Last Chance Stampede and Fair

Invisible in this heat,
our breath threads through the air
and we expect pillars of salt to rise,
casting shadows where our shoes
melt against gravity’s pavement
connecting us to history’s
sweaty landscape of fry bread and
Ferris wheels.

Fresh horseshit sends us
a breeze of sweet pungency, and
our eyes connect in smiles
as we sense our plan’s fruition,
then head to the barn to breed.

We take this last chance before war
fetches you again, like a dog
lays claim to its bone.

Brenda Warren 2013

Note: Every summer of my youth, I attended The Last Chance Stampede and Fair in my hometown. Other than the title, the piece is fiction. It started surreal, and worked its way into something else. As our poet friend Catherine McGregor says, sometimes poems have minds of their own. Indeed they do.

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28 thoughts on “Last Chance Stampede and Fair

  1. Brenda, loved the “breath threading through the air.” And love me some fry bread. Your process notes reveal a lot as well, and I enjoy that, knowing what was up in a poet’s mind, even if it was a mind tossed to the whims of the muse!

    This is the kind of fair I love… the “Last Chance” intimating Labor Day, perhaps, just before school starts and the world becomes rattlingly ordered once more. And like I said, t he fry bread… I can almost taste it. Thanks for a wonderful Wordle, as well as your take on it. Peace, Amy


  2. Such wonderful word usage here Brenda…I especially love the final stanza that turns the whole thing on its head, a great juxtaposition, truly. Thanks also for coming by my blog earlier. I appreciate the visit and the comment. You are always so supportive and it means a lot.


  3. Somehow I missed this in my reader. Fortunately I read it because this is a wonderful poem. The first stanza captures the anxiety of the Cold War for average people, but instead of cowering in fear it seems to push them forward. There is also great word choice in the second stanza as war “fetches” one. It’s original word usage like that that helps drive the point home.


  4. Thanks for the mention 🙂 I can see this poem took you for a ride and they never hear the word stop either. Great poem too, tend a few fairs and yes, sometimes the animal area could be a little ripe a times


  5. Like that title Brenda 😉 ‘stampede’ and ‘fair’ do connect in a way!! Then it was a merry go round ride and ferris wheel turns too!! 🙂 Loved how it whirled!!


  6. If that pillar of salt should rise, I imagine it would look a bit like Lot’s wife, don’t you? I’m so glad that poems have minds of their own—or I, for one, might be out of my mind by now! 🙂


  7. Thanks for coming bye…I have been thinking I would write for awhile from the point of view of the painter, and maybe put a collection together. Thanks for your comments.


  8. Very atmospheric. And moving and static at the same time. The need to continue, to propagate and also to continue with the tinsel and the wars…


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