Ever since I saw Tod Browning’s Freaks (1931), I’ve had a sort of nightmarish fascination with that kind of sick, sideshow horror. It doesn’t help that my friend Kirk Whitham is obsessed with midgets. But it was that movie that cemented my own fascination. There’s something about those circus freaks—those giants and dwarfs, those human skeletons and fat ladies, those pinheads and frog men, those human torsos and seal girls—that speaks to the dark fragility of the human species, the potential for weird and horrific genetic quirk. And yet they’re undeniably people, just like the rest of us, with their own lives and dreams. They pursue happiness just like the rest of us. As this poem attests.

Oh, and if you’re overly sensitive to the politically incorrect, or resistant to the just-plain-insensitive-and-tacky … uh, best navigate away from this page.


Freak Night
a poem by jason bovberg

under a darkling moon
rambles the pinhead goon

on his merry way
he skips along so gay

making odd sounds in his throat
like strangled mice or an incontinent goat

for he is happy so happy
feeling romantic and sappy

the goon is heading for a rendezvous
a date with destiny or with déjà vu

he scratches his narrow pate
as he stops at the gate

the dwarf is nowhere to be seen
late for their date the midget queen

he feels sudden tears slide down his long face
and he begins irately to pace

but then—hark!—he hears her!
the high-pitched wail endears her!

she’s racing down the lane a ball of joy
calling out to him, ‘My beloved Roy!’

they embrace
their hearts race

and all is right with the world
as Penny and her garments are unfurled

let’s leave them to their midnight romp
quiet respect for their mutual and naked stomp

suffice to say a pinhead’s coned crown
can turn a squealing midget into the happiest clown