Thursday, October 29, 2009


RWP#98....using this photo
by auburnnewyork


It was the year I ran away from home
leaving my rotten days of boredom behind
to join the bright-lighted carnival
the year the clown interviewed me
smiling and smelling of wine
with a perverted look in his eye
the year I traded my wool sweater
for a leather jacket and black denim jeans
and the lady of nicotine
the year I failed juggling
but passed kissing the elephant girl
with her fragrence of mustard and fries
the year the hot dog-faced boy
locked me in the monkey cage
barking with an illegal smile on his face
the year I walked the sideshow alley
mingling with the freaks
howling with the alley cats
the year I found the shooting gallery
where the clowns shot heroin
while eating cotton candy
the year I rode the ghost train
before falling from the roller coaster
the year I won the doll prize
kissing the bearded lady
where nobody wins
the year I learned games are honest
but the carnies steal candy apples
from kids
the year I woke up in some alcove
under a roller coaster
wrapped in feathers and caramel
the year I ran towards the sombre sunrise
like a monkey through fires
towards a fortune of boredom
leaving a broken roller coaster.


rallentanda said...

This is a wonderful poem.A mixture of desperation humour and great imagery.I like the repetition of 'the year'.Also waking up wrapped in feathers and caramel and passing the kissing the elephant lady exam.Always enjoy visiting here

Paul Oakley said...

Wayne, what a wonderful way you have of narrating young life trying to find itself. Running away with the circus, that quintessential runaway narrative!

I especially love your turn of phrase "a fortune of boredom." Like a pride of lions, a sleuth of bears, a parliament of owls, a fortune of boredom...

Very captivatingly told!

Irene said...

Wayne, this is so super duper. I like how the ironic humour wrapped around the roller coaster life and how it upended its beginning,

towards a fortune of boredom
leaving a broken roller coaster.

Jeeves said...

Enjoyed this. Felt like a roller coaster

anthonynorth said...

A great metaphor for life here, with excellent humour and irony.

Anonymous said...

Por Dios, this is fantastic. What a roller coaster ride with you in your adventure. No wonder you are as warped as I in these later years. Those experiences (I assume you are speaking of your own) are the leverage that pries ones eyes open to the truth of life. Don't know if I could kiss a bearded lady though. Great work Wayne, I really enjoyed reading it.

Anonymous said...

A great truth in this coming-of-age poem about testing roles & delusions --no matter where we run to, we find only real life and only our real selves. The wisdom of no escape. This poem is great -- strong voice, vivid images, strange yet also familiar characters.

Anonymous said...

I love the way this uses a full complement of carnival imagery to parallel the narrator's trials during his coming of age; the wildness, loneliness, and strangeness of both experiences is very clear, and the repeated use of the phrase "the year" creates a very effective rhythm.

Anonymous said...

Now, that's a wild life-ride taken either way. Wonderful spiral of strangeness.

Anonymous said...

The year of cotton candy in the dust... as this poem straddles a litany of sing-song experience, a house of movable mirrors. A well colored response to that prompt, as so well already here named by others. Colorful, musical and well woven, this tail of tales. Thanks for this poem Wayne!

Anonymous said...

I felt like I was right there beside you, munching on popcorn, nodding... curious... for the entire ride.

Thank you. (and in case Blogspot doesn't identify me, this is Julie Jordan Scott)

Tamra said...

I like the repetition of "The year I learned..." and the things that go along with those learnings!

Elizabeth Westmark said...

I have a friend in Nashville, Susan Adcock, who is a fantastic photographer and writer. One of her blogs, Cliffhanger, is dedicated to carnies. Reading your poem and then seeing her images/reading her words is like listening to an antiphonal choir. Here is a link to Susan's work:

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