Poets' Corner: Feela With Lesson For The New Year

369-en-610x250 We 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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David Feela

David Feela

David Feela, recently retired from a 27-year teaching gig, was a “Colorado Voice” for the Denver Post. He worked for over a decade as a contributing editor and columnist at Inside/Outside Southwest magazine and now contributes occasional pieces to High Country News’s “Writers on the Range”, as well as a monthly piece for the Four Corners Free Press and the Durango Telegraph. David’s first full-length book of poetry, The Home Atlas, was released in 2009 through WordTech. A book of his essays, How Delicate These Arches: Footnotes From the Four Corners (Raven’s Eye Press) is now available.

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