I hold my head up, barely-
with parades in it, it’s heavy.
I look at the world and know
that they’re all looking at me.
I have to be or there wouldn’t
be such a beautiful fucking parade,
At least today they’re looking.
They can’t really ignore the music
and the sweat, and the skin and the feathers.
Some bring their kids,
I automatically make way for strollers.
I notice lots of dogs, some very fancy.
I get tangled, briefly, in a sparkly leash
when a bulldog in a tutu
takes a turn for a terrier.
There are beautiful, beautiful people.
Beauty, I know, a distraction from pain.
Smile, it’s your day!
They smile, on cue-
they really want to mean it.
There are old people- at least fortysomething.
It’s funny, they smile anyway.
Some stand back,
not really there, but they have to be.
And some, I know, are quietly holding
a heavy excuse to beat me with
(they practice on themselves, like I did).
But not today,
Is blue the sky, or the other way round?
Today, it doesn’t matter.
My eyes are clear
my back is straight,
my neck getting stronger
with every passing feathery float.
~ D Gregory Smith