November 14, 2008


The giveaway’s the eyes: no real elan,
apologetic, the focus out of whack
as I pedal onto the wire to show I can

compose a villanelle, like anyone
who, through with nets and tethers, has the knack,
whose eyes should wellneigh radiate elan

despite the skimpy audience’s deadpan
stare, who’s finally able to attack
the line the uninitiated doubt they can.

“There’s better music in a broken fan,”
I hear old timers sigh, jarring me back
to where my eyes bleared from low elan,

when I lost balance and a quarter of my tan.
I’m breathing hard, confronted with my lack
of poise on the wire, trying to show I can

prevail when shit’s inquiring after fan.
I’m almost there, dear friend; don’t turn your back:
just look at them film me now, pumping with elan,
wired on closure, this beauty in the can.

—William Trowbridge
first appeared in Artful Dodge.

Posted by dwaber at November 14, 2008 03:40 PM