Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Carnival dreams

Tip your nose to the scent of sugar,
your eye to the ferris wheel!
High above a tiny toy town
feel the pulse of the vertigo reel —
don't you dare look down!

The noise of the crowd will keep you afloat —
breathe in the sparkling glitter,
plastic and paint, balloons and lights,
the sweat and sweets and shouts,
crane your neck, don't miss a thing,
bump your little car down the long, dark tunnel
of this fantastic night!


"Gonna want a gun when that
one's sixteen," he says
with a nod and a leer.
Your arms about her, you hold her close
and for a moment cannot breathe
in the cigarette-smoke wreath
that wraps you three,
you two and the skinny carny.


"Step right up, see the beautiful girl,
the most beautiful girl in the world!
Come close, come close!
She's about to perform
the world's most dangerous stunt!
Look real close, folks, and you will see,
she has no restraint at all!"

You watch her spangled body arch
and turn and tumble and flash,
plummeting fearlessly through the night
into water, or a maybe it's a net,
or the dark pit of your stomach.

This is a manipulation of a stock photo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandaughter is the first girl born into our family since '59 when my little sister came along. I know this feeling already, and she's barely turning 6!


1/17/2007 1:07 PM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

I love carnivals. From the ferris wheel I can't look down from, to that pit in my stomach, that I wouldn't give up for anything. You made me feel like I was there. Well done MB!!

1/17/2007 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't remember having carnivals like that where i lived. circuses, yes, but i never learned to like these places.
but your poem evokes a feeling of excitement and anticipation so well.

1/17/2007 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one gave me chills.

1/17/2007 3:56 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Letting a teenage daughter go-- into God's hands-- is one of the big issues in life...necessary...
(mine is 18)

1/17/2007 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your poem conjures up the mood to perfection! ... ah, memories of bygone days :)

1/17/2007 7:58 PM  
Blogger floots said...

great realisation of the funfair
always with that underlying threat
as time rides on
that last line was spot on

1/17/2007 11:42 PM  
Blogger charlie said...

The sweet and sour of carnivals, of funfairs - reflecting life, of course. I used to spend hours and hours as a teenager hanging around such places when they visited my home town on their circuit. Looking back, I can't quite work out when the sour overtook the sweet as the dominant aftertaste.

1/18/2007 2:23 AM  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

I like this one alot. You get the feeling just right. Eish I was at one right now! I have always liked carnivals and carnys. Carnivals strip life down to hope and fear. And they somehow make us look at ourselves. Uncomfortable. Before you started visiting Factorytown on a regular basis I wrote a little piece about carnivals...

1/18/2007 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That’s what it is… that fine, fine duplicitous line. Oh, can’t get enough of it, can’t look away. Think I’ll listen to a little Tom Waits.

and this is a little too ironic... my word verification is inkclown

1/18/2007 7:17 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Alan, you got it. Thank you!

Pat, a thrill seeker! Thanks!

Polona, there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with these places. Thank you.

Zhoen, as I hoped it would, thank you.

Firebird, yes it is necessary, when they're old enough. You would know!

le nightowl, merci beaucoups!

Floots, thanks. There is always that undercurrent, that little thrill, which sits on an edge.

Charlie, maybe it requires a suspension of disbelief that's hard for some to maintain?

Fred, I wondered if you would like this one, just a hunch! Hope and fear are the essence of it. I'll check out your piece, thanks.

Amy, that fine, fine duplicitous line says it well! And yes, Tom Waits would be the perfect soundtrack. Inkclown?? Very good!

1/18/2007 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is something so scary about this poem, mb. The vertigo of feelings, the rising and falling. The verse where the carny speaks is almost unbearable.

1/18/2007 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a tilt-a-whirl poem!

1/18/2007 11:29 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

that last line packed a powerful punch

1/18/2007 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Belle said...

Althouph it's not easy for a french reader to feel all the sensitivity flowing out from your words, it reminds me the music of one of my favorites: Richard Brautigan. Thank you.

1/18/2007 12:46 PM  
Blogger Sky said...

oh how i remember the thrill of those days at the fair, the powerful mix of excitment and fear. great job!

1/18/2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the wild rides, the ones were fear and excitment twirl together! You peom brought that pit in the feeling back, the memories of 1970s and the hand of the boy in my lap!

1/18/2007 11:54 PM  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

As artwork, this has got that story-arc and darkness and ambiguity I like so much.

It put me in mind of those fairy tales where the monster and the shadowed forest hold the key to something important, only this story's told from the point of view of the mother of the protagonist.

And if it's a bit of filtered life, I understand wanting to barricade that child from that darkness...

Kick-a** writing and perfect pic accompaniment.

1/19/2007 4:37 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Robin Andrea, thank you. I'm glad you felt that coming through.

Pauline, thanks.

Michelle, thanks.

Belle, thanks and welcome. I think I see why you drew the comparison to Richard Brautigan in this case, though it wouldn't have occurred to me. Je vous visiterai bientot.

Sky, nice to see you! Thank you. It's always been a mix for me.

Corey, I can just picture you there! ;-)

Lori, thanks very much. Your careful reading is much appreciated!

1/19/2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has so many layers. One needs to read and re-read it. I liked it. I too love carnivals.

1/19/2007 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read so many metaphors here, the carnival for life, the woman for you and/or your daughter, the safety and danger, always ending in vulnerability.

1/19/2007 12:56 PM  

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