“Palace Amusements” by Jack M. Freedman

This poem is dedicated to my father, Reginald Freedman (1948-2013)

Palace Amusements

Asbury Park
greets me
within your thin lipped
toothy smile

At the end of every labyrinth,
you straddle the seashore’s yen.

You are a funhouse mirror
distorting my figure
yet always finding
abundant embodiments
within my gut

My navel yearns
for that connection
to amusement within
these vibrant walls

Love was the product
of jackpots
won from slot machines
dispensing ducats

Tokens tossed from one hand
Arm pulled by the other hand

You were the windfall
stashed within this chest
of hazy nostalgia

Adulthood proves more haunting
compared to the cart
carrying me through
those mysterious halls

Wishing I could be hypnotized
just so I could catch a spoonful
of what once satiated my satisfaction

One taste of the sacrament
derived from riding the roller coaster
before it became a cliche
denoting a diagnosis

Before mania
surged through my synapses
like a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo

After bumper cars foreshadowed
the accidents I’d face
throughout these
static frequencies
of depression

If you were a Eucharist
I’d be an idolator

For you were the body of a god
I tasted before knowing what it meant
to be a righteous Jew

You were the excuse I needed
to play hooky from Sunday school

You were the choir who greeted me
before I possessed the voice to echo
any calls I desperately needed to answer

You were the calming voice I needed
before my own soothsaying emerged

Now the tongue with which I speak
needs to taste the honey
into which I dip my apple

Now this fruit
stores nectar
of passing years
in a cloud

Accessed via my digital thumbprint
Repressed via my carbon footprint

Pollen is carried by a generation
of workers and drones

If I left an intention on my doorstep…
I’d wish for it
to be carried
by the Westerleigh wind…

I’d hope the corners
of the crown
in my castle
mirrored this palace
of amusements

I’d pray the pleasantries
could be contained
by the channels
from which we feel joy

May our data be easy to transmit
even if our devices are outdated

May said devices be reused
as analog anecdotes

Let them be paperweights
for the childhoods we cherish

Preserving a trail
back to the inner offspring
struggling to spawn and survive

Background for this Poem:

Palace Amusements was an indoor amusement park in Asbury Park, NJ. I went there when I was six years old and miss it terribly. It closed back in 1988, but the legacy remains with Tillie. This was the mascot of the palace I make reference to in the first stanza.

Author Bio:

Jack M. Freedman is a poet and spoken word artist from Staten Island, NY. Publications featuring his work span the globe. Countries include USA, Canada, UK, France, The Netherlands, Ukraine, India, Nigeria, Singapore, and Thailand. He is the author of the upcoming chapbook, …and the willow smiled (Cyberwit.net, 2019).

Find More by Jack at:

Facebook: @andthewillowsmiled

Twitter: @JacobMoses81

…and the willow smiled by Jacob Moses on Amazon

© The Literary Librarian 2019

All photos public domain