Brooklyn by way of Piedmont
I’ve been to Asheville. Maudeville. Dollywood.
The vaudevillian neon ache, the cannibal notions of a circus
population fucked up on groupthink a Bonnaroo ago,
Honest Abe rolling in his grave for the soapbox,
carnival pilfering of a white outhouse
condemned to a lifetime of pending foreclosure.
The Ferris wheel is broken.
The mother’s china is chipped and lame.
The Bible Belt, the Freedom Belt, the Marijuana Belt.
The nook which was a cylinder
but we bathed it in tarpaulin (Thank God).
In this way we pass the time.
I have something of a hankering for neon.
I’m a friend of Johnny Appleseed
and I’ve fed from a tub of kettle corn at his strip show.
I have something sinister on my mind I want to say
but Beauty sidled up and laid her white
cheek on my shoulder. Now no one remembers
who cut down the cherry tree.
Was it Grandmother, with her terrible
blue hand on the lilies?
The village priest who was really a pimp,
the pimp who was really a spook?
Here, too, folly compensates for design.
The merry-go-round children have all lost their appetites.
Generation laid to rest with Old Yeller
gave way to generation laid bare on the Web. But I like loonies.
I was prescient enough to invest in a trailer
and Beelzebub hailed me from the silver highway.
We ate corn chips and watched the crinkled little
wafers catch fire
like silver dollars in the sun
when we pitched them out the window
at oncoming traffic.