Summer: the bright lights of the midway, the rides, exciting summer evening...or is it?
Crawl with me back
behind the the Midway glare of lights
so bright they blind you to the inevitable.
Slink into the shadows
where the carnies laugh at the marks;
the sound of their mirth
decomposing at the edges of their mouths,
falling to the ground to slither away
in the darkness.
Sneak behind the glowing banners
where the peeling paint is stained
with a thousand yesterdays
and there is no happy ending
or smiling child with over-sized toy.
See? There beyond the glow of the calliope
sleeps a girl, thumb in tear stained mouth,
curled into herself in the hay. Momma's busy
where the organ sound drowns out other noises.
And there, where the fat lady hangs her garments
to dry in starlight, she watches the townies stroll
and wishes she had a different role to play.
Behind the warped boards of the spinning wheels
the boy strains to hear coded words
to know which lever to press, unless
he sees the shiny toes and knows
to vanish into the night.
Walk the Midway with me now--
the cotton candy spun dreams melting;
the grainy taste no longer sweet.
The bolt is loose on the tilt-a-whirl but
it is late and tear down starts when the last rider
bolts for home. Magic and fantasy
are folded into boxes, packed away like
disjointed clowns in an undersized car
until the next day, the next town,
the next nameless place
and all the dreams are spun once again
for the believing, the foolish and the blind.