"Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting"
-- Karl Wallenda
Like Poe's baleful bird in a body suit designed
to befriend the wind, beautiful in black against day-
break in a Manhattan sky, 100 meters up 'plus que
Le Tour Eiffel' and graceful as a 'danseur' at the Opera
Garnier, he is cloudspeak, sky-creature, one foot
firmly on the wire, then the second, as if reprising
rehearsals a continent away, while partners
in crime in the wings swallow their apprehension,
knowing he will check out his balance
from the bank in which only he deposits.
Daybreak in the city that never sleeps,
the divine somnambulist steps out as surely as
a seabird flying overhead seeks salt. Would
that I had been among the throngs gathered
below, ordinary endeavors discarded, necks
craning at the eclipse of the sun, 'grace a' not one,
but eight crossings in the space of an hour
between each tower of the World Trade Center
in the greatest city in the world. And,
he is laughing at his would-be captors,
dancing out of reach, time and time again
until at last they cajole him down, and hand-
cuffed, lead him away, asking 'Why, Why?
to which he replies, 'There is no Why', juggling
a policeman's cap upon his nose. Pardon him? Yes,
they must-- to the hurrahs of onlookers
and into the arms of Erath (or her earthly surrogate)
no newsreel needed, clothing airborne, body-
to body, skin-to-skin, heart to heart. Passion
for life? 'Cest beau comme ca' ...