DEDICATIONS, PLEDGES, COMMITMENTS. For the past. For my own path. For surprises. For mistakes that worked so well. For tomorrow if I'm there. For the next real thing. Then for carrying it all through whatever is necessary. For following the little god who speaks only to me. --William Stafford

Sunday, May 14, 2006

THE NIGHT THE ARCADE BURNED


The night the Arcade burned the air turned red
as blood, a midnight mummy-shroud of smoke
wound up the sky, an ash and cherry cloak
that so lit up the glass, the house, the shed
containing all the Gypsy's magic strings
that moved her wooden hands, her ruby rings.
Oh, fire! Fire! forever in my head!
She should have known, that lady in the box,
and played a lucky card to break the locks.
She should have felt the lick of doom, have known
the itch of ghostly flame that was her own
undoing. I watched for a penny card,
some remnant of the cindered holocaust
that showed the Gypsy's fingerprint, unmarred
and pointing where the Exit sign was lost.

1 comment:

pepektheassassin said...

The Penny Arcade was across the street from my house in Inyokern. For a penny you could get cards with pictures of bubble dancers, or movie stars, or you could have your fortune told by the Gypsy in a Box. It burned to the ground in 1945/1946. I remember seeing the flames through the glass in our front door. The flames spread to burn down my friend Nancy's house as well. It was exciting!

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1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.