amuse(me)nt park

life is an
amusement park
as a child
rife with wonder
each new sight
each new smell
a promise of
adventure lurking
in brightly
colored tents
we want to
experience each
rickety ride
play every game
and stuff ourselves
with fried confections
with an abandon
only limited by
our parents
dwindling roll
of red tickets

as teens it is
more about being
seen on the rides
strolling down
the midway with
a gaggle of friends
proving we exist
defying death
because every teen
thinks they will
die before twenty five
showing the world
we aren’t afraid
it becomes less
about the amusements
and more about
hormonal impulses
as we seek to show
just how grown up
we really are while
still understanding
very little about
most everything

soon the old park
is something we pass
on the way to work
stuck in traffic
watching the lights
as the ferris wheel
spins slowly in
front of the busy city
telling ourselves
we will return to
challenge fate once
more when we have
an entire day to kill
exchanging the
rollercoaster for the
overcrowded highway
elevators for the
precarious plummets
and bumper cars now
mean a deductible
but one day you’ll
have time to enjoy
yourself once again

by the time you do
there are more people
than you remembered
the adults of whom
you are now one of
look haggard and
flinch at the prices
clutching the tickets
unwilling to part
with them for anything
less than a bargain
the rides that once
filled your soul with
unending joy now
leave you dizzy and
you find you shy away
from the now flimsy
filthy machines in
various states of
ragged disrepair as
children run excitedly
past you enamored by
the flashing lights
you now recognize as
another loaded scam

life is truly just
an amusement park where
we transition from
willing participant
overwhelmed by all
the neon dreams flickering
from the rows of tents
into the carnies
smoking cigarettes
while remaining
dilligently neglectful
of the hazards it
readily embodies
halfassedly keeping
the attractions going
coaxing tickets from
the endless lines of
rubes who have yet
to see behind the curtains
grooming the next crew
of broken dreamers
to run the shit show
into the ground while
we lament about the
way things used to be


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