Sunday, March 28, 2021


When I was a child living in the inner city, my parents or my uncle would take us kids to an amusement park near our home. In the early days before tv or the super malls, these parks were the go-to spots of entertainment for the masses. Besides the usual ferris wheels, carousels, and bumper cars were the game stalls and joget dance halls. There were also the gun stalls where there was always a small crowd watching. Perhaps the sound of splintering glass attracts or they just liked to see a shooter fails.

image by dsnake1



      i wanted to try
      but i have no money
      and the gun was probably
      too heavy
      so i just watched
      as the stall lady
      pulled the lever
      of the air gun
      handed the weapon
      to a shooter
      all the while
      a lit cigarette
      dangling in her mouth
      that inch of ash
      strangely not falling
      and the shooter
      was taking his time
      undecided on his targets
      beer bottles light bulbs
      metal yellow ducks

      up above a full moon
      scattered its light
      on the fairground


      i wanted to get this
      over as soon as possible
      the air was too hot
      the steel helmet too heavy
      so i just watched
      the target in front of me
      a wooden board with
      a poster of a soldier
      and as we shooters
      lay prone in the dust
      eyes peering through gun sights
      the detail sergeant
      on the bullhorn growled
      the order to fire
      and as i pulled back
      the charging handle
      of the M16
      heard the bolt clicked
      i was thinking of
      beer bottles light bulbs
      metal yellow ducks

      up above a blazing sun
      fired its rays
      on the rifle range

written on 28/05/2012
minor edit 25/02/2021

This poem was published here on this blog before. Little eyeballs. Here we go again.

Daryl Hall & John Oates - Screaming Through December

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Blogger Gillena Cox said...

Happy Sunday Cheong Lee san

We do not have many of those game parks here in Trinidad and Tobago. They are quite a recent and few.


28 March, 2021 21:48  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Gillena!
ah, those game parks are in the past. Those sites are now shopping malls and condos. :(

28 March, 2021 22:29  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

Things looks so unrealistically cool when we are children, don't they? I can so relate with the second poem. I remember those terrible live fire drills and rifle qualification days. If they happened in the winter we froze, and if they happen in the summer we roasted. Our targets had the image of a bullseye. I wonder if we--American Marines--would react differently if our target showed the image of a person...

28 March, 2021 22:36  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Magaly, thank you! It's always great talking to another ex-soldier. Our target is a wooden cutout of a soldier, we were told to aim at it's chest, but at a hundred meters, it's just a small dot. When we were children, we did not know how messed up the adult world is. :)

28 March, 2021 23:31  
Blogger Helen said...

The circus, carnivals ... the magic of the lights, sounds, movement and the characters transfixed as a child .... even those shooting galleries. Now, the shooting galleries terrify. Your poetry is deep, thank you for sharing the old and the new.

28 March, 2021 23:44  
Blogger indybev said...

I loved the contrast and the changes of time. Maybe it's time for GUN III 2021, and you can tell the story of the carnage they're bringing in modern day America.

29 March, 2021 00:32  
Blogger Rommy said...

There are so many things that we play with as kids without fully understanding all the implications. We hope that adulthood brings that understanding, a more nuanced perspective, and the wisdom to listen to others' lived experiences. And yet...

29 March, 2021 01:04  
Blogger colleen said...

The present almost seems aware of the future, such a strange turn from bottles to men, but in both the awareness of seriousness. Loved this flip and the amusement park description. I grew up with one in my town.

29 March, 2021 02:55  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

The difference between a mere test of marksmanship and the realisation of what guns are really for! Well told.

I remember the shooting booths, not in malls but at fairs. But my parents had a horror of guns; we weren't even allowed to have toy ones (except water-pistols). I retain that well-inculcated horror to this day.

29 March, 2021 05:06  
Blogger Old Egg said...

As a pre teen just after WW2 I too spent summer holdays by the seaside and spending saved up money at rifle ranges and the like at tourist attractions. Yet there were uncles that didn't return from the war and aunties whose lives had been shattered alone with her young children. Luckily five years of war had been an education to many children like me but at least my father returned home.

29 March, 2021 09:21  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!


i agree there should be some form of tighter gun control in modern day America.


that's the way and tragedy of how things can pan out. if only one can listen more...

29 March, 2021 12:28  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
these amusement parks provide much entertainment and relief at that time.


yes, what guns are really for. to intimidate, maim or kill.
we have very strict gun control laws here.


As a child during a world war is not easy. as you said, it can be an education in itself.
i wonder why people are so fascinated by firearms. perhaps our survival instincts?

29 March, 2021 17:02  
Blogger Joel (@Stranded Tree) said...

I grew up with firearms and learned the practice of the four rules. Necessary tools on a farm. As for the carnivals, the sights always seemed off on those.

30 March, 2021 10:24  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Joel, thank you!
yes, i heard that the sights of those carnival guns are always tampered with.

30 March, 2021 11:16  

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