The sign above the concession stand reads
“delicious hot dogs,” and like the onset of
sudden changes, he’ll see them –
plump ones, basting in their juices, their skins set to
shine with the light of all their commercials –
Perhaps these are the hot dogs of Hot Dog Alley.
Why always this theatre, he’ll ask himself.
Darkened, except for the screen’s random strobe,
pelting his face like soft hail, this is the hall he always
seems to find his way to, arriving every time
with these same people to sit, to watch, and to see
the insides of these unlikely venues of small worlds
and skewed relevancies.
It’s been said at one time this was a building used to sell
Plymouths. And even now, after the ends of all the
days since, the cars still remain, kept in the rank
summer heat of the garage out back.
They breathe the fumes of their fresh new paint jobs,
lying in their new, unaccustomed traditions,
these spectacles for pushing coffee on the young.
Inside however, the cool rubber air bounces off the
processed chicken salad they make here,
and a group gathers away in a corner, the epic rolls
of their laughter setting this place to echo.
They remember seventh grade humor – days of “doing
your mom,” nights of jumping off bridges,
full flexing the charge of such young power.
At a piano, one plunks some chords in an Ionian mode,
like a rapture of old yesterdays, and swears
he doesn’t know the little things that make it work,
just what’s good to the ear.
It’s in this pierce of elder sun, his music becomes the
soundtrack to the unfolding scene, as the rest of them
cling to the toys and trucks that dirtied their childhoods,
these reaffirmations of other realities, the building
contracts of cartoon revolutions, in a cartoon nature,
where the cartoon wizard’s cold holds the kingdom’s
sway, and the only resolution resolves in such spaces
as between parted lips.
A small white coupe pushes up a grain bitten highway,
and with it, the young man rides his smooth gradient
of age, watching, as the dark hills of Arkansas slowly
absorb the orange sky, the sweet trappings of an old song
spinning the night before dissolving like cotton candy,
his month long toothache almost enough to ruin it all.
Somewhere else, a walking castle rolls a twisted chaos
through green mountains of another world,
and it echoes the percussion of his companion’s silent
concern. She turns on the headlights.
Perhaps later he will recall their weight, comparing it
to the gravity of all the things he’s seen today,
an old woman’s pain from falling, distances,
like threads of religion that seem to spark the spine,
and he’ll pace the floor before it’s all over. But for now,
all he can do is continue this motion past Shakespeare Drive,
and think about nothing else but dancing lemons.