• The Carnival – Airplane Mahogany: Reprise




    Airplane Mahogany
    come riding down
    while sunset strips of Fellaheen gold
    laced the crystal peak mountains
    with countless horizons
    of woe.

    We sat in the back
    of my new pickup roadster
    and knocked the gear shift out of whack;
    while the alcoholic blare of the AM band
    blew holes in my eardrums and splintered and cracked
    the bottoms of my new two-toned shoes.

    And Glory! Cried Orly
    the Greek from the Geek Show,
    as though tied to my ribbons; Don’t you know,
    somebody’s got to believe; In what? Said I;

    and lied to the sky,
    tho’ it knew my intentions,
    it wasn’t that sure who I was.
    Nothin’ doin’! said Chewin’ The Fat;
    as we sat in the back
    of my new Ford pickup roadster.

    And Golly! Said Wally,
    Don’t stall anymore;
    Why don’t you write them your song?
    When along came a flare! From who knows where?
    And shattered my brand new windshield!

    Crack! Splash! Sprinkled glass—

    And that was the last I heard
    Of Wally, Orly or Chewin’ The Fat; as we sat in the back
    of my new Ford pickup roadster.

    And now, Airplane Mahogany
    don’t shine like it used to;
    it glitters like gold from the five-and-ten store.
    And no one will meet me in the back anymore;
    when I come with a scoreboard of chances;
    and try to tell them the score.

    And sometimes
    I hear footsteps behind me and look
    for Wally and Orly and Chewin’ The Fat;
    but that don’t seem like a likely experience,
    they’ll never be back this way again.


    And Airplane Mahogany
    don’t shine like it used to;
    Airplane Mahogany don’t sparkle like wine;
    and Airplane Mahogany no longer sparkles
    my mind.


  • The Carnival – Airplane Mahogany



    Airplane Mahogany


    children gather around the wagon
    light from a power-pole illuminates the side panel
    it reads:

    Airplane Mahogany
    The Greatest
    Carnival On Earth

    on the side of the van the words scroll in giant golden letters
    on a swirling background of mountains
    crystal peak snow-caps and shafts of light
    on a carnival in a green valley

    …quite a sight

    “Look at those kids staring at an empty wagon
    like it was full of something besides DREAMS!” Tin Horn shouts
    over the noise of the carousel

    “Step right up folks for the Most Horrifying Geek Show
    in Human His to-reee!” a barker is calling in the marks

    Orly bites the head off a chicken
    spits it out into the crowd and parades on the platform
    preening and flexing his muscles
    he dances a two-step
    and bows

    the barker continues his call
    “Nothing more horrible on the planet!
    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Come watch this so-called human being
    digest a live ALLIGATOR! IMPOSSIBLE, you say?
    Come SEE FOR YOURSELVES! Step right up folks
    for the Most Horrifying Geek Show
    in Human His to-reee!”

    the night fades

    it is the next day—
    Wally Orly Chewin’ The Fat and Tin Horn
    watch the sun come up

    “Break down those scaffolds!” the foreman yells
    the wagon rolls by they hop on

    “Let’s go before the morning EXPLODES!” cries Tin Horn
    the driver turns and looks at him over his shoulder

    “Giddyap!” he c-calls to the horses
    …and off they go

  • The Carnival – Phantasmagoria




    “Are you OK?” Wally is shaking Tin Horn
    the driver is trying to ignore his rider’s jerking and kicking
    in his sleep

    “Aw he’s alright.
    Just let him sleep it off” he sh-shrugs

    Tin Horn shakes himself from the grips of the dream
    “Where are we?” he looks around and tries to regain his composure
    he growls to compensate for his show of weakness

    Aren’t we there yet?”
    he smacks the driver on the shoulder

    “When will we be there?”
    “Soon.” the cabbie flicks the whip ever so slightly for the lead horse
    to step up the gait

    all five men are rocking to the rhythm and sway of the wagon
    as it ambles along a dirt road outside the halo of the city lights

    in the distance—

    there is a glow above the horizon
    there must be a city just beyond the summit

    as the wagon pulls over the crest of the hill
    they come upon spotlights crisscrossing the night sky
    and a Ferris wheel

    a hubbub of excitement
    sprawling across the landscape

    it is a carnival

    an illusion of lights and mirrors
    gawking wildly in a swirling careening
    idiotic phantasmagoria of mayhem
    in the nocturnal countryside

    the wagon stops inside the confines of a farmyard vivid with noise and excitement
    strings of lights draped across creosote darkened electric poles
    glow the night

    the driver ties the horses and leaves; Tin Horn must fodder them
    “See ya later!” Wally calls out running after Orly

    Chew Lin stays behind
    “What are you waiting for?” Tin Horn asks
    “Just waiting for you.” Chewin’ shrugs
    “I don’t know my way around.”
    “I’ll be with you in a flash
    I’ve just got to feed these beasts.”

    the two walk the horses
    to the livery

    (To be continued…)

  • The Carnival – The Anthem of the Dove




    Walking down streets and empty harbors of the city;
    I look for an answer; one is nowhere to be found.

    A sound reaches from behind broken storefront windows
    a sound that echoes in the emptiness:

    “Hello,”—a voice soft and gentle.
    “Hello, what are you doing here?”

    But, I have searched through tome and printed page
    to find the answer to that question; I found nothing but despair.

    While words fell like curtains from the page in candlelight,
    I’ve found nothing to guide me.

    And I have tried to catch the rainbow in my hand;
    for a pot of gold— knowledge more than riches.

    A barren dream is what I earned—
    a cauldron full of wishes—a worthless treasure chest of emptiness.

    (A dove flew past my window in the morning.
    It cooed a song, a soft ‘hello’.)

    And tho’ I felt the sun warm roses yellow on the bough
    in the distance I heard thunder.

    The dove became a hawk;
    and the thunder tolled (and answers hadn’t found me);
    I saw a searing wind that burned the leaves off every thing,
    and left nothing.

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