A carnival is setting up outside my window on a hot summer day. The purple, blue, orange, red flag that entice people to buy elephant ears flap gently in the wind and are beautifully back-dropped by the blue sky. The road is blocked off. they have taken over the empty lot next door and the street. People have to drive through the library’s parking lot to reach their destination. I wonder what kind of excitement I will meet in the coming days.
A man comes into the library, asks for poetry. Shel Silverstein. He says he is a poet. He has a seat at the table next to mine and recites to me a poem that he wrote to a friend in her yearbook. It’s a terrible poem and I am annoyed by it. I have things to do. He then talks about the carnival. he works at it, works one of the games. He tells me how the carnival is fleecing the people in the town in which I live. He tripled the price of a light saber simply by turning it on at night, he says. He pulled stuff out of the garbage and made a necklace with it and people bought it, he says. we are basically selling people garbage he says. He recites another poem to me and, again, it is terrible. terrible rhymes and metaphors. but I am thinking about this man’s life and how it could be a poem. He tells me, “they took my brain out of my head when I was sixteen.”
Three days later as I was driving across town I saw that they were packing up and the convoy of brightly colored trucks was on it’s way out of town. Off to fleece other people I guess.