POEM: Ghost Writer in the Sky

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

Ghost Writer in the Sky

What was this?
An exhilarating
Or night mare
Taking my breath away
Abridge to wear
A taut rope
In spire
Before me
Behind me
Frayed the win blow
As plumb it
My feat
Measured in , not distance
Seconds from
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 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 …and . 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 , 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 's early career.

Lastly, in my ponderings upon high 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 [this applies to as well; except in this case, it is herstory].

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