At the Music Festival

Everything seems different this year.

Not so much the music, of course; the bands still came.

And watery beer was distributed in aluminum cans.

But the weather was hotter and stickier,

the ticket prices higher, the crowd sparser.

Less shoving and bumping and jostling for position,

but also a lagging spirit, as if the energy had drained;

so many inattentive, not really listening to what

they were hearing, drifting into idol chat

or onto social networks, changing venues

frequently before the sets were done;

and the VIPs secluding themselves

in costly air-conditioning rather

than mingling with the commoners.

An uncertain kind of fog, formed

from humidity, nostalgia, mild

excitement moistened with mile

disappointment, hovers over

the festival district, limiting perception,

augmenting distance, even between

old friends, as if, by some alchemic metonymy,

the center of the universe has become

its isolated periphery.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper


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