What do you think of when you hear the word carnival?
I think of my dead father,
a terribly dramatic answer perhaps.
Of Tom Waits singing ceaselessly
although I cannot hear him.
There are no good-natured humans in costumes
that would make sense to small children.
An older man standing before a makeshift Tunnel of Love.
Tear it down today, put it back up tomorrow.
He is telling the girl who stands beside me
he has a ticket for her, single ride, no returns.
There is no pleasure left, only boxes
containing things that are never explained to me.
Somewhere amongst it all is a boat, no engine,
and a han drum is playing
(this is the wooden board
beaten to tell Zen monks to come eat)
for Han is also a Korean cultural notion of lament
and the Turkish word for a caravanserais,
the sort of place that any weary traveller
might stop for the night.
There is thick pale grease.