Saturday, May 26, 2012

Poetics: Fair thee well, lady liberty

street art, Richmond, VA

Normal is an illusion---especially at the fair every year,
all kinds of people immigrating from near and far
ones you never see anywhere else---even Walmart

a bearded lady sits licking greasy lips
sucking flecks of fried food from the cracks
not to miss a morsel---pickle, oreo, twinkie,
snicker bar, washed down with battered drops
of flash froze coke---(we will fry anything
for our pleasure, yet dismiss the heart)---her 
children pilfer dollars from her pockets 
for a ride on the tilt-a-wirl or canvas bag slide,

as a local band on the main stage sings cover tunes 
from another generation & men line up to prove 
their worth with a hammer or in knocking down 
milk bottles with baseballs, America's past time

(there is always a trick, an angle needed
to accomplish the hawkers promises)

the woman though, i envy her liberty from proof & look 
of joy that roses her cheeks. in the end, we are all gluttons 
of some sense & sometimes it's choice.

bringing a candy apple to my own lips, i minister
to the firm shell, sticky & sweet, tongue seeking
the tart flesh beneath---the soft glow of a thousand
light bulbs adorn the carousel spin, sPiN-iNg, spin

& i wonder just how long it will take for you 
to get through the line for the women's rest room
but have no illusions here among the normal.

At dVerse Poets today, we are taking a trip to the fair grounds...enjoying sights & sounds on a long weekend. Time to have a bit of fun, or at least come 3 pm when Claudia opens the doors. See you then.

77 comments:

Mary said...

One

Mary said...

OOOOh, you really made me hungry for fair foods. Favorites at WI state fair are cream puffs (what a line) and sweet corn. But of course, there is a lot of deep fried this or that which makes me want to gag.

And yup, the line to the restrooms...one best not wait too long!

the walking man said...

I have been thinking on our pass times lately but we have so many weird ones I just don't know where to start.

I guess i am just too old because I remember when elephant ears and corn dogs were as close to heart clogging you could get at the state fairs...*shrug* we don't have one anymore, it wasn't making a profit so we shut it down and sold off the grounds that held it for almost a hundred years.

I think they are going to use that hundred acres to open a house of ill repute for Michigan politicians to enjoy themselves while they think of more ways to screw them not allowed in.

Heaven said...

The fair ground is full of illusions and sticky sweet stuff. An interesting prompt to play in the fair grounds ~

Happy weekend ~

Claudia said...

yeah..normal is an illusion...there are just places like fairs when it's getting more visible..love how you capture the woman but don't judge her.. and love the underlying heat in the candy apple stanza..smiles

happygirl said...

I haven't been to the fair in years. Thanks for the visit. btw, we have an oyster festival in Oct. Including the national shucking contest. It's great. :)

manicddaily said...

Ha -for me the best part is the children pilfering the pockets! And., actually, the ladies' restroom is somehow vivid! The line and damp! k.

izzy said...

" Minister to" the candy apple-
what a great image ! that is a pretty sticky situation...:)

Daniel said...

One of my favs of yours for the last little while. Spirited and crisp. I love the opening statement about the folks, not even at Walmart. That says a lot, huh? The wall art is great too and adds to this one.

Mary Mansfield said...

I've always found fairs to be great places to people watch and you've captured that brilliantly! I have to agree with Mary though, I'm so hungry for fair foods now! Gonna have to make some funnel cakes sometime this weekend :)

CiCi said...

Glutton indeed. The fair brings the glutton out in all of us I think. Seeing a fair through your eyes makes it sound more fun. Waiting in line for the women's restroom though, that is for a post all by itself.

Daydreamertoo said...

Been year since I was at a fair ground. You made it sound like a pretty cool thing to do, again. :)

California Girl said...

great visuals! I'm laughing because I went to the first "fair" of the season up here last weekend. It was a Home Garden Flower show at the fairgrounds where one of the largest Fall fairs in New England is held. My GF insisted we split a Bloomin Onion (ugh). It was undercooked so we ended up grazing & tossing. Next up, sausage & pepper sub, my favorite. Split that too & it was greasy & delish. The people we saw were less "normal" than the ones at the county & state fairs but still worth a second look.

