‘Carousel Girl’ by Mandy Gibson (FreeSpace 3)

21 Apr

Flashed, Blinked Away, Passed On


Welcome to poet and writer Mandy Gibson’s third and final FreeSpace part of her project ‘Flashed, Blinked Away, Passed On’ in which she re-visits a-work-in-progress project of hers:

‘This project for ArtiPeeps is the culmination of a larger work, which was to have been a book but has decided it wants to be something more fluid. Loosely titled PinPoint, the plan for the book comprised several dozen micropoems from the welloverthought account accompanied by abstract B&W photography. Nine of these appears in the first ArtiPeeps slot  with the next two slots devoted to the longer pieces written to tie the book together. These are moments in time, flashed, blinked away and passed on.

The book was, and thus this project is, dedicated to the writers of Twitter (members of EV12, and others who work in its strange, tiny feather-lined tentacles). It’s also for the anxious, the brave and the cocoons in between…and for the Nine, without whom my words are just noise.’

You  can find Mandy’s first FreeSpace here and her second here




Carousel Girl


her eyes opened to coloured lights
one flashing different to the rest, her cries
mingling with the chant of a slightly off-key pipe organ
waltzing wheezy the damp of a morning mist

small and wrinkled, swaddled by hands unseen
her dream of liquid warmth subsided
sideshow sounds filled her ears

her first impression the vision of her grandmama
cooing, she also swaddled in ribbons and shawls
grandpapa emerging from a cloud of mist and smoke
to poke at her chuckling, then swinging away

swinging…everything moved from side to side
bridles of frozen horses, mythical creatures
the forever-still carriage on which she lay

she looked past their faces to the blur of the world
pieces of things stretching and slipping
her view of the world turning (for don’t all worlds turn?)
gliding past before she could point and stare

to a casual observer, standing below
a bundle of stuff was left on a seat
maybe a little girl left her dolly, or rather a dolly left a girl…

her first tiny steps went counter-clockwise
holding tight to grandmama’s hand as the platform spun
the other way around, walking almost backward
leaning on the hard unbreathing noses of the horses

and she didn’t, tiny toddler that she was
stop to ask why they never moved
nor why the view beyond them slowed but never stopped

in time she sat upon the horses, climbed over the carriages
waving at her grandpapa as he smoked and pulled levers
grandmama said it was “good for business”, a pretty girl
having the time of her life, drawing in the customers

what were customers?
sometimes other children would be lifted into her world
and they would stare at her, lollipop filled faces

until a shout from beyond the spinning space
would make them turn and wave, like she, except
as they rounded one corner a dark shape waved back
and a flash of light made them blink, and gurgle

somewhere “out there” there were other people?
people she did not know, and they
did not spin as she did, swinging around in an endless parade

one day grandmama emerged from the vortex
within the spinning horses and put up her hair
she sat patiently watching the lights go by until
she was told “you’re a lady now”

and so she sat on a carriage, and gazed
dignified and upright, too big for the horses
a living beauty amongst the paint and mirrors

for the mirrors in the middle showed her face
where she became older, and behind her spun past
a constant repeating stream of the same seven stalls
striped canopies hawking, while she became older

clusters of people, holding hands and whispering
adults and children flashed by, and sometimes
a young man would stop, and stare

he came, every day for a year
sometimes with his hat in his hands, sometimes a rose
and watch her go past over and over
sometimes reaching out his hand, but never speaking

she wondered why he never spoke
and why when the world slowed he never
stepped onto the platform to sit beside her

the sign beside the shed where grandpapa sat read
“adults may only ride accompanied by children”
and that was that, young man, come back with your children
and in time, and in the way of his world, he did

she watched as he stood gazing while his new wife bought a ticket
she watched as he waved to her and their child
she watched as they disappeared in the mist and smoke

in time, she began to seem withered and small
wrinkled, swaddled in ribbons and shawls
noticed how the sun rose later and set earlier
wondered how her grandparents didn’t age at all

the nights became colder, the days quieter
sometimes the only sound was the pipe organ
the only company the fading faces of the horses

time and the weather wound its way around the crowd
taking them away to their warm lively homes
a few quiet days and the fair closed its gates for the season
and the carousel slowed, grinding slow, to a breathless halt

with a jolt she sat up to a stillness unknown
seeing one light flashing different to the rest
different to all of the others around, and silence

her skin now silent and still, her heart no longer moving
she closed her eyes and softly withered
her prettiness turning to sawdust and flecks of paint
carried away in the first of the snow

floated above the town beyond the fairground
watched as a different world turned beneath her
waved to herself in the water

and within the heart of the carousel, within the bosom of winter
grandmama paints new smiles on wooden horses
while grandpapa carves a new girl
a pretty, waving girl, for the coming summer



Mandy Gibson is a creator of random things, mostly poems and the odd short story. She has been published twice (in the anthologies TimeLines and Brave the Bullies Together), has been involved in group writing projects (most notably @echovirus12), narrated an album of music based on the writing of Jeff Noon (with UK band The Forgetting Room) and has edited/proofread for fellow writers. She occasionally mutters about the existence of larger work which may see the light of day when she can get her brain to pay attention for five minutes.  You can visit her on Twitter at @welloverthought, or at http://welloverthought.tumblr.com.


We’re thrilled to be featuring Mandy today as part of the launch of our Kickstarter Campaign for Transformations. Check out our project here. 31 emerging creatives, creating 1 contemporary re-working of Ovid’s Metamorphoses exhibited in September at Hanse King’s Lynn, Norfolk England!

Be there at the start and help us make the virtual real!


Tomorrow  we will be featuring our creative resident Ben Cooper in his third residency space. You can find is previous two slots here and here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: