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An Ode to My Childhood as a Carnie

See the July night, red-white striped tents,

lights from rides’ mounts.

Smell the cotton candy pink and popcorn buttered.

Stationary horses whinny

as they go round and round.

The street’s full of clowns and

painted faces and ice-cream and churches and

jeeps and tickets and laughter and

The Guardians.

Carnival, you wouldn’t be complete without


Parents who love their offspring so much they

don’t mind injuring someone else’s.

The fuming height sticks make houses of


Do you like what you see, Carnival?

Do you miss my crawls through moonwalk innards?

The claustrophobia as playful walls

cast their eerie crimson light?

Carnival, are you Fair?

Amidst the balloons and bubbles,

I see your teeth.

Carnival, the daughter of the Ferris Wheel Operator

has become her own Strong Man.

I walk my tightrope with no

net to catch.

I don’t hide my face behind your

bulbous red nose.

I have found the courage to choke down the sword

and breathe fire flames.

Carnival, you are no longer the ringmaster.

I will shoot myself to the stars

out of your old, rusty cannon.

And as I soar my wings in flight,

far, far below

will be the tent You built crumbling down

in the flames I set ablaze.

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