Bradley Howington said...

I thought about stuffing my face with fried foods all the time while reading this piece. It really gets you thinking - nice write, man!

Bonnie said...

You made me think about how norms (accepted repetitions in behaviors)create what is called 'normal' among those who participate in the norms. So many 'normals' out there that, as you say, are all illusions.

There are always so many levels to your work Brian ... and each level full of insights. Thanks.

Anyes said...

Fair grounds have always brought the most peculiar individuals together. It's been years I did not go to see one, reading your words, I feel curious for this strange world, again...:-)

ladyfi said...

Wonderfully written. Normal is indeed an illusion...

flaubert said...

Brian, I love the last three stanzas to this. So nicely said.

Pamela

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah quite the sights
And frights
Esepecially those loos
Blah as they stand two by twos
And the food I have yet to try
But that will be done by this guy
As I know there is a fair or two coming up
To which I will fill my cup

aprille said...

Love this.
Toffee apple and spun sugar, so glad I don't have to pretend that that is nice any longer :-)
Just had strawberries and cream, with slivered toasted hazelnuts. Unbelievably good when they are really ripe.

I like the festivity you get across. And I love that street art.

kaykuala said...

Great write Brian! The trip to the fair was a big occasion. We had our version here too! Our past time then was limited. With the social network, youth these days give it a miss!

Hank

hedgewitch said...

My going to the fair days are long over, but you capture the mood perfectly here--ours tend to have more of a rodeo element, and lots and lots of freaks both on and off the midway, but the lines to the ladies restroom are universal. Happy Holiday, brian--and watch out for the fried butter.

PattiKen said...

It's true, fairs are among the best spots on the planet to people watch. The normal and the strange mingle until strange is normal and normal strange. One thing our big (five state!) annual fair has that you didn't mention, and that's the multitude of guys hawking the next greatest thing. "Come closer, folks. Look at this! It slices, it dices. And that's not all..." It might even do windows.

Laurie Kolp said...

That food at the fair just kills me (pun intended). We have a huge fair every spring and the food just seems to get more bizarre every year. I stay away from all that fried stuff... I'll have to try a candy apple now, though. ; )

Alice Audrey said...

I'm still trying to visualize the frying of frozen coke. I'll stick with butter burgers.

Matt said...

The descriptive words you used to describe the scene and candy apple was really impressive! Great writing!

Mama Zen said...

Not even at Walmart? That's one freaky fair!

Fred Rutherford said...

Wow, you did a great job painting the carnival scene here, taking us on a stroll. Eerie how these images instantly came to be, perhaps the shows are the same traveling around. Great write.

Sue said...

It's been a long time since I've been to a fair. Maybe TOO long...

=)

PS. Happy Memorial Day, Brian!

Gloria said...

this is funny and dofferent dear Brian:)

FrankandMary said...

The fair is the place that even the most reserved give way to spontaneity. Declasse is classy somehow. Not sure how, but hell, it is the Fair!

Wander said...

Brian, you are a good man, thank you for what you just said on my blog. One day I would like to meet you in the flesh

Wander

^.^ said...

... and then there was the time when I stood in very long washroom line ... buzz cut hair, boyish figure ... a gaggle of little japanese women conspiring against "this boy" wanting use the women's room ... :)

Mark Windham said...

all gluttons of some sort...so true. nice capture sir

Jackie Jordan said...

Thanks for the memories, Brian. South Louisiana is majority Catholic, and the all of the churches host a fair every year. So, fair are as common to me as Mardis Gras parades, and I love them all ...

David F. Barker said...

Brian, the detail here is amazing and so evocative, like you were there today and writing it all down, completely part of it. If this is memory, your recall is superb. Love it.

njpoems said...

Loved this, sir....you have done a fabulous job...

Natasha Head said...

Totally guilty of singing cover tunes at town fairs...and the people watching...all about the people watching. What about the livestock shows when the 4-H's get to show off their wares...and the lovely carnie giving tattoo's at rock bottom prices...oh my....thank's for reminding me what a melting pot of inspiration these can be...our exhibition season is about to get into swing and I was already making excuses for how we could avoid them! You have changed my mind poet...my family thanks you ;)

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

weird, odd, delicious, bright, loud ... sticky and sweet.

