Poem #12: The Big Wheel

The Big Wheel


At such heights our affair
is safe, where
birds are fatigued, and

Our hands hide beneath
the red lip rail, knowing
discretely what we
know above all.

The top takes ten
minutes to reach –
we arrive and
recognize nothing.

Our descent is
rapid, like the spread
of secrets stolen from
boardwalk strangers.

Back on Earth, the thrill
is gone – besides,
you say, it’s far too late
for lunch.

Osaka, 2004


One-hundred dreams
in orbit – rocket backs
sprinkle time about
the bay.

Rays of red and
gold glide down
the wheel’s edge,
and we belong.

You watch the spokes
spin while steel skies
stir your legs, a young
man’s fancy.

Tickets clutched, children
shift in line, the music
behind us lost in
a joyous haze:

“I say a young man
ain’t nothin’
in this world
these days.”

@NBF 4.24.2009


Osaka, 2004



The biggest Ferris wheel I ever rode was the Tempozan Harbor Village Ferris wheel, which I affectionately called “The Big Wheel.” These inventions have always intrigued me with their limitless possibilities, both literal and metaphorical.

The lyrics quoted in part two belong to Mose Allison, from his song Young Man’s Blues.


One Response to “Poem #12: The Big Wheel”

  1. “sprinkle time about
    the bay”

    Great lines.

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