Life is a Carnival

Dinner finished, wine in hand, in a vaguely competitive spirit
of disclosure, we trail Google Earth's invisible pervert
through the streets of our hometowns, but find them shabbier,
     or grossly
contemporized, denuded of childhood's native flora,
stuccoed or in some other way hostile
to the historical reenactments we expect of our former
settings. What sadness in the disused curling rinks, their illegal
basement bars imploding, in the seed of a Walmart
sprouting in the demographic, in Street View's perpetual noon.
     With pale
and bloated production values, hits of AM radio rise
to the surface of a network of social relations long obsolete.
     We sense
a loss of rapport. But how sweet the persistence
of angle parking! Would we burn these places rather than see
change, or just happily burn them, the sites of wreckage
from which we staggered with our formative injuries into the rest
of our lives. They cannot be consigned to the fourfold,
though the age we were belongs to someone else. Like our old
house. Look what they've done to it. Who thought this would
     be fun?
A concert, then, YouTube from those inconceivable days before
YouTube, an era boarded over like a bankrupt country store,
cans still on its shelves, so hastily did we leave it. How beautiful
they are in their poncey clothes, their youthful higher
registers, fullscreen, two of them dead now. Is this eternity?
Encore, applause, encore; it's almost like being there.

Karen Solie, "Life Is A Carnival" from The Road In Is Not The Same Road Out. Copyright © 2015 by Karen Solie. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Source: The Road In Is Not The Same Road Out (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)
More Poems by Karen Solie