The clown in the cage
with the painted face and overalls
taunts us in a creepy voice
to come over, try and knock him down,
throw a ball at the little circle target,
a hit would drop his seat and plunge
him into the water tank,
which may or may not quiet him.
The guesser calls out to test his guesses:
your weight, age, or birthday month,
and I’m guessing the most popular choice
is birthday month, since you’d be sharing
your answer on microphone,
with a crowd of ears walking by.
If he’s wrong, you’d get your pick of a prize.
Prizes are all around here:
big colorful stuffed animals
hanging from booths where
game vendors also call out:
try to climb Jacob’s Ladder, shoot
out the red star, pop a balloon, swish
a basketball. It only costs a few bucks,
they say, and just take a gander at
all these wonderful prizes.
The vendors remind me of
those gas stations with
small screens at every pump
on every pump island, the screens
playing commercials and news,
the chatter from the screens
joining together in stereophonic
sound around you as you stand there
pumping gas into your car,
the sound coming at you like
Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans
or rows of big colorful stuffed animals
beckoning to be won in a game of luck
(perhaps a little skill)
and taken home and boasted about to friends.