men covered them up with a flag,
Shovelled Sam and Leo into a big plastic bag.
“For a change of pace,” the Ringmaster said, “see
“The Sailing Sylvesters over Ring Number Three!”
John and Julie Sylvester climbed to the high wire.
Every muscle and organ was rippling like fire.
They unfurled their sails and they danced on the line.
Like gulls o’er the ocean they soared and declined.
“And now! their climactic, never publicly performed
“Finale to their act!” the Ringmaster intoned.
They unzipped their tights, hurled their sails down below.
With bodies on fire, they coupled on the wire without a net below.

And it’s hard to close the circle
As the great spotlight grows dim.
The poison’s in the bloodstream,
Paralyzing every limb.

I was beginning to think there’s something strange happening here.
So I yelled at the clown who was hawking the beer.
He said, “Ninety cents plus five percent tax,
“Not to mention my tip and insurance contracts.”
Then the wind shook the tent and the center pole swayed.
The applause was deafening as the Ringmaster prayed.
The Fire Eater dropped his brands with a flair.
The blaze spread like lightning: I escaped by a hair.

The people laid bets on the tents that remained,
Cheering madly as each one exploded in flames.
I finished my beer and was heading for my bed,
When Goliath picked me up and he shook me and said,
“There’s a party going on at the Bearded Lady’s place.
“Bring your pills and your booze, but get rid of that face!”
The trailer was rocking in the hot sticky air.
All the gang from the circus and the sideshow was there.
I said, “Where’s the action?” and the Bearded Lady smiled
And pointed with her thumb to a clicking turnstile.
I dropped in a quarter and went through the gate,
When Bigfoot had a seizure and said, “Now that he’s here,
“Let’s all celebrate!”

“Celebrate what!” I said, “life or death?”
The Fire Eater lit my cigar with his breath.
And Sam Beau LeGrand, now risen from the dead,
Passed a joint to the Ringmaster strung out on the bed.
Quivering bodies were scattered like lice on the floor.
So I headed for the back room and opened the door.
The room was dark and heavy with drug,
With the Sylvesters still sailing on a lion-skin rug.

And it’s hard to close that circle
As the great spotlight grows dim.
The poison’s in the bloodstream,
Paralyzing every limb.

I said, “What the hell!” and I pulled off my tie,
Sucked a pipe, sniffed a spoon, squeezed a bosom and a thigh.
“There’s a moral to this story, but I don’t know what!”
“Don’t you fret now,” she said now, as the bathroom door shut.
I slept with Madame Glansky (the one with the throat).
But she left in the night with my sixty-buck raincoat,
All my credit cards, money, my keys, and my luck.
So I hitchhiked a ride home in a Peterbilt truck.

My wife was a shambles when I got home.
She said, “Where’ve you been? You know I woke up alone.”
“So did I! So did I!” And I headed for the john,
Was immediately confronted by my daughter and my son.
“Did you have a good time?” they all snarled at me.
“What’d you see at the circus till six-forty-three?”
“Nothing much out of usual; you didn’t miss a thing.
“The calliope had asthma and bathos was king.
“The p.a. was lousy and the lighting was dim.
“Even the clowns, wearing sack cloth and ashes, looked grim.
“Had my palm read by a gypsy
“Who must’ve been gay.
“Call my office,
“Tell them I won’t be
“Working today.”

And it’s hard to close that circle
As the great spotlight grows dim.
The poison’s in the bloodstream,
Paralyzing every limb.

I was hangin’ ’round town, just a-wastin’ my time,
Fresh out of a job and not makin’ a dime,
When a feller steps up an’ he says “I suppose
“Thet yer a bronc buster by the looks of yer clothes.”
“You figgered me right, an’ I’m a good one,” I claim.
“Do you happen t’ have any bad ones t’ tame?”
He said, “I’ve got one that’s a bad one t’ buck.
At throwin’ bronc riders he’s had lots of luck.”

And it’s oh! that strawberry roan.
Oh! that strawberry roan.
The feller that rides him is sher t’ get thrown.
Oh! that strawberry roan.