Kevin Ridgeway

Carnival on the Edge of Town


Everything comes
alive in the autumn
not in the green valley springs
as they say
when the animals multiply
but during the harvest
when we get paid
chasing the excitable young women
across the Village Green
with the carnivals glowing
windblown torch paths lighting
shenanigans amidst distant haystacks
and soft pumpkin heads
boggled over by soft human minds
gourds of hard cider leaving film
across allergen numbed upper lips
and hardening to a crust
for cracked shard smiles

The locals know we’re immersed
in the halls of school
carpetbaggers from all corners
of the continent,
they try to scam us
or tell us to cut our hair
the townies are after us
for hitting on their high school
sweethearts with their faint oven buns,
but we were too high
on thunder and lightning
to know better.

the orange red sky
is brewing the
first frosts
that are inhaled by
innocent and wicked minds
let’s put our money
down for a barrel of
hundred-proof quicksand
and shake the branches
of the nearby
forests with our
thirsts and scabbed
fists full of
dead leaf
masterpieces.



***


Northampton Boarding House


In the midst of winter checking in week to week
here in the flophouse of the deranged and unemployable
no smoking inside, bundle up and shiver while
the train burns by and catch an unfortunate exchange
with the housemate with the goblin face, shoveling
powdered snow in exchange for partial rent
“This reminds me of blow”
back to my hundred dollar office
and the fruit flies I’ve named
listening to old man Butch through our shared paper
wall, listening to Bill O’Reilly rant and rave
a knock at his door its Meals on Wheels
drink cheap malts and pass out in ramen noodle adorned
slumber to be awoken by the screams of an upstairs knife fight
another shivering morning smoke, studying the
trail of blood extending past the railroad tracks.
I hope the wife takes me back.

***




Kevin Ridgeway is a writer currently living in his native Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat. Recent and forthcoming publications include Underground Voices, Full of Crow, Red Fez, Gloom Cupboard and Breadcrumb Scabs.

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