Friday, June 19, 2009


I am in love with carnivals.

There is some undefinable surrealism that dwells among the tents. During daylight hours, the thing sleeps, waiting. Then, just as the sun dips below the horizon, a surge of electric blood trickles through the veins of the great steel frames, and the carnival really comes alive.

I went out to the Strawberry Days carnival last night, and once the sky had gone dark and the firefly lights had begun dancing, everything changed. No longer did I belong to a world of sunlit frivolity. Here, indeed, was that infamous Pandemonium Shadow Show. G.M. Dark himself slunk elusively through the crowd - those roaches of society that seep up from dark basements for no other purpose than to add their own confusion to the mass of twitching chaos. Faint snatches of a buzz buzzz buzz could be heard throughout the night; perhaps from a generator . . . Or a stinging tattoo needle?

The carousel was beautiful. Angry, paint-chipped stallions screamed on their posts. I was Jim Nightshade, riding forward, counting the passes around. Once, twice, thrice - I was 21. Again and again, the years went flying past, my mind pressing against the hard walls of reality in the hope of seeing a physical change - to no avail. The broken tinkling of music that shrieked over the crowd was not the Funeral March, backward or forward, and I was still the same.

Finally, I rode the Ferris Wheel. The bench stopped at the very top, and I wiggled forward to look down at the world below. Hundreds of bodies squirmed past one another, inwardly laughing with joy at the power of even the slightest human contact. A few pinpricks of light were the insect eyes that watched the riders. They stared so intently and twinkled so brilliantly that I could not believe them to be anything but sparkling intelligences, asking and answering the very question of life with a single glance.

Hah! Everyone in this world deserves a night that neither offers nor needs an excuse to eat funnel cake and strawberries and cream for dinner.


  1. You write beauty.
    Also, you should read the Thief Lord (Herr der Diebe) by Cornelia Funke (or see the movie, which in some ways is almost better, heresy though it may be to say that). It has a fantastic carousel, in both senses of the word.

  2. I love carnival workers... why didn't you write something poetic about them? :)

  3. Christian: Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoy my posts, and I'm honored to have you following my blog. I will definitely find that book and read it, as soon as I've finished Atlas Shrugged. Is it a relatively happy story? I need to read something light.

    Amy: Just for you, I will write a poem about carnies. Are you having a birthday party for Isaac? If so, I'll bring it then.

  4. Yeah, Cornelia Funke's stuff is mostly children's literature. Herr der Diebe is about German orphans sneaking away to Venice and having fantastic adventures living with the street kids there.

  5. You had me at "fantastic carousel."
    It sounds like it will be a marvelous reprieve from the bleak realism of the last few books I've read.
    Is it as good in English as in German?