Eulogy Performed by an Ode to the Guy from Carnivàle

By Ann Stewart McBee

born in a baggage trailer torn through and
dust-chalked as a horned lizard but slick as a skink
his cacti-wrapped fiberglass face
floating up from the depths of a nineties television
after five it is safe to steal the cable
the Cowboy nation is all over the nation

name him theater fag lawn fairy
coyote schweinhund das ding ist
name him Larry Clark’s full prosthetic dick bailiwick
the lovers are alwaysalready
upside down like playing cards

January Jones’s hair
entwined around a tree entwined around
Mel Gibson’s big strong knee
the king of cups everywhere and not a drop
to drink Milwaukee’s Best

No Home Alone no sweet ass zone
too tall big feet not tall enough
simian means you look like a monkey
troubled teen with a delinquent scar on your pout
all dogs are child actors in TV movies about rape

the devil keeps us umbilical-HDMI-cabled
let’s face it dude
Indie movies just aren’t
made for slick red Seconals with cats called
Vader who wear ripe banana sweatpants

Poe’s mad not mad narrator’s fire-slit
was yellow like a latex bastard
like prickly pear flower butter
like crushed clonazepam and Cialis

your veins are yellow belly racers
the magician’s pipe, copper wool, foil and bowl
like a moebus strip made of blood clot
don’t do much good
so crawl out from under
that wolfskin and eat your meat

I forgive you for being unhinged
for memorizing lines into tissues at La Sex Shoppe
for having your monologue removed from my rectum
for sending a headshot of my sagebrush river cooter to the Spirit Awards
for falling in love with a prospector

dirt in the old west contains beef juice resin ash-dried tears and chemotherapy
you rolled in it for me tough guy you rolled in it for magic


Ann Stewart McBee was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She graduated with a PhD in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she taught undergraduate composition, creative writing, and literature. She also served as an editor for cream city review. She has published fiction and poetry in Ellipsis, Untamed Ink, So to Speak, Citron Review, Blue Earth Review, Palaver, and At Length, among others. She now teaches English at Des Moines Area Community College and lives outside Des Moines, Iowa with her husband and a smelly terrier. Her novel, Veiled Men, is looking for a home. Keep up with Ann at