Ashley Chen // CARNIVAL



Small town, local, temporary set up.

Everyone swarming all over.

Rollercoasters swirl and twist, lights

flash, shine, dance, dazzling

the lines snaking through, impatience

buzzing as people wait, waiting

until they are fed in, two at a time, and then

it’s one long exhilaration, a life within

a life, annihilation of anything beyond.

Gasps and screams, rocketing back to

reality, to hard solid earth littered with

plastic cups. And they wobble out

and plunge back in, drunk on soda,

fried dough, sugar highs.

Torn armrests on

the final



But I –

I stay on the edges, the fringe,

where the grass whispers quiet tranquility,

where the faint breeze cools fevered minds.

I stand in the gathering night, the

shadowy veil draped between me and

this carnival. When the fireworks

explode in their thunderous light,

people cheer and clap, magnificent

wonder captured in arcing flight.

But I’m the remnants, lingering

smoke floating aimlessly, harried workers cleaning

up this carnival’s debris. I am the long train passing by –

one lone, mournful whistle resonating through the night.

As the people break up, drift away in chatters,

I am the unending night; silent, solemn, sober.