Northwest Folk Life Festival, 2010

A youth staples dollar bills to his bare chest.
A woman reacts:  “I will pay you twenty dollars not to see that.”
The stapled man accepts the twenty, stays planted in his pain
between the Black Death All-Stars
and the Festival Food truck hawking Pennsylvania Dutch Funeral Cakes.

I imagine the stigmata of his wounded childhood:
Smashed arm off a recliner chair, crumpled beer cans, and his father’s leather belt.
In his Mother’s coffee cup, the ash heap of regrets pile high, turns green.
She once dressed him as Medusa for Halloween.

The bleat of a bagpipe drifts on the wind –
“It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry.”

A young girl says “Let’s go to the fountain.”
Her friend wears a sign – “Willing to sell I-phone to buy ride home.”

On another stage, a young capitalist offers “Expensive Ass Hugs.”
His counterpoint, a maiden in white, announces “Free Kisses If You Measure Up.”

Centrifugal Force.  Like a carnival ride where the floor drops out,
youth spinning, pinned, with no connection home.

Just open-mouthed shock, slack laughter.

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