from "These Fair Days"
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
Read 153 times
Written on 2019-01-06 at 17:18
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