A hundred miles driven
To get there;
Countless hundreds more
To go back and back again
To the same conspicuous ride:
One tortured set of oxidizing rails,
On a funnel of suspect rust-nutted bolts
And stilted steel so skewed it was obnoxious,
But the flash-of-dream drew us;
Its alchemic seduction and corkscrewing smarm—
A pinching cinch—
Nailed us to the seatback of dote-dewing charm.
Pushing past the picket all-too-fast:
Giggles and nerves,
Finger-braids and white-knuckle lust,
The ant-legged sense of all things exhilarating,
Scintillating in the salt-prisms of sweat
Bubbling above our bitten lips.
A last look ‘round.
A kinky, smell-of-greasy squeal.
A grating, squawking, mechanical mischief.
Tracks, they clacked up the lift-hill
Like a crazy-farm goose let loose in tap shoes.
The crest crept up on us,
‘Spite our knowing it was ahead;
We were willing to wake up dead
On the back-page of a big-city paper
From some absurdly fatal calamity in the linkage—
Just to feel it.
The giddy-shrill screams.
The clang-climbing a thinly galvanized giant’s back
Just because he stood, a moment, still enough
For our tickets to get a fistful of his hair.
It was to experience the hand-wringing,
The bang-dinging of dangerous believing,
The heart wrestling, wrangling, wrenching love
Off the busted axles of aloneness—
And surviving it.
We should be shameless in wanting that,
And in risking to have it for all time.
But we were the carnival-chime:
Desiring to devour the entire sky in a three-second slalom,
The indelicate hands-of-gale tweezing our brows,
Centripetal imps kneading our bowels
Until we spiraled and looped into
The ejecta of it spattered upon our sleeves—
Where our hearts once were,
When we first boarded the futility of it under neon eaves.
It was bittersweetly
“Hell, no!” was my walk-away whisper
When she too-rhetorically risked,
“Wasn’t that heart-whisk fun?”
Poetry: Cloven Clover
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