you must be this tall
to fly

it always rains
during fairtime
to soften dust
and frying oil

you must be this tall
to ride

into scents
blurring in pastels
to tint air
with cotton candy
blooming onions
& caramel apple

this is that line
you cross in a dare, but up

the midway
centrifugal force

not drawn where you can
step over it

that leaves us
spun and dazzled

this is a line
we stretch past, standing on toes

to scream
when we flip
upside down
that is not a surprise

ignore the fine print

and walk away
staggering drunk
on gravity

strap yourself in

how the midway releases us
into reeling brilliance
after dark

once a year we are all children

we can climb sky
for a price
on the Ferris wheel

pointing to how small
people are from here

loop between stars
and popcorn vendors
in timed swoops
of a lit needle

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to midway

  1. Ahhh, the Ferris! That special feeling!

  2. Ahhhh….the joys of self inflicted “terror”! the adrenaline rush, the scream, the thrill….lovely!

  3. Rhonda says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes….I love the fair. I miss the fair. I want to be a kid at the fair again! So very, very good.

  4. Claudia says:

    made me smile…we have a fun park and to ride one specific roller coaster you have to be 1,40 mtr. tall…and my daughter was waiting desperately to grow that tall so she can finally ride it..

  5. Mama Zen says:

    “and walk away
    staggering drunk
    on gravity”


  6. brian miller says:

    nice..enjoyed my trip to the fiar through your words…and as a child wanting to be tall enough to get on the rides…and when you do how it feels that first time too..the excitement and fear all in one…leaving us staggering….

  7. Mary says:

    I was just at the state fair this week; and my granddaughter was too short for some rides & my grandson was too tall. Sometime life at the fair is hard. You definitely left me with a vivid impression of the midway! Well penned.

  8. My teen phoned the other night she was raving about having been to Canada’s Wonderland and had gone on the biggest most scariest new ride ever made. It had to have been, it scared her…lol I remember her being upset that she wasn’t tall enough to go on some rides a few years ago.
    This is so typical of the excitement of being at the fair and going on all the rides, eating candy floss or hot dogs and really enjoying the whole atmosphere of it all. Lovely read.

  9. Jerry says:

    ah, the rough edges of the midway…adventure, mind spinning adventure.

  10. This is wonderful! It reminded me of the time my son was not quite tall enough to ride a roller coaster, so we put napkins in his shoes and then he could ride. And then over and over we rode that one roller coaster until we closed the park down.

    My favorite line of this poem, though, is:

    we can climb sky
    for a price
    on the Ferris wheel

    What a wonderful image these words hold. Peace, Linda

  11. Laurie Kolp says:

    You have brought the fair to life! I especially like all the food aromas you tantalized us with, and:

    and walk away
    staggering drunk
    on gravity

  12. All the fun of the fair and many memoires of childhood for me.

  13. This poem made me feel like spinning round and going “Wheeeeeeeeee….!” 🙂

  14. Susan says:

    True impressionism brings your fair to life with just enough specifics to imagine the busy canvas with the curve of the Ferris wheel connecting other elements in the frame. It’s a bright and intoxicating 4 X 4 canvas, and looking into it feels like flying, even if we must jump to take off. And with this same canvas I can look up to the needle swooping between stars and vender. Magic, all moving, buzzing, intoxicating, inviting.

  15. Louise says:

    Ooh…what a trip! lol…this was a joy to read, thank you 🙂

  16. Ravenblack says:

    I like the exciting rollercoaster rides and those that flip people upside down. I don’t think I can take it anymore. Ferris wheels are beautiful. Joyful to read this, feeling the fun of these rides, the signatures and feeling glad one can go on the rides. 🙂

  17. Margaret says:

    Brilliantly “painted”, words sparse and perfectly expressed! I never did nor do I now like the rides at a fair… but I do love visiting the animal barns 🙂

  18. Once a year we all are children, lovely, wish we could be children for ever.
    You have captured all the emotion of the moment in precise strokes, well done!
    I have been up there with you, thanks for the ride!

  19. danadampier says:

    I still love carnivals and I love your poem! It brings back so many fun memories.

  20. Dick Jones says:

    There’s a wonderful sense of the lift and turn of the wheel here. I like in particular the build towards the revelation of the theme. Very nicely handled.

  21. Susan – What fun this was – always loved the carnival and fair – and so happy when finally tall enough for the big kid rides! K

  22. kkkkaty says:

    I love the blooming onions;-) Also so appropriate for this time of year…

  23. doncarroll says:

    very nice susan. i knew it was the fair right away:)

  24. tigerbrite says:

    Super poem. You describe the feelings so well 🙂

  25. Emily says:

    Beautifully captured. Now I really want to head out to the fair…

  26. zongrik says:

    is this the line we dare to cross?

    i really never found rides that dramatic, just fun!! but i guess if you like fear stuff (like horror movies) looking at it like you are crossing a line could up the adrenaline


  27. Myrna says:

    You made me revisit memories of the carnivals and ride parks of my youth. Nice write.

  28. ds says:

    You took me right back to the County Fair of my childhood, and the carnivals of my daughter’s. She did dare the Ferris wheel. Great write. Thank you.

  29. The centrifugal force reminds me not of the Ferris Wheel, but of the big wheel where you’re strapped in and all facing each other; then it spins and finally tips on its side. That’s for me – screaming, hoping someone down the line doesn’t lose their popcorn!
    We used to call it the ‘Twirl and Puke,’ ha ha

    This was beautifully done, Susan. The Ferris Wheel, too tame for me. Loved your lights, your images, your everything for this prompt! Amy

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