Top 10 Living Songwriters
Prairie and Prayer

On the Midway (A Poem)

Midway

Yesterday Johnny caught DebbieDscf0037_edited_3
     moving with the fire-eater,
Down by the Tilt-A-Whirl
(Some incendiary show no doubt)
Just the nature of the beast (or love)
     on this tight rope where we're found.

          Love it, hate it
          This midway town,
          Here between Kingdom Come
               and Kingdom Bound.

Well, at night when I feel the ground quake,
     from the din of love next door
I think of Rosalita, then my boys
Watch the clock measure out my time
     wondering where I'm bound.

Past midnight I get up and walk these aisles
So strangely silent, no glitter now
I watch the moon, I know it shines
On Havana, on my home, while I'm sojourning
     here in this pretend town.

          Love it, hate it,
          This midway town,
          Here between Kingdom Come
               and Kingdom Bound.

I slung a cross 'round the Rio Grande
People watching, children laughing,
As this train goes round and round.
My way of saying, that even though I

          Love it, hate it,
          This midway town,
          I'm at peace
          Here between Kingdom Come
               and Kingdom Bound.

          Yes, I'm at peace here --
               Kingdom's Come.

Steve West

[Midways, fairs, and circuses are rich with the stuff that makes stories and poetry, what with all the lights, the cross-section of people, and the smells.  Consider Richard and Linda Thompson's song, "Wall of Death;" even the names evoke a response and suggest metaphor.  I wrote this after watching my daughter and son ride a children's train, operated by a Hispanic man whose face said a great deal.  The train was called the Rio Grande, and a large cross was hanging around its smokestack.]

Comments