Carol Jenkins


Running away in a dodgem car

I was running away in a dodgem car
I kept changing my mind about which was the right car
when bang, I knew I was in the wrong car
studying ornamental preserved fruit and gothic
lettering that said Pharmacy and Gifts wondering
who took the clouds away and twiddling a piece
of hair faster and faster, only stopping to
occasionally push at the base of the
matching red slits on my thumb and middle finger
so I could see a cross section of epidermis and the
flesh with its lymph serum gloss underneath
I noticed how the room was getting louder and
that the girl two tables along with the straight
brown hair, sitting upright, fiddling with the yellow
sugar sachets sat with her elbows out
listening to the lady across from her,
something metallic fell hard onto the wooden floor
a message comes to tell
me not to listen to this and to put
you in a careful box somewhere safe -
then I have this squabble about real
and imaginary, Dodi - who is
not even my imaginary friend but someone
Phoebe imagined up, and really he was no
trouble at all and a pleasure to have
- as I say to the parents of the good children
who visit - and now he takes sides
with James Evans - who I have
been in love with, though not as much
as I loved Mary - well they say
remember Macaroni - a testament
to the way children will love a word
for the sound of it and have no idea what
it means - who was my best friend - and
I can see him in a whopping Monterey pine
across the waste land at the back
his skinny legs have climbed him
nearly to the top. He’s cartoon
and I don’t need to worry if he falls
which he won’t any way. They are all writing
me notes saying how much
more fun they are than ornamental preserved
fruit which is real and here
then because they have me cornered,
I dress you in jeans and my favourite shirt
make you walk in, right up
behind me and then I pretend
that you’re not there.



Carol Jenkins is a Sydney writer and visual artist whose work has been published in magazines like Heat, Island and Cordite. Her blog is a serendipitous collection of her work ( She is about to launch into audio publishing with the launch of The River Road Poetry Series on 1 December 2007 ( Jenkins writes: “ ‘Running Away in a Dodgem Car’ considers one of my favourite questions, what differences might exist between real and imaginary people when they are mediated by memory.”