Buy a Damned T-Shirt!
Volume 2, Number 11
December, 1997

by Sringel

All Hallows' Eve
walking towards downtown
there is a roar
like cheers from a distant football game
and excitement tingles
through the night air.

Groups of people
flow towards the city center
flotsam eager to join
the maelstrom
and I am drawn
into the crowd's embrace.

The swirling turmoil of city park
is stunning,
the gaily costumed crowd
so overwhelming
to my senses that I stand,
leaning for support
in the lee of a sturdy tree,
freeing my attention
for butterflies and dragons,
princesses and goblins,
buccaneers and harlots
streaks of crimson and fanciful hats,
angel's wings and troglodytes.

A pretty girl goes by
in black mesh stockings and stops,
screeching in amusement,
at a man dressed as a giant pod
with two green peas the size of soccer balls,
with faces,
peeking out above his head,
and a roar passes through the
roiling mob
from left to right,
while I step out
from sheltering tree
to join a surging current
and am swept on down
a crowded sidewalk
where cops control
the busy corners
and the cheerful milling mass
burns bright with excitement,
and presses warm against me.

It smells good in here,
both sweet and sour.
The light turns
from red to green;
I am released
along with a flood
of youthful exuberance.

At the bottleneck
of a popular bar,
a pedestrian traffic jam
to rival any freeway
drives me into the street
where fleet feet carry me
safely into the next nexus
of swirling velvet capes
and green satin dancers,
a veiled, violet Genie,
several men in drag,
maids and sluts
and hockey players.

Not much point
in walking here,
so I grab a sheltered
window ledge and lounge
mesmerized by passing fancies,
annoyed by raucous Rock-n-roll,
obnoxious louts and passing cars,
but very entertained!

Back in the crowd
a hundred voices chattering,
talking above the white noise
of well lubricated
youthful lips and tongues,
the piercing whistle of a
the roar of a Harley starting up,
and the throbbing backdrop
of passing low riders,
and the insistent
radio DJ shouting
from his mobile booth
across the street.

People are bemused
by my writing
and step on my toes
by accident; never sit down
on the edge of a crowd.

A mummy passes,
then a Viking,
another Genie (in pink chiffon),
a youth gang,
some Marines in cameo & white face.

There are a thousand feet passing
through my periperhal vision,
and it's time to seek
into the very midst
of the ravening hoard

I see CJ,
a surreptious friend
who's been out of town
for a while,
and chat in small shouts,
leaning on a parking meter
in an eddy
while the river flows past.

But the current catches us
and we are drawn across the street
amid the colorful mob,
noticeably drunker now,
but mostly cruising,
shouting and shoving
with rough good humor
'till we reach a bottleneck
before another bar,
and squeeze through the
warm constricted mass
(there's something sexy here)
and squirt out the
other side
like floating sticks in a creek,
ejected from a multicolored cascade.

The crowd cheers
and many look around
at first I think
it's for a guy dancing
whirling, twirling,
hopping and prancing
at the edge of the street,
but no..
it's the woman
leaning on the lamppost
heaving on the sidewalk.

It's nice to have
someone to share with,
to appreciate the madness,
but now I've found
another windowsill to sit,
CJ's gone,
it's getting late and
the crowd,
while cute,
is getting drunker,
so I'll get in my truck
and sidle home
where cats await
and peace reigns,
but it's hard to leave
this flood of energy,
and stimulation.
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