“Delightful Terrors!” by Ken Gosse

This year, at the annual Halloween Fest,
there’s a contest to vote for The Best of The Best:
the spiders and bugs crawl for Creepiest Creeper;
the Dark Siders point out the Reapiest Reaper;
the ladies (and men) bawl for Weepiest Weeper;
and cleaning crews know it gets deeper and deeper
while they do their best to take care of the rest.

Behind the scenes, places where most never go,
the painters and stagehands bring life to the show.
Decor makes decorum an unwelcome guest:
magicians hide secrets within a loose vest;
the carneys make sure their booth beats all the rest
and players hold cards very close to their chest
while the children run wild, ’cause tonight, there’s no “No!”

There’s candy galore for the girls and boys,
not to mention the gamut of five-and-dime toys.
Adults have fun, too: “Throw the ball—just hit one!”
“C’mon—try again! Gee, you’re having such fun!”
“A very close miss! One more hoop and you’ve won!”
“For only two tickets, I’ll reload your gun!”
And while losing, reliving their childhood joys.

The night lingers on till the full moon’s bright glow
drops beneath the horizon when goblins below
are collected by mothers and brothers and pops
once the crazy-mazed rides have all made their last stops
and the parking lots clear with the help of the cops
as you wander away ’fore your last eyelid drops
and you savor each flavor while homeward you go.

Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The OffbeatPure SlushParodyHome Planet News OnlineEclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.

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