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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Farewell to the Fairground

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

A Styrofoam cup, crushed ice (perfect) and lemonade – it’s freshly squeezed…

The man with the greasy hair smiles at me with an exaggerated smile –

and hands me my lemonade – I drink it with a straw -

My father smiles, and then I smile


It’s the first day of the County Fair

The Farris Wheel spinning predictably against a cerulean blue sky –

with the clouds billowy and predictably white,

with hints of crimson and cotton-candy pink


“Dad, can we stay awhile longer”, I ask as I hungrily eye the carnival games –

“I suppose we can stay a little longer”, my father relents –


I win a Batman helium balloon and a dog made out of clay –

for squirting the water into the mouths of stationary clowns

“you have quite a boy!”, says the man with the greasy hair –

And my father smiles – then I smile also

____


The hands on the clock sound like dripping memories (to me)…

dripping slowly into the area beneath…

into the space we cannot see –

moving us into the unpredictable future

____


It’s when I got my first blowjob –


It’s the first day of the County Fair –

my arm around my girl – drinking a sarsaparilla from the bottle –

leather jacket with anti-society hair – punk and rebellious –

purposely-torn blue jeans with an anarchist smirk of contempt –

with face stubble in need of an almost daily shave…


The Farris Wheel penetrates the sky –

as the Gravitron spins us wildly around and around –

like a motherfucking top –

like a mother-fucking merry-go-round on fucking meth…


The sky stabbing red and sometimes violent,

as boys show off and discover a world of sexual encounters beyond their father’s not-so-well-hidden pornography –

Marking territory and establishing dominance –

building castles of testosterone and bragging about getting laid


“I fucking hate my dad”, I say between drags off a cig

My girl nods and pops her gum –

Her hair light brown with lollipop cherry highlights –

“when does he get out of jail?”, she asks, and I ignore the question…

my arm around her as I blankly stare into the darkening sky –

The sky is darkening – and I am staring into it

____


Fucking video booths and turning tricks at the drive-in –

In a muscle shirt without muscles – skinny – rail-skinny –

boy-skinny (do you know what I mean?)

The man with the greasy hair hands me a score and we disappear into the shady corners beyond the neon - beyond the velvety red painted walls…

I slowly remove my pants and then I remove my underwear,

securing the twenty in one of my socks – because you can’t be too careful…

____


It’s the first day of the County Fair –

and we’re high as fuck –

(I snort my drugs through a straw)

my arm around my best mate –

as we walk around the grounds, sloppily

“why don’t you win me a fucking stuffed toy or something?” he playfully jeers -

and I smile – but it’s more of a reckless sneer –

“you just watch me fucker – just fuckin’ watch me, fucker”…

I say with exaggerated bravado

- as I clumsily pick up a dart and hand the man with the greasy hair a fiver


The sky is light grey becoming a darker shade –

Rain is not predicted, but I can feel it – I can smell it

(do you know what I mean?)

The approaching thunder is within my veins, within my bones –

The vicious clouds move across the shrinking sky angrily –

“maybe you are in no condition to be throwing darts, lad”, the man with the greasy hair tells me with a knowing and empathetic grin –

And I know that he is right…

____


It’s my dad’s funeral –

friends, family, former co-workers, and kind people are in rows –

sitting tearfully upon metal seats as the minister says words I am unable to hear…


I sit separately – watching from afar…

because I wasn’t invited – because I am not welcome

____


It’s the first day of the County Fair

and I’m wearing a shirt with cut-off sleeves –

I walk the grounds alone and smoke one cigarette after another…

my skin weathered, my expression experienced –

remembering the Ferris Wheel – remembering the rollercoasters –

seeing them around me now and not recognizing them –

not as I remember them - they aren’t as I remember them, exactly –

the rides are run-down, rusted, and dirty

(“on their last legs”, I think – and, I ask aloud, “has it always been this way?”)


the man with the greasy hair asks if I want a lemonade –

and I pull out a fiver and ask for a medium with crushed ice,

“in a Styrofoam cup, if you will, mate”


The sky predicts a storm – with the radio announcing a tornado warning –

but I know better – I can feel it in my veins – I can feel it in my bones –

the sky will drizzle and the clouds will pass

and the sun will eventually shine again –

it will eventually fucking shine again –

at first – perhaps dim and hazy and out-of-focus or too bright and blinding to someone who hasn’t looked up in years…

I walk alone on the fairgrounds with my NA chip tight in my aging hand and I can feel it’s weight…


I drink my lemonade from the Styrofoam cup as I ride the merry-go-round –

round-and-round I go – round and round I go (the memories…)

sitting on a faded multicolored horse with peeling paint –

the horse has seen better days –


…and I know how it fucking feels


I hold my NA chip tight in my hand and light another cigarette

as I walk home, alone


Photo: Jimmy Broccoli.


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