POEM: Ghost Writer in the Sky

This poem, weather a dream or a nightmare, plays with that often thin line in life between terror and hope.

Ghost Writer in the Sky

What was this?
An exhilarating dream
Or night mare
Taking my breath away
Life suspended
Abridge to wear
A taut rope
In spire
Before me
Behind me
Frayed the win blow
As plumb it
My feat
Measured in time, not distance
Seconds from heaven
With no safety net
Stretching my neck
Could knot
Free me
In the end
Much too my relief
And pants for heir
A wake
My feet on the ground
My head in the sky
The tallest tell
If I’ve ever seen won
Ghost writer in the sky

This poem draws on a couple of personal experiences that fill out this narrative poem. First, a tip of the hat to ghost riders in the sky; that is not “mine,” except culturally in some sense. Also, the image of a tight rope walk is driven by the movie, “Man on a wire,” about Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center, an almost unbelievable stunt.

The “hanging” narrative in this mixed metaphor comes from a short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce. I read this story for a college English class, where we were discussing possible endings for stories. This story is told in first person by a man being hung on a bridge by soldiers. The man vividly envisions an escape…but is ultimately hung. Such is life…and death. The professor, in a routine setup I imagine, asked, “Could a first person story truly be written by someone who dies at the end of the story.” Unbeknownst to her literal mind, she had walked into my trap. I said, in cool, deadpan equanimity: “Yes, of course.” She predictably said, “How could that be, he was dead?” Stating the soon too be obvious, I said, “He was a ghost writer.” The palpable groan this elicited was priceless.  Yep, a gem from Top Pun’s early career.

Lastly, in my ponderings upon high ideals in efface of brutal, on-the-ground realities, I have said that it takes a big man to have your feet on the ground and your head in the sky. The wrest is history [this applies to women as well; except in this case, it is herstory].

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