Drexel Fair

The crowd pressing together like flower petals lodged in a closing book

long impatient lines filled with anticipation writhe across the slow-moving traffic 

air thick with caramel smell, leaving your skin as sticky as a cotton candy bath

fresh-squeezed lemonade running down your throat 

and down your back as the thickly-woven throng jostles its way around the carnival field

creaking constructs of steel rising in bright pylons from the pressing sea of bodies

screaming scheming dreamers washing in and out of the rides like a 

crazy accelerated tide of sweating bodies rolling in breakers across the fair.

Dark empty rigs circled like wagons under attack

thrumming generators making them shake and rumble in concert with the rides

the rise and fall of excited voices muted by their mass

a still small space in the midst of madness. 

Slipping through the gauntlet in a short-cut to excitement creep a 

mother and daughter, laughing at some private joke and flicking popcorn at each other

like jocular priests dispensing holy water.

A young couple dash across the opening

awkwardly holding hands as if not sure how that badge of attachment works but certain

so certain that they want to display it.

Streams of happy faces flowing past the gaps seem as flat as a faded snapshot

in the bright flickering lights of the FREEDOM 2000 that are beating back the night

wind from the Hurricane Bobsled slicking back hair

the Scrambler whip-cracking around its ring like an overwhelmed lion tamer who has lost his chair. 

Barkers siphoning money from the passing crowd 

with more efficiency than an electrolux demonstrator finds dirt in your clean carpet

balls and darts and plastic rings zipping across the primitive booths in search of trophies

mighty hunters stalking great stuffed idols to gift their Queens.

Threads of celebration ravel into darkness as

languid columns of cars shift slowly out of formation

bleeding away in all directions as the clashing discordant blaring fades in the distance

the clunking thunking chunking rhythms of the rides grow still 

and get packed away like childhood dreams folded up in soft blankets

waiting for another to discover them. 

Morning sun slants across the freshly emptied expanse

timid stalks of grass rising from among their crushed fellows

peering through the detritus of this passing orgy

flattened cups and candy apple cores 

lying fallow in the deeply rutted tire tracks 

whose puddly presence in the spring 

will be the only reminiscence this field can muster.