The fair and all it's amazing facets! FUN!

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Candied apples and toilet queuing all poured into one poem.. I take my hat off to you sir! Seriousy though, you took me on a complete tour of the fairground, lovely.

darkangelwrites said...

What stuck with me was the gluttony. That and the reminder I need to pee.

Eva Gallant said...

I could almost smell the frying sausage and onions, and I definitely heard the sound of the carousel. Now I want fried dough!

DJan said...

Candy apples? And such imagery, Brian. I am feeling all dizzy from the carousel. :-)

pandamoniumcat said...

Oh the crowds at the fairs or the annual show... I fear them more than anything else...last year I was terrified my son would get lost in the wave of people in sideshow alley...I couldn't go my hubby had to take him. The one thing i love about the show is the smell of horses...Oh I do miss that smell! I do love the atmosphere you've created with your poem, you capture it well!

libithina said...

'men line up to prove
their worth with a hammer or in knocking down
milk bottles with baseballs, America's past time

(there is always a trick, an angle needed

to accomplish the hawkers promises)'- yeah there was always a catch -
Remember proudly watching my Dad striking that hammer hitting the bell at the top - sleeves rolled up ready for the big hit - tastes. fun,
and 'biting into the flesh of that 'candy (toffee) apple' - Yummm
- hugs Lib

Tara Miller said...

there's always interesting crowds at the fair. And so fun to sit and watch! I could smell all that fried goodness while reading this and am waiting for our trip to a fair this year!

adan said...

so neat! - "at the fair every year,
all kinds of people immigrating from near and far
ones you never see anywhere else---even Walmart"

and then ending with the wait for the restroom line to move ;-)

with the bearded lady feeling right at home!

nice work brian ;-)

Shawna said...

"Normal is an illusion" ... True.

"America's past time" ... This should be "pastime" (unless you're just going for a play on words, which you probably are)

"i envy her liberty from proof" ... Love this.

"in the end, we are all gluttons
of some sense & sometimes it's choice" ... Indeed.

"bringing a candy apple to my own lips, i minister
to the firm shell, sticky & sweet, tongue seeking
the tart flesh beneath" ... Geez that sounds yummy. Really nice description, especially your use of "minister."

Great ending. Very funny. That restroom line is impossibly long. :) Funny how much faster the men's line goes.

Lolamouse said...

Somehow the Walmart crowd and the fair crowd look about the same around here! Love the atmosphere you paint!

Steve E said...

Somehow, I feel like a glutton right now, eating the half cake which had been selected for tomorrow--Oh Oh! At least, a good night's sleep before the fireworks...

I could have lived on Fair Food until they would have buried me about 35 years ago ("He died from eating only fats and fried foods with his alcohol.")

This year I do not have to go to the Fair...reading this post of yours, Brian, will give me the same smells, feelings, and experiences--for free!

janaki nagaraj said...

In a fair, the otherwise normal people seem to let their guard and hair down and enjoy their time as kids...all those cravings of food that is bottled up in the name of 'diets' pop up and we indulge...thats what I do.

:)

zongrik said...

my best friend who teaches autistic reminds me that no one is normal.

Charity said...

"i envy her liberty"
I too often envy those with no regard for social expectations, and that joy that may come from my own choice of gluttony (poetry - it's not a sin : )

Geraldine said...

A different life but reality for those who live it, every day. Really enjoyed reading this Brian. You have a gift for taking the reader with you on your trails...

Happy Week, G

PS: I've been MIA for a week from blogging, injured my eye, on the mend now. I posted about it, over at Happy Break.

Geraldine said...

A different life but reality for those who live it, every day. Really enjoyed reading this Brian. You have a gift for taking the reader with you on your trails...

Happy Week, G

PS: I've been MIA for a week from blogging, injured my eye, on the mend now. I posted about it, over at Happy Break.

Anonymous said...

good visuals, esp. the candy apple! and walmart, that's almost like apple pie.lol.gardenlilie

Valerie said...

