An ode to Artown

It’s Saturday night in Artown,
I’m riding a mountain bike toward Ground Zero
Wingfield Park.
The wind is blowing; the air is clean and cool,
Not yet chilly.
It’s Saturday night in Artown.
What’s goin’ on?

75 people in the park, milling, chatting, lounging
Waiting for the Afro-Rican Ensemble to play conga-laden funk-jazz
In about an hour.
Painters point out colors
Being fed back to us by the clouds
Witnessing the western escape
Of our star.
Beyond the ribald magenta,
Beyond the petunia pink,
Beyond the glowering indigo,
She insists that there is cadmium yellow.
I don’t see it.

In the streaking waters of the Truckee,
In rapids that would provide heart-stopping recreation
To boatloads of thrill-seeking chipmunks and voles,
An artist of gas and glass
Brings a string of five extremely rare
Neon Cutthroat Trout
To life.

A man with a pit bull terrier
On a thick leather leash
Explains to another man
That pit bulls get a bad rap.
Meanwhile, the pit bull spies a setter
And stares and stares and stares
And strains forward on that leash.
The setter seems happy
That leather is thick.

People are coming to the park,
Walking over the pleasant bridge that
Connects The Park to The Plaza.
There, young scruffians gather on the cement
To show off for each other.
Telling stories, faking fights, singing their blues.
The scruffians watch older folks
35, 45, 55, 65,
Move across the bridge lined with bursting buckets of flowers,
Heading for the promise of music that will soon
Make them smile
Make them dance
Or make them yawn.
The scruffians thank the night that they aren’t old.
The non-scruffians thank the night
Their scruffy days are behind them.

A hotel casino is here, vending.
I want them to vend with me.
I have the proper papers for vending.
An Abraham paper and a George paper.
They give me white wine and tiramisu.
Why didn’t I get the ravioli?

The congas on stage begin to chant,
“Look at me. Look at me.”
It’s Saturday night in Artown.