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Out of Tickets to Ride

I squirm at that phantom hand of smoke, a clawed finger beckons toward a carnie operator, keeper of the wheel in plaid knickers, who winks, “you’re next sweetie”. He rolls the spit-soaked cigar between tobacco teeth just as intuition grabs my shoulder, a mother rescue from the path of a speeding semi, ”watch where you’re going!” I feel a soft veer towards The Giant Swan ride, her curved back hides a smooth bench between wings. I slide in, hold fast to courage, nestled in her neck’s feathered glove, as we float waters of ice rink glass, passing by drama, control and passive-aggression, arms aflail on the riverbank. I point upstream—let them thrash over rocks, submerged trees, against currents fisticuffed in rapids, back to their festival of rat wheels, a scarred horizon to power dollar factories and weave greed carpets for earth ravagers. I wave “Cheerio” and look downstream into Emerald City mists where Horse of a Different Color awaits to chariot through poppy fields of thinkers, tinkerers, minstrels and balladeers, where Papa has his mojo back and a white-throated sparrow rides the typewriter bell—where whirling dervish words rain dance to an audience of zero gravity, shouting “Bravo! to duets of Caruso and Callas—where Dali’s time clock melts the work day and Lao Tzu brushes the question, “self or wealth: which is the more precious?”




Anne Mitchell is a recent empty-nester living in Carmel, California. The Pandemic gifted her solitude, a chance to slow down, observe and write poetry. A year of Wild Writing Circles have been both anchor and flame for thoughts to flourish and become poems.

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