Sunday, January 2, 2011

Overheard at Coney Island (Poem)

Danielle Kelly, Coney Island Mermaid Parade
© Danielle Kelly. Used With Permission.

Overheard at Coney Island

     Red Madame, Fire Eater, Sword Swallower,
give me a show, please! Serpentina's done charmed
     those snake eyes. P.T.'s done split and run, the bum.

     You, hey you, Blockhead. Can you keep the creeps
in line till it's time? Entertain 'em with a sideshow, maybe
     freak 'em out with your tattoos.

     Just curious. So you say. Shockmeister here will twist
your mind, rattle your brains better than the Wonder Wheel
     will spin you memories on a Saturday afternoon.

     Honey. Yeah, you over there, dolled up in pink gauze
and a frou-frou hat, hogging the picture, blocking the view.
     How's about opening your eyes for once. This ain't no place
for debutantes to be taking a stroll on The Boardwalk.

     I know, I know, already. It's tough being the only working
class broad inside the Morbid Anatomy Museum. But look at it
     this way. We got some of the finest specimens in the world.
Even better than pictures. Our Slashed Beauties: Awe...some.

     Oh, I'd rather be at Brighton Beach if I can't hang in
Luna Park. I rode the Cyclone a dozen times, stiffed up
     at the Parachute Jump, oogled the Mermaid Parade.
Those cuties. They were some sight for tired eyes.

     Our bumping cars, man; they're vintage, man. What else
do you need to know?

     Steeplechase Man's still sporting the same stupid grin, hair
split down the middle, waxed at both ends. I heard he's been on
     his feet in that park for more than a hundred years.

     Don't miss the Two-Headed Baby! Be sure and catch Dogfaced
Boy! Beware Jack Dracula! Man, that's magic! And not just for kids.

     Honey, Yeah, you over there, still in the picture. Put down
that umbrella and let go the gauze. So you ain't got enough sex
     appeal to be an ole-skool burlesque star. Maybe I can interest
you in a hot dog. It's a darn good Brooklyn invention.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I wrote this piece in response to today's fun Picture Prompt Challenge for One Shoot Photography Sunday at One Stop Poetry. Featured there is an interview with talented photographer Danielle Kelly and the picture prompt that you see above.

Anyone may participate in the challenge. Go here to read the interview conducted by Chris Galford and then scroll down for instructions for the challenge. Be sure to add your link to share your poem or prose piece with the other contributors.


Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

The poem is the perfect cinéma vérité soundtrack for the D. Kelly photo. As my father was born in Brooklyn ("God's country" he always adds), I have to be partial to a poem that takes me back to Coney Island and ends with a Brooklyn hot dog.

Happy new year, Maureen. I appreciate your support and encouragement for the new Rilke blog.

jen revved said...

Imaginative, playful, tres fabulous yet again-- just love love it! shockmeister! This is a keeper and should go in the book! xxxxj

hedgewitch said...

I think you've achieved that New York State of mind, Maureen. That last couplet reminded me of an old Mark Knopfler song called Devil Baby comparing the Jerry Springer Show to a carny--you've got a great dynamic going here; love the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

Melissa said...

I have to agree. This was perfect, and all those other words, too... imaginative, playful, right on the mark. Loved it. Thank you, Maureen.

Hannah Stephenson said...

I love overheard pieces---it is the linguistic equivalent of a photograph!

dustus said...


Easily able to picture the local color through authentic sounding conversation. Thank you, Maureen. Great poem!

signed...bkm said...

I can hear the voice and conversatoin in this poem...I have only been to New York once -- you bring the sounds and language to life in your words...bkm

Gigi Ann said...

Very witty and creative poem for the prompt. I guess you had to be there. I'm a country girl, so found the prompt a challenge today.

S. Etole said...

I had never been there ... until just now.

Terresa said...

Love this jaunty piece, fits the picture prompt very well.

Ring in wild bells, ring in the new year, and this piece does that, Maureen.

Joanne said...

Indeed, the carny state of mind, Maureen. I knew there was a reason I didn't even try this one. You have nailed it with your gritty voice and amazing real imagery. Took me there. Great writing. Let me know when the novel gets published. I want to know who that gauzy lady is. ;)

Beachanny said...

This is a whole new Maureen with a cool and different voice. My friend says it is so hip it's hep. You've moved us to cliches and slang it's that dang good!

nance marie said...

well done!

Glynn said...

I loved this, Maureen. It was like walking up and down a carnie show at the beach.

Pete Marshall said...

maureen.....this was captured so much in this...not having been to new york there was so many images you gave to me...really enjoyed the change of style...excellent stuff...pete