A Conceptual Circus
by Kenneth Jarrett Singleton
Author Reputation Press

"The beauty within a monster;
A monster within the beauty."

Poet Singleton marches forth in this collection with intuitively etheric and realistically pain-centered offerings. The title poem focuses on "the stimulation of a drug." It can't be remembered and can be dangerous: "The circus' operator can be most severe." Diseases are curiously intertwined in this occasionally disturbing overview, from lactose intolerance to ebola to Kaposi's sarcoma, and the danger of drugs, such as an analysis of the addictive qualities of prescription med "Xanax." "Try this pill… it might make you all better," the poet urges while warning that the medication is a "temporary solution" for which "there is no recovery."

Yet despite some of these dark delvings, Singleton is also quite prepared to portray certain individuals with satisfying empathy, like "Jan the Janitor": "She's accepted her destiny. The shine produced by mopping." "Freakshow Martyr" describes the harsh existence of the carnival freak show denizen who must listen to those speaking coldly about him who have no idea of his inner sensitivities.

Singleton, who has written other poetic works along with plays and books, focuses in this latest aggregation on difference, discouragement, and the great distance and distress that can so often afflict one's reality. He is never at a loss for words, some quite complex and a few invented, encompassing enjoyable rhymes. His powerful paean to "A Codependent Romance" reveals a scenario many may recognize—the frustrations and rewards of building a trusting relationship that ultimately, as he styles it, "could not have occurred in any greater form." One suspects that Singleton's works are meant to baffle and equally suggest solutions to many of life's more distressing puzzles. He creates a circus constantly in motion, inviting readers to keep their perceptions in a heightened state so that nothing essential to life's panorama will go unnoticed.

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