“I wonder how much the going rate is for a hooker at the Fair?”

Garish colors out of place
for memories stuck in long-lost nostalgia.
Styrofoam displays of food
too hideous to imagine yet… there is a line
for whatever they’re deep-frying.

Men’s cowboy boots clacking
on the blacktop as they lead their animals
to the arena for a show.
Women with too-tight pants riddled
with holes placed just so. And eyebrows
too perfect in a way that belies
the rest of their grooming.
Kids playing with rocks by the midway
while carnies bark their taunts and games
with toothless grins and voice box hollers.

Strollers and jazzies roll through crowds
with an overall steady pace of cattle
on a long drive. The freak show
has been removed and instead, there
is a flea market building full of trinkets
and garbage and decade-old trends.

There are quilt makers and school projects.
Wine-makers and apiary wares.
Alpacas, country singers, tractors,
goldfish, leather punching, wood burning.
Benches tilted from the last flood.
Bathrooms from the last world war.
Incense, brisket smoking, candy flossing,
diesel, manure, cider, kettle corn.

A gyro stand I remember from high school.
The rolling diner where a group of men
have been meeting for over 50 years.
Music and intercoms with 50,000 people
talking at once. Judges with ribbons,
a quiet garden somewhere off to the side.

The largest fair in the state. A week of
caloric debauchery and sensory overload.

Nothing is going to happen in the parking lot of the Arboretum

Apples crated by the thousands
while a city bustles on two hills,
leaving a valley of quiet, empty storefronts,
and echoes of tourist feet on the commons.
Trees grow persistently wherever allowed.

Older folks cling to dime stores
that no longer exist, along with
shopkeepers who knew everyone’s name.
You can see derision, loss in their wrinkles.
They are listening for songs
that nobody remembers.

Now there are angry young men in the city
much the same as their fathers were
at the same age. But there are allowances
now for the sins that came before.
And a smorgasbord of medicines too.
Angry feminists walk with their cappuccinos
even when the sign says to wait.
Mostly, their mothers did not hold them
enough, though they would not admit it.
Holding them now would be like waiting
for a cactus to draw water in the desert.

Unhappy geniuses go where they are told
with each day being the same
beneath a changing moon.
I am not sure where we fit here, with
our hearts spilling love for each other
and a view of things decidedly romantic
amid a harsh hyper-realist palette.

I ask to be held before we go and you say
nothing is going to happen
in the parking lot at the Arboretum.

Love for the fallen

Somehow it’s fall again
and the leaves are just changing
with the array I like so much,
the rusts, the golds, the bloods, the deep
greens and browns of things just past
their prime. I don’t think I’ve had a prime
yet but if I did, it would feel the way
I feel with you every time I see you,
heart skipping like it’s the first time
(or maybe the last) but for sure something
special like the moon is special,
seen but not really noticed.
Sort of like a beautiful fall leaf
once it’s fallen, with all its colors
and a glorious backstory
that people will step over, but we know
that October brings new love
amid the harvest and the fallen.

Zen and the art of fog

the physics
of sound in fog;
a sense of muffling

today, my skin doesn’t fit
and the air is rubbing me
the wrong way

I feel a willful nonchalance
about time and direction
-a relief after chasing them so long

a settling of hums in the trees
as we forget flight awhile
and look to what makes a home

not knowing where to go
or who to be or what to do next
is a sixth dimension problem

at the end of things
-if there are endings-
we are One in the Fog

Before or later

I don’t know how we reminisce
about times we haven’t had
but it feels like we come together
at a point when what converges
is a mess of unseen wires,
colorful emotions, and a song
that sounds like a night bird
celebrating the moon.
I have little sense of where
my feet are landing lately
and no idea what tomorrow
will look like out my window.
The seasons are changing
within and without.