FLIGHT

from “The Speed of Life”

Poised
On his iceberg
High above
The boisterous avenues,
He mastered solitude...
Amid decaying residue
Of scoffed,
Rescinded
Longitudes and platitudes
That mapped his life
The artist gazed within.

The corner
Of his mouth twitched
Into a smile. Wry and frayed,
It cracked the glacial
Surface of the lakes
Within his eyes,
Unlatching
Salty water which
Cascaded
To his feet
He mourned a talent
flayed.

Wind slapped him
Through this daze
With murmurs
Of indifferent crowds,
Akin to transitory
Thunder of ovations
He used to get on stage.
Then he recalled
Another, long ago,
Who, strapped to wood,
Disgraced,
Was forced to haul
The perfidy of destiny
Through droves of raging
Philistines, informers,
And disciples -
Spurned by all.
As bold resolve
Unfolded in his breast -
The artist vowed
That this, his final role,
Would be his best.

His naked body played
The wavering refrains
Of cold December rays.
He knew, he made
A striking sight
Up on his bastion’s
Topmost ledge.
The open window
Bound him
Like an unsightly frame
Around a painting
Of Saint Sebastian
At the Hermitage
Or a proscenium
Suddenly too tight
For the immensity of spirit
It enclosed.
“What slighted
Beauty blazes
In this static moment,
plucked from the fainting
stream of mundane days!” -
He mused.
“What beauty still remains...”

The full white curtains flapped,
Beseeching,
Tempting him
To trip the clouds.
Spurned on by breezes
Of the drab
And leaden day,
Bewitchingly
They danced, caressing,
Covering his face.
And he was certain,
Something was familiar
In their folds
That, like a shroud,
Diluted light
To a hypnotic haze.
“Of course,” he thought,
“My cue. When curtains draw,
I take a bow.

I’ll wait
A second more, not yet,
Not now...”

The purity
Of lace before him
Parted. A sigh
Escaped his lips.
A tiny sound,
A ghost of a cry,
Reaping
The essence of this script.
Relaxing
In a practiced swing,
His torso drew
A smooth
And sweeping arch
Toward the ground.
In rumbling
Of the street
He heard applause.
His fingers reached
To make a humble
Sign of the cross...

He felt a piercing jolt.
A brilliant flash
Of colour blasted
Through the abysmal
Grey, igniting cobalt fires
In ashen skies.
Cajoled
And cradled
By boundless air,
He noticed he still clutched
A strip of white,
And waved a last good-bye
To all his fans.
He knew
What they did not—
That he could fly.