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Tuesday, June 05, 2012


by David Feela

Harold Lloyd in Safety Last

The superhero always hangs from the edge
since the first reel of fantasy time,
only seconds left before evil
steps out to the ledge

sporting black steel-toed boots
and a smile that reeks of pleasure.
The situation appears helpless,
hopeless to us,

                Close-up on the face of a clock,
                a frizzle of wires like Medusa’s hair
                leading to the bomb already thinking boom

but wait:

the evil one drops his titanium toothpick—
the superhero sees it fall, curls his split lip to catch it,
clenches the toothpick between his teeth
and prepares to launch it with his tongue

at such a velocity the toothpick will lodge
in the face of the clock,
prevent the minute hand from reaching high noon:
only three seconds left:

                Close-up on the evil face
                suspecting his jig is up, sweat
                trickling now, the smile
                shifting to a tight little grimace...

The credits roll,
no need to explain how it all works out,
the last three seconds
stretched to fifteen minutes, time

turned elastic for the sake of a cinematic snap.
We go along with the gimmick
film after film, saying
how riveting the whole story seemed,

thinking from the edge of our seats
if we just hang on
that’s all,
if we just hang on.

David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays, How Delicate These Arches  , released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.