(The days of the nickel dates are long gone
but the memories do endure
for a pretty young girl of Italian descent
and her stays on this storied shore.)
Stepping first into the crimson lead car
to climb a creaky flight.
Miss Cyclone beams forth a winning grin,
then screams with sheer delight.
A tall tiara and a bright satin sash
proclaim her royalty
while coaster prints cover a cool cotton dress
that fits so fetchingly.
The timorous ride, always slow to ascend,
soon reaches the high first peak.
Gloved hands hold fast to the locked lap bar,
’tis truly no place for the meek.
From her perch, Miss Cyclone can surely survey
the landmarks of Coney Isle.
Where once epic Luna lit up the black night,
the B&B made her smile.
To the west is the site where The Thunderbolt
rocketed her sisters three.
They tore that ride down some years ago
“to protect public safety”
Next over, the horses of Steeplechase Park
gave way to a baseball game.
Dreamland was supplanted many decades before
by some fish and Judge Crater’s remains.
Coming quick to the finish, she sees in the distance,
the frame of the parachute drop.
They put a new coat of magenta on it
though the sky dive was long ago stopped.
The coaster now turns toward Astroland,
the gateway to Dante’s flame.
When this too is gone, that part of the Isle,
will never be quite the same.
The ride at last ended, she steps from the car
waves ‘Hello’ to her family and fans.
Says a word to the press, then boards the “Q” home
a wilting bouquet in her hands.
She will set the tiara upon her night stand,
place the sash in a chest of drawers;
hang her dress on a hook in the front of her closet,
though she won’t wear the dress anymore.
In the darkness the echo of subway wheels
will lull the young woman to sleep.
As she cries, she thinks of the fate of the Isle:
What we sow, we most certainly reap.
(The days of the nickel dates are long gone,
but the memories do abide.
So too will this moment remain in her heart forever
Miss Cyclone’s last ride.)
Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony’s poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, “Thou shalt not steal.”