Month: January 2019

Nothing but Fear Itself

Roller Coaster Ride

I never liked the roller coaster ride, 

Even with a favored girl by my side.

In high school I had to swallow my pride,

And though I remained quite horrified, 

I courted a girl, blondish hair, and blue-eyed,

Who loved that crazy infernal joyride,

Repeatedly testing a wooded hillside,

I pretended enjoyment but remained petrified.


An amusement park had a great roller coaster,

With one controlled fall after another, 

And several gut-wrenching twists, 

With sharp reversing turns in between. 

I always wondered why this petite female teen,

Treasured the ride, time and again.

But there was no denying her happy laughter, 

And endearing fresh smile as we were pulled up,  

To the top the blasted thing, over, and over. 

I suppose the excitement of innocent kissing, 

As we reached the peak of the first gradient, 

Affected my better judgment somewhat. 

So we did do the Rye Roller Coaster ride.


Along the way to the top of the arch,

A feeling of dread grew in my stomach, 

Concern that we might run off the rail,

But worse, was the fear that I might unveil,

My deep apprehension or a stream of vomit 

My half eaten breakfast, like the tail of a comet,

All over everyone in the first rolling “baquet”, 

(It had to be the first car, of course.)  

Something so terrible that it would sure shatter, 

And end my personal world of male swagger,

In front of, or possibly, all over to splatter,  

My classmates and the unsuspecting riders.


But over the top, we would go with force, 

I’d pull her in tight, protectively, of course, 

With my good right arm, whilst keeping,  

A death grip on the safety bar with the left arm.,

Hugging her as close as was permissible,

My date would emit an ear piercing scream,  

Her arms thrown around me apparently keen,

For each wild moment, and then as she’d lean

On my shoulder, and I’d pretend it was routine.

She would say “let’s do it again.”

 (My jaws would be clamped shut so that no one would hear my internal death screams.) 

_but screw up your courage to the sticking place_

Secretly, I could hear Lady Macbeth’s scratchy voice 

Whispering in my ear; “You have no choice, 

So screw up your courage to the sticking place, 

And we’ll not fall, Charlie Boy….”  

Now how the hell did Lady Macbeth know my name?

So, I’d tighten my “rectus abdominis” 

Pulling things together to appear virile and valorous,

Hiding the terror that lay just a bit indecorous,

Preserving an image of graceful demeanor.


After all, I couldn’t let common sense betray,  

Putting what I considered my reasonable fear, on display,

In front of my pretty companion, on that glorious day.

(Certainly they inspected these infernal devices every couple of years, right ? )


So yes, I tightened up my gut muscle, 

And assumed my best Henry V hustle,

“Once more unto the breach, my friends, once more”. 

Walking confidently to what was certainly,

To be my impending, unavoidable death. 

Consoled only, by the lonely, wistful thought,

At least, we would crash to the concrete court, 

Huddled together with our last passionate kisses, 

As the coaster splintered into a thousand pieces.

While all our friends, schoolmates and teachers, 

Exchanged doleful, knowing glances, {in sotto voce}.

“They were such a lovely couple.”

By Hilltoppersx at English Wikipedia - Own work, Public Domain,
Photo: Rye Playland Airplane Coaster circa 1927 Credit: Hilltoppersx at English Wikipedia

Well, I sometimes relive that magical afternoon, 

While riding the nightmare across the bedroom, 

Only to awaken and discover to my gloom,

There were no bugles or bagpipes of doom 

To complement the clash of swords and shields, 

It was just nature sounding a mid-night warning alarm.


Charlie Jensen



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