Circus Rag

I’m sweeping up the circus grounds whistling this tune
When you blow me a kiss in the afternoon
I’m not sure what to make of it, you’re all gussied up
I got two left shoes, I’m panting like a young pup
You say you really like to loosen that Easter bonnet
And hand me a matchbox with your address on it
If I get a little nervous, you say take a swig of rum
Look out baby here I come

The moment passes quickly, and you go away
Later in the night I’m sleeping in the hay
First I dreaming of you like a man possessed
Dancing real close in that cotton dress
Next I’m thanking the Lord like some old time preacher
When you say the real big top’s ‘neath the bleachers
When boss wakes me up, laughs “your hot dog’s off the bun!”
Look out baby here I come

If I’m wasting my time, I have no way of knowing
But that wink of the eye really got me going
Feeling pretty dazed, scratching at these fleas
I jump into the bath, dust off my dungarees
But the smell of the elephant is still in these jeans
So I sprinkle them with a little kerosene
Then slip out through a hole in the tent still stunned
But look out baby here I come

I’m knocking at the door in my gunnysack
Your mama says boy she’s around out back
You say the radio reminds you of some other guy’s letter
So come a little closer and kiss it, make it better
Your daddy says, stop! Wait a minute, son
I want to show you something; it’s a new shotgun
I take a deep breath; think he’ll shoot me if I run?
Cause look out baby here I come

We got seeds to sow, he says, weeds to pull
This summer heat feels like I’m wrapped in wool
Still I’m a little bit faster than that beat up car
So, don’t let me catch your hand in that cookie jar
I can’t deny I Like to reach in once and in while
And leave thinking, something sweeter’s more my style
Now I’ll be watching the clock until the day is done
Look out baby here I come

This life in the circus isn’t what you’d think
Behind all the applause there’s a lot that stinks
The hours are long, the work is tough
All I ever do is shovel elephant stuff
But I was raised by my granny, there’s no time to cry
Though I really couldn’t help it when she up and died
See, I’ve been living on the losing end, but I think I’ve finally won
So look out baby here I come

Back at the main tent the boss is enraged
‘Cause I’m supposed to feed the lions ‘fore he gets in the cage
The strong man’s out of water, they say he’s nearly fainted
And the tigers and zebras, their stripes need paintin’
He reads me the riot act, says I’ve had with your guff
Shaking that switch, when I had enough
I say, look over there, and take off on the run
So look out baby here I come

He tries to keep up but I lose him in a crowd
Of grown men wearing bed sheets like wedding gowns
They’re listening to some feller with a black coat on
Talking through his ass like Huey Long
He’s railing at the folks who live across the tracks
Not knowing where they come from, but wishing they’d go back
When someone says, looky here, another circus bum
Now look out baby here I come

The mayor shouts, boys it’s time to clean up this town
But the sheriff fell asleep at the Lost and Found
That dance down at the legion hall is starting soon
So I’m tapping on your window in the light of the moon
I can see through the curtains I was right to return
You’re as hot as a griddle without the cakes getting burned
And your daddy should sleep till the dawn of the sun
So look out baby here I come

I guess I should have known better to think he wouldn’t suspect
The facts of life showing up to leave his house a wreck
I got John Phillip Sousa playing in my head
Thinking if he don’t kill me, I’ll still wish I was dead
He’s got the gun pointed at me just below my waist
Shouting, I warned you before, boy, you should have made haste
the problem is, my granny raised a curious son
So look our baby here I come

Now I’m not the kind of feller likes to kiss and tell
So I mention how this county seems all shot to hell
The cows won’t moo, the bees don’t buzz
And your mama’s bread and butter just isn’t what it was
Now I guess that remark caught your daddy off guard
‘Cause it seems she’s been spreadin' his bread with lard
But everybody’s got their own idea of fun
So, look out baby, here I come

This story goes on like an uncaptained boat
Reading like a sentence Mr. Faulkner wrote
I know your daddy’s got a temper but the mob has no reason
Taking pot shots at me like it’s open season
The river is wide but I make it across
So they settle on stringing up the circus boss
While I’m drifting in and out of thoughts of you, hon
Still thinking look out baby here I come

So when this circus returns don’t be surprised
If I’m not back here looking into your eyes
Why anyone would stay in this town, pray tell
'cause The one horse done died, which explains the smell
Your daddy’s sure this year will be a bumper crop
But in New York City the market just dropped
I’m gonna make my first million in the Hollywood sun
Then look out baby, here I come


© 2004 & 2005 Steven Clotzman - all rights reserved