Poets' Corner: Feela With Lesson For The New Year

369-en-610x250We tend to think of the beginning of the New Year as a cosmic white-out: bad things disappear; hope springs eternal. Regular TIO contributor David Feela is a retired teacher, poet, free-lance writer, and workshop instructor. His writing has appeared in hundreds of regional and national publications since 1974, including High Country News, Mountain Gazette, Denver Post, Utne Reader, Yankee, Third Wednesday, and Pennsylvania Review, as well as in over a dozen anthologies. Feela’s feeling on the New Year seem refreshingly matter-of-fact: It starts out as it ended, a cliffhanger. The White Hats might win. Might not. Nothing is certain but change.


Box Office Lessons for the New Year


The superhero always hangs from a ledge

since the first reel of fantasy time,

only seconds left before evil


steps up 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,


catches it, clenches the toothpick

between his teeth and launches it with his spit

at such a velocity the toothpick lodges


in the clock’s face, prevents the minute hand

from reaching midnight:

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.


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