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

What People are Saying

"I do Poetry Out Loud because the everyday me is very shy and easily stumbles over words, mangling meaning and botching simple conversations. Yet, when I recite poetry it is an opportunity for me to become someone else––an embodiment of the poem. Slowly, step by step, I think Poetry Out Loud is helping me to become a braver, more confident person, even if I still tremble when I get on stage."
Rose Horowitz
2016 ME POL Champion