Sign By George Starbuck

Virgin, sappy, gorgeous, the right-now   
Flutters its huge prosthetics at us, flung
To the spotlights, frozen in motion, center-ice.

And the first rows, shaken with an afterslice
That’s bowled them into their seats like a big wet ciao.   
O daffy panoply O rare device

O flashing leg-iron at a whopping price   
Whipping us into ecstasies and how,
The whole galumphing Garden swung and swung,

A rescue helicopter’s bottom rung   
Glinting and spinning off, a scud of fluff,   
A slash of petals up against the bough,

A juggler’s avalanche of silken stuff   
Gushing in white-hot verticals among   
Camels and axels and pyramids, oh wow,

Bewilderment is parachute enough.
We jolt. A sidewise stutterstep in chorus.   
The other billboards flicker by before us.

Gone! with a budded petulance that stung.   
So talented! So targeted! So young!   
Such concentration on the bottom line!

We vanish down the IRT. A shine.
A glimmer. Something. Nothing. To think twice   
Was to have lost the trick of paradise.

George Starbuck, “Sign” from The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. Copyright © 2003 by University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Reprinted with the permission of The University of Alabama Press.

Source: The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (2003)

Poet Bio