Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To The Fair

©  Steve King
All rights reserved

We walked the road through twilight,
nightingales teasing from small shadows;
the emptiness ready for all bold spirits.
There were faint stars enough
to draw thoughts of a deeper night,
and of summer pleasures to be gathered at the fair.

As we rounded the last curve we passed the tree—
the grave and heavy circumference;
slowed our march,
so quiet.

The tree was a killer.
We saw, the week before,
the carcass of the ‘65 Corvette
as it was towed to town:
covered with a shroud of canvas,
hidden in the furthest corner of the salvage yard.

But we would see beneath it, and we did;
marveling with high amazement
at dark stains spilled across bucket seats
as if by some new miracle
of upholsterer’s art.
Marvel we did, but once,
joked just once,
timid laughs falling to a kind of sigh.

In our retelling to the less bold,
we spoke brazenly of gore,
as if we had become attuned
to that kind of death,
or to any kind;
spoke the way we thought
the others would best hear,
the way we thought a soldier
might have spoken of his battle ground;
or the way a cop might talk of routine carnage;
spoke of bits and pieces that were scattered in the car,
pieces not all metal or at all mechanical;
intoned at length on what the scattered pieces might have been.

The tree at dusk on a country road.

The tree had only done what a tree must do:
stood its ground,
age and dignity unshaken
by the race of passion or hubris
or even careless indifference.
And the car had only done what a car must do—
yielding to great stressors that were never meant to be.
The unknown couple, too, complied with due necessity:
shattering—not neatly, it was said,
unjoined, but not at logical places.

We counted out our steps,
knowing the roads intimately,
knowing steps and distances
from one place to the next.
Headlights marked us.
We might lose our number,
but there would always be,
away in the near distance,
hovering above the forest line,
the glow of the fair,
faint music growing stronger step by step;
and finally the great wheel,
alive with rainbow lights,
coursing a path skyward,
to yield it’s shining vessels to the night.

Talk soon overtook the nightingales,
and rapt imaginings
made bright the evening sky.
We moved in a strange kind of present
that held a dawning future in abeyance:
knowing we were doing all that we were meant to do
that summer, that night,
along that chosen road,
the summer sky a canopy
for all small charms so soon to be embraced…

I looked back.
Our road had left that tree behind,
just beyond the reach of the long curve,
lost in the tide of encroaching shadows.

The music louder now—
that eternal present soon set to pass
into the lightness
of a temporary balming dream
of many brief inviting moments
all at once just waiting…

Away from the shadows,
and the grasp of hard necessity;
away from subtle curves
that skew even much-traveled roads.

Then quick steps and laughter,
the pull of vesper gratitudes,
for what an evening might beget…

I prayed that I would one day
better care for a Corvette.


  1. oh i feel bad for the vette...and the was only going what trees do...and for the family of those that wrecked...interesting ponderings on the walk you took us on...have worked a few wrecks in my day...grisly things...and i know the attmepted humor as well to cut the emotion...

  2. I love the way this unfolds, Steve, step by step, along the paths of the young, the masks appropriate for that age of cop or soldier, the way it shifts in and out of then and into after; a very evocative piece--of youth, and its fairs that seem so much more than what they are, and of all that is what its meant to be. My favorite phrase comes at the end, "..the pull of vesper gratitudes..." A fine bit of work, my friend.

  3. the language, the step by step (as hedge said), every word & thought just in its rightful place... drew me in until i felt the story as if it were my own
    a brilliant write

  4. this is filled with so much life and truth, the way everything can change in an instant, the way we walk right past things that change us every day, not realizing their effect until we have passed them...

    "The tree had only done what a tree must do:"

    yes, exactly that.

  5. A story of loss and death woven through the memories and exuberance of the youth. Especially loved the stanza starting with:

    "The tree had only done what a tree must do:
    stood its ground,..."

    In awe of your talents--you are an amazing story-teller, my friend!

  6. I enjoyed travelling the road with you, seeing the tree, standing on its ground, the brights lights of the fair and the car details. Sad for the accidents that happened but as always I am captivated by your musings ~ Fine writing Steve ~

  7. Wonderful storytelling, love all the details that brought it all to life. A great write, Steve.

  8. Wonderfully poignant journey and as always a pleasure, Steve.

  9. Chilling fatality here, Steve...and so beautifully done. A tree, a car, all doing what they are supposed to do...yet the driver, passengers...directing the whole show...or are they? How quickly history can turn on a dime...But the carousel, the merrygoround..they all go on...the cotton candy universe...watching the dark side, smiling. This is quite a piece...The more I think about it the more I see..Have to come back..:) Great write!

  10. This had so much immediacy to it. It took in years and miles of experience, of the joy and beauty of style, of the music and power of cars, of youth and risk and neon lit skies, and the quiet gratitude of having survived. Quite epic and breathtaking!

  11. We moved in a strange kind of present
    that held a dawning future in abeyance:
    knowing we were doing all that we were meant to do

    Sometimes we could not understand why it fell through. We tried but the future turned out wrong even though we tried everything right, so we thought. Nice write Steve!


  12. This is just terrific, Steve. It unfolds beautifully - is clever and even light but also profound, and very very human. Just wonderfully done.

  13. wonderful reflection to heal... loved the life you put into this piece

  14. love how the story unfolds...terrific story telling steve..well played on the contrasts as well

  15. This creates such strong images in the mind! Fantastic write.