At the Carnival
by C. E. Chaffin
We ride the Swinger, hang by chains
high above the asphalt and circle
the electric maypole. I close my eyes,
lean back, go intentionally limp
and let my long frame hang
like middle-aged spaghetti beneath
the pirate moon. The air is cool, I am
a fat bird in a chair. I open my eyes,
flap wings, stick out my dodo legs
and yell, “I’m Jesus!” And pigs shall fly!
But who else sees the strands of kairos
through light from funhouse mirrors?
Three corndogs later we board
the Tilt-A-Whirl, our sail a shell of glittering,
metal-flake pink. We orbit the vortex
of our little track, our feet sucked centerward.
Thrown against our moving wall, Sarah chants
“redrum, redrum,” while I laugh. She hasn’t seen
The Shining but does the voice so well!
There is a red room full of men and bulls
and one man meant to put an end to it; it’s said
his blood stains everything except the stars
which bleed their light so profligately
still barely dent the darkness.
We come to a stop pendulum-fashion;
the carnie steadies our decline by hand
as Hendrix sings, “Are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?”
I sing, “Well, I ha----ave.”
The carnie smiles.
©2000 C. E. Chaffin
by Thomas Dobe
She reads my
Poems and says
I suppose if
I fuck you
You’ll write a
Poem about it
I slide my hand
Up her thigh
“No one reads poetry.”
©1999 Thomas Dobe
Under The Limbo Stick
by Maryann Hazen
In this lilac scented loneliness,
in the umber of tranquility,
I flex, I fold my marigold eyes
toward the surface of my mind.
The allure of companionship
has fallen on my neck—
an organ grinder’s madcap monkey.
Sometimes I find it difficult to sound
like myself and I bend over
backwards, dancing erotically
into the dream machine and I marvel
at the gargantuan graveyards and
I crave him as a mate
and I swirl about in a foul froth,
elbows slipping in layers
of luncheonette grease and in this
peripheral perfection of night,
dawn breaks open my head
and I can’t figure out
what that hellacious stink is
coming from under the bed.
*limbo(1) - A region or condition of oblivion, neglect,
or prolonged uncertainty.
*limbo(2) - A West Indian dance in which the dancers bend over
backward and pass under a pole lowered slightly each time.
Definitions provided by: “The American Heritage Dictionary,
©1999 Maryann Hazen
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