Saturday, May 26, 2007

"In old Cape May"

Originally published in the special "Summer Fun" supplement to the June 1, 1963 issue of the Olney Times; it’s nice to see that Arnold Schnabel (still on leave of absence from the railroad) has gotten away with his mother for a vacation in Cape May, NJ. They stayed at the guest house of his three maiden aunts, the Misses Greta, Edith and Elizabetta Schneider. (With a grateful tip o’ the Leo lid to the Arnold Schnabel Society for permission to republish this fine sonnet. All rights reserved in perpetuity.)

“Frank’s Playland”

In old Cape May I walk with my mom
Through air thick with honeysuckle and suntan oil;
The sun explodes like an atom bomb,
And human beings lie beneath it to broil;
We walk along the shimmering promenade,
By the lunatic ocean and screaming sand,
And, somehow, although it might seem odd,
I long to enter the darkness of Frank’s Playland;
I loved this place back when I wasn’t a fogey:
Nickelodeon and ski ball and photograph machine;
And, overseeing it all, old Frank with his stogie,
His belt-hung coin-changer, and his jokes so obscene;
Now I, the boy, am quite as old as back then was he;
I peer within: Frank’s ancient face stares out at me.

(For links to other even more foreboding poems from Arnold Schnabel, and for access to his previously vaulted memoirs Railroad Train to Heaven, simply cast a wary eye to the right hand column of this page.)


Anonymous said...

I think it was Iggy Pop who said:

"Uh, look out!"

Anonymous said...

Great poem. So true. Remember going there at night and taking a break from the beach during the day. We saved our vouchure tickets until the end of vacation to get our "prized" treasured toys to take home. Back in the 1960's.

Dan Leo said...

Thank you, dear anon. And Arnold Schnabel's spirit thanks you too.

Bald Samson said...

Only the great Schnabel could capture the eldritch horror that was (is?) Frank's Playland.