from "These Fair Days"

State Fair


Laura’s never been to a state fair

leastways in Oklahoma
so that’s where we’re headed. 


The fair’s in Oklahoma City
which is a city I ain’t ever sorry to see

and I ain’t ever sorry to leave. 


It’s August which spells hot
which ain’t the least unexpected.
We park in a mown and dusty field packed 


with a thousand other trucks and cars and Harleys.

We buy our tickets and join the throng
wendin’ our way to the livestock pavilions 


where we examine every last rabbit in the rabbit show

and then it’s the pigs and goats and sheep 




which can hold our attention only so long
before we head to the stables to admire the Belgians
and Percherons and cuttin’ horses and gaited horses and mules 


and talk on the finer points of jacks and jennies.
We walk slow through the cattle sheds
where Colt explains to Laura on the various breeds of cattle 


and Regina explains on the kids showin’ their steer or heifer calves

and I start explainin’ on the cultural phenomena
of girls in short-shorts and cowboy boots 


’til Regina throws me a look
and we watch a sheep pennin’ competition in the livestock arena

and every last bit of it is new to Laura 


from the poultry house to the carnies on the midway

with their chain drive wallets and tats. 



I confess that as many times as I’ve walked this fairground

I never can get a grip on just how many people

and how many kinds of people 


come out of the woodwork for such an event.
I’m half bored with the livestock
and the farm implements and the High Divin’ Mule. 


But the strands of colored lights

and the crowd
and the corn dogs 


and the frosty malts

and the country music

and the drugstore cowboys 


and the rovin’ gangs of 4-H kids

and the dirt and the grit and the heat 




and the kids gettin’ duped by the carnies
and the kids carryin’ stuffed animals they won
and the sticky cotton-candy tubes litterin’ the ground 


and the beer tent
and the gospel tent
and the hypnotist’s tent 


and the first-aid tent for the old folks sufferin’ heat stroke

and the Highway Patrol exhibit of mangled cars
and the crazy spinnin’ Tilt-A-Whirl 


and the merry-go-round
and the ubiquitous Ferris wheel
and the funhouse which runs to the macabre 


and the kiddie rides with thrilled and terrified kiddies
and the rickety roller coaster lookin’ like an accident waitin’ to happen 



are all eye candy to this country boy.

Every ride’s decked out in all its glorious splendor
and I reckon it adds up to some kinda magic make-believe land. 


At the same time it’s sad and it’s tired.

And it’s the same every year.
And just maybe the magic’s beginnin’ to lose some of its magic. 


We round out the day by sittin’ in the grandstand

listenin’ to Tim McGraw.
He puts on a fine show and no mistake 


but my mind ain’t altogether on the music.

There ain’t a breath of air to be had

and there’s too damn much flesh jigglin’ around. 


I reckon I’m tired.

It’s been a long day. 



Regina has her head on my shoulder.

Colt and Laura are the same as asleep in the back seat.

I’m seein’ images of colored lights dance before me 


and the sounds of the day are roarin’ in my ears.
The mile markers and the names of too-familiar towns flash by.

Every mile I drive west seems more desolate and lonely 


and I reckon this is what a black hole looks like.
Regina sighs and settles a kiss on my cheek and falls asleep.

Soon enough we’ll be home and abed 


each to dream upon another.

Laura to dream upon Colt and Colt upon Laura
me to dream upon Regina and if there be a God of Fairs let him be fair 


and grant my wish that Regina might dream upon me.

So this fair day ends. 








Poetry by jim The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 153 times
Written on 2019-01-06 at 17:18

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Kathy Lockhart The PoetBay support member heart!
I donít know what to say. My heart is full. It full of conflicting emotions, right now, at the end of the story. I was happy and grateful that I was visiting old friends again, enjoying all the familiar voices, feelings, and ideals. Then the sadness always comes when the visit ends and we realize things are never the same and never will be again.
You write beautifully, captivating my heart and mind with the life you create for such interesting, vibrant people. I was going to call them characters or protagonists but to me they are real people.
Thanks for sharing.

Ghost of Heino
Yes. I love this.

josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
Country Fairs, country boys, memories...good memories. Thanks for the ride, Jim. Thoroughly enjoyed it.A little sad though. You canít go home again.