Play Town

Hinges turn, unfolding a wooden landscape picked out in light bulbs.

Spoke shadows are thrown across sliding hatches and hidden doors.

Couch bearing elephant carriages ride

on dolly track pathways passing facade mountains

and two dimensional flower gardens shimmer under electric radiance.

The first scene begins.

A flashing, blue octopus is ejected, raging from his hiding place.

Flailing eight dazzling limbs on pulleys and tin wheels,

he floats down and rises again.

His arms freeze at once and the lights blink out.

The illumination shifts and play town turns red.

Silhouettes grow out of the Himalayan backdrop.

The shapes suddenly fluoresce green and violet.

Lizard titans, supported by iron framework,

lunge and cower, cower and lunge.

Jagged teeth snapping and tails frantic whipping.

Grinding cogs spit fire from each maw.

A firework shoots skyward and showers pink sparks.

The reptiles darken, fall and lie still.

Camouflaged nozzles spray thick steam lit with an emerald glow.

Tropical birds alight and settle.

A troop of robots in pith helmets enter from a crack in the wall

and creep single file into the transient jungle.

They peer through the shaking foliage: seeking, wary.

A flash and a white flower of smoke blossoms to the right.

A steel orb drops suspended from a chain

and bursts into yellow flames.

It swings, slow, like a pendulum

and slow, climbs upward again.

Vermilion rays warm the centre stage.

Unseen magnets draw an orange alarm clock to the middle.

It stops and pivots, dropping bells from its head,

it disassembles, popping screws.

Its face rotates and falls open, like a trapdoor,

releasing a tiny train of clock workers

who pick up the pieces and take them away.

The children are not satisfied.

They climb from their seats and creep among the fantasy.

Hinges are tested, triggers are sought.

Trick panels are found and eager fists thrust

into the darkness to extract some captive curiosity.

The scaffolding is to be climbed if all secrets are to be surveyed.

There is a friendly scuffle for the privilege

and a small outcropping of lank toadstools is crashed.

They clamber and grapple for the prized positions

when a switch is found.

An orange, neon dinosaur, much larger than the first two,

screams tearing metal and lunges at the children.

They scramble, splitting wood and kicking lights.

Two dangle from the elephant carriage, ready to drop.

A flicker of fire amongst the cellophane.

The track tips and twists, the children falling with it.

The fantasy begins to fold.

The two fumble, are caught and struggle against
the shifting panels and struts.

An errant nail catches, a bent wheel slips

and the half closed fantasy spasms.

The children shriek and flames vomit within.

They scream long as the folding continues

and the other children stand around

to watch the fire.