The Amusement Park in Replica Mariupol at The Azovstal Steel Plant

The Haunted House Tour (draft 1)
[this first draft is an outline: I haven’t done rhymes and rhythm yet. It may not be worth finishing.]

Certain Russian Oligarchs love
dangerous amusement parks.

The chief always says
if one customer dies,
you gain back three

The building that I guard and show
is part of a haunted house tour
that includes haunted factories
at no extra charge

I’m a night watchman here
with a sore throat, but
it’s my job.

I work the graveyard shift
that begins at midnight and
people who buy midnight tickets
find it scary

Although my building is just a
derelict steel plant
I still scream when
the ghosts show up
though not everyone sees them.

We sell more tickets when I cry.
It doesn’t actually take a lot of acting skill
because the children often say
they want to see the sun, and
my wife, her Mother, and our precious Mikhaila
said the same thing on a video
a while ago.

Sometimes I tell a story
to keep the customers calm
and cajole them into not
breaking the apparition rules:

Never tell them it’s “The Light,”
and not the sun they should seek

Besides seeking the sun,
some children ask
where Mommy is.

It can be a problem when
a Mom comes for her child
and they disappear. Then
there can be a shortage of ghosts.

Sad, but in this exhibit
we must consult
“Putnik’s Manual for
The Promulgation of Accidents in War”

The chief always says
if one customer dies,
you gain back three.
So an accident happens.
Cruise missiles apparently
can malfunction,
or there’s a strategic cave-in,
it is said.

Since we don’t make steel anymore
all of this is necessary, and
we need a land bridge to
the Devil’s headquarters.

2 thoughts on “The Amusement Park in Replica Mariupol at The Azovstal Steel Plant

  1. The rhymes and rhythm aside, the dark resignation and sense of bleakness comes across with great force. The symbolism and sarcasm highly effective. The callous egocentric chief determined to decimate as a means of ‘accidents’ to triple the interest (fear) of customers is a gruesome truth hard to face. I watched a recent documentary about Chernobyl and my heart ached at the resignation of spirit by those in charge who were blind as to the devastating secret of the graphite tips of the rods. Rods produced in Russia and kept secret by Gorbachev’s decree. What touched me most was that same resignation/fear in the faces of the Ukrainians over the power of The Psychopathic Dog when provoked by a simple question. It gives me pause to imagine the state of the world should a One Leader World ever come to fruition. Well done, Doug.


    1. Thanks very much. I’m glad to hear that the tone of the narrator came across as intended. First person always feels like a dangerous thing for me to do, although I seem to prefer it. Over-the-top satire sometimes can overcome the fear that a reader will think the author and the narrator are the same person like some people think an actor is the same as the part they play in a movie — it’s not so bad for a hero, but it can be a problem for someone who plays a villain. Sometimes the confusion gets so bad that I have to use a pseudonym at least in the title so they can read through it in the proper frame of mind.
          Chernobyl was such an incredible revelation when I first heard about it. It was such a bad design from the beginning. Maybe the worst engineering design ever: extremely dangerous for a lackadaisical or incompetent staff — few fail-safes or backups; like nitroglycerin in an old Western where just a slight shaking would set off an explosion. There had been so much focus on nuclear explosions (which didn’t happen) and not enough attention to a chemical explosion (hydrogen and heat) which spreads the radioactive material into the air.
          Anyway, I’m going to do a revision. I hope I don’t ruin it. Revisions usually unintentionally shift the meaning a little for the exigencies of form.


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