Fair Park

I burn most of the things I own
soon after buying them. Some of them
are cigarettes, and I guess that's okay,
but often, while driving to work,
I'll forget my left hand set the house
on fire while my right hand set
the house on fire.

This town is why
red light bulbs were invented.
This town is why crap from your garage
is nailed to walls in theme restaurants.
I like it when old people tell me
about how everything used to be better
before I was born. I don't think
I'm the problem. Young people,
often tell me to go away
when I sit in the tattoo parlor
and tell them they are making
a horrible mistake.

But I don't think they're the problem
either. Most of this town is grass
spread out on each side of the expressway.
When mowed, it's easy to compare the surface
of the earth to your very own face,
but actually there are differences,
just like the differences between architecture
and the models that architects make.

When I set fire to this town,
watching the fairgrounds melt,
I will smoke a cigarette, and it will
just be something I did.
Firemen will try to arc their hoses
high enough to put out the ferris wheel,
but up there, at the top, there is no fire
and there can be no water.

Most of the old people
understand this truth,
and that is why they sit there
and let flies settle in their glasses
and let the beer go flat
just so they can tell me
that the town you're born in
is the only town you'll ever really live in
and though you might hear of other places,
there is only one that's real. Being Texans,
they actually believe this.

Young people, too, think they are wise
about all kinds of things, and even though
they are wrong, this is a kind of wisdom
and it cannot be reproduced.

A tornado came through here once.
Not really, but it could have. Tornadoes are always
showing up. They never ask if they can stay,
and I guess they never stay that long, but they leave a mess,
an indelible impression everywhere that they go.
I am not like this. This makes it easy to start fires,
and I have started many of them, but there are always
more, every day, that I haven't started,
and that's how I make peace with the idea of it.

All kinds of horrible things happen.
My state has a long and bloody history.
At one point, many of us attacked
the Mexican army while they were asleep.
At Goliad, several of us surrendered
and were executed by the Mexicans.
This seems to have upset some people.
I'm sure they didn't mean any harm. It's just that
in the course of history, bad things happen
and people get hurt, often by other people.
Worrying about the consequences
of these actions is not really a good way
to spend your time. 

There are so many important things to eat.
There are so many important things to drink.
People make movies and you get to see them.
It's amazing to sit down after a long walk.
Think about being arrested.
Every few weeks there is a holiday of some kind,
and your mother sends you a card. It isn't much,
but being unexpected, it means a lot.
Dreams are stupid things to live.