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Memories Revisited

Updated on November 18, 2011

I wrote this poem way back when I was in college and recently reworked it to clarify the theme, which is we’ll try anything when we’re young, especially when someone (a parent, older sibling, aunt, grandparent, etc.) is there to assume responsibility for us; once burned, however, we tend either to step back from repeating the experience or to approach it with fear.

We’ve been to the carnival.

It was


And brash,

And loud....

The crowd

Filed in

As the man at the gate

Welcomed us with a weary glance.


It lay suspended


As we entered eagerly,

Buoyed by the


Of the carnival,

Enmeshed in anticipation,

Perhaps even a bt beguiled.

We smiled

At the cotton- candy-coated



Roared at the ridiculous


Then we approached the amusements.

We went in.

“Spin the wheel!

Everyone will win!

There are no losers.”

Around and around....

Too bad. Not our number.

So we picked our ten-cent

“Prize” from a pitiful pile of junk....

Because “nodbody’s a loser.”

We laughed.

There was another carnival-

Another wheel-


My number did not come up.

I cried (so young),

Tried it again.

And again.


“No one’s a loser?”



We moved on.

“Perhaps we can try later,”

He said.


But why?



As he moved towards the roller coaster.

I tried not to cringe as I mumbled

Something about “not trusting those things.”

He grabbed my hand

And had fastened the safety belt

Before I could flee.

Slowly,’the car climbed the steep slope....

Madeningly, terrifyngly



There were screams-

Of terror, of delight..

I didn’t scream.

I couldn’t.

I kept thinking, “We’re going to die.”

Then it was over.

“See, that wasn’t so bad,”

He said.

That other roller coaster....

Back then, it seemed beckoning,



I rode,

Convulsed by chills

Of delight.

When I sailed down the slopes,

The small weight

Which was my “self” a thousand years ago

Was thrown up

Like a toy in the hands

Of a gentle monster-turned-madman....

But strong arms pulled me down.

We headed for the fun house.

(The adjective belied the nature

Of the place.)

We entered:

I, cautiously;

He, delightedly.

The sounds-

The shrill screams,

The piercing shrieks-

They didn’t terrify;

They chilled....

Tthe house of fun

Became a house of ice,

And I was


In the cold, brittle


The mirrors....

Those glass freaks....

Were innumerable,

Surrounding us in hideous ambush.

We were everywhere,



Like a fairytale princess

Turned back into a frog.

Dizzied by the convoluted images

Of our selves,

We managed to escape

That hall of looking-glass truth.

The other fun house

Had actually been


At first ,

Until I lost my way

In the maze of mirrors

And was surrounded by

A thousand fractured images



Those same strong arms

That had saved me from the careening coaster

Again appeared

And ushered me out.

Still dizzy,

Seeing double, triple, sometimes not at all....

We stumbled to the nearst bench

To rest and watch the world

Stagger by.

There were a lot of children,

And parents,

And some very old men.

The children laughed.

The parents tolerated.

The old men


We just sat.

Enough of that.

Attracted by the bright lights

Of the ferris wheel,

We rose.

“Not afraid?”

He said,



I laughed-

How could this calm, steady icon

Frighten anyone?

(Anyone but me?)

It circled around, around....

Then dropped deliberately


To repeat the long climb upwards.

That whisper of a breeze

Known only to passengers of a

Ferris wheel

Played with my hair, my face....

And I closed my eyes,

Pretending that I was sailing over

Some tranquil sea,

And that I wasn’t afraid.


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    • PatriciaTL profile image

      PatriciaTL 6 years ago from Lehigh Valley

      Thanks, Deborah. Those memories certainly provide a lot of ideas for writing pieces!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I voted up... Awesome.. Love the fun house of mirrors.. and the roller to read brings back lots of memories.