Memories.... how long ago was it when our fairs included bearded ladies or men with hammers? Hope you enjoy your visit to the fair. Have a candy floss on me...grins.

Dave King said...

Normal is the biggest illusion of all.

I booked a fortune teller for the school fete once. She failed to appear "due to unforeseen circumstances". I know... I've heard it as a joke, too, but this really happened!

Great write. Love it.

Lorraine said...

I adore the chocolate/Caramel Granny Smith but I yearn even more after your writin, see we're a little city and since it 2 other large cities, decided tomake 3 ; 1 we don't get a fair anymore unfair

Tom said...

yes, summer fairs are great things...good for random people viewing and picture taking!

ayala said...

Cool to watch the crowd at the fair :) and we dismiss the heart don't we? Seduced by the smells of fried foods and getting caught in the moment :)

Luke Prater said...

This dives, and pretty much immediately, into material of much more depth than the fun-fair theme... you navigate the issues and more complex subtextual currents very well

Myrna R. said...

I had written a comment that didn't publish. So here I go again.

I mentioned how I like the line about all of us being some sort of glutton. It made me stop and think.

I like the undercurrent of meanings that run through this as you describe the fair. It's your unique style.

Hope you're having a nice weekend.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

FUNNEL CAKES!!
Nice one, Brian. Felt like I was ther, and couldsmell the burning animal fat! Got a craving for a caramel apple now,too!

Mystic_Mom said...

We have a joke about normal being a setting on the dryer, not a setting on people but you are so right - there are people at the fair who you wouldn't see, even at Walmart! Great write Brian...right down to the line for the ladies room!

Victoria said...

Fun picture of how fairs used to be. Here in NV it's a bit pathetic but BIG on livestock and reptiles. I prefer our annual rib cookoff, myself.

Ed Pilolla said...

haha, i love that apple-eating scene beneath the lights, and introducing the fact that you are waiting at the end is that little magic you sprinkle to make the whole scene so alive.

i have learned to stay away from rollercoasters at these events, or any kind of intense spinning ride. for years i refused to believe that i couldn't handle roller coasters. that finally admitted, i don't do those rides anymore and enjoy myself much more. i also can't resist bringing a camera to carnivals, especially at dusk.

DQPoetry said...

I enjoyed your poem as usual Brian!

Easy to read, which I think is always the sign on a good poem, and I could really imagine being at that fair with you meeting those people.

I love the idea of people being themselves at fairs and all the wonderful and wacky people you see!

thejuliebook said...

Nice one from you, too--thanks for the visit! 4-H-ers had a special class at the local fair, but any kid could compete in the open category. I can just see your bearded lady sitting outside the exhibition hall. One of the big deals at our fair was fresh milkshakes from a booth run by the local dairy--she would have had one of those along with the frozen coke, I think.

Glenn Buttkus said...

enjoyed this a bunch, dude. Very cool that we both chose similar motifs as we wrote our poetics. Great minds...just saying.

Zuzana said...

It has been ages since I have been to any kind of fair. I recall the NC State Fair and your words brought it back to life in my recollection.;))
Hope you had fun,
xoxo

Syd said...

I really like the fair. The smells are awesome and everything is fried! My favorite place is the animal exhibit barn where all the rabbits and chickens are judged. I'm looking forward to this October when the fair comes to town.

vivinfrance said...

A great evocative story to warm the cockles of my heart (wish I I love the double meaning of "America's past time" for past glory and pastimes. Also your creative use of rose as a verb.

Goofball said...

haha, Jan served drinks all day at a drinks tent at a local fair, as a volunteer to raise money for some organisation.

His stories also gave the impression to me there were not many "normal" there. I was too busy downtown watching all the theatre performances, but next year I'll go and have a look what it is all about ;)

Goofball said...

very strange by the way, this post doesn't show up in my RSS feed. It's RSS invisible, as opposed to all your other blog posts

Magpie said...

What's sad is that what used to be "fair fare" is now everyday fare. We delude ourselves.

Magpie said...

PS: And, yes, the line to the lady's room sucks. :)