Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #5, Winter 2000-2001]


Long Shot Odyssey

Walter Bruno

Canto IV

With his camera we could see
to the compass of humanity:
Texas, Delhi, and Drummondville
were just over the next hill;

we could see to the moon;
he could pull it down
the moon in his lantern
for lovers and owls
and movie moguls;

he could
standby for makeup
go to a close-up
put a flat face on
the pimpled star

clasp hands around a telephotoed cloud
suture the space between us and Mars

all in his Ariflex could he
capture the town's idolatry;

what if we went on a shoot!
launched from the bed
leaving Earth and the phone lines dead
with buttons, collars, whiskey, and a helmet -
with wings!

we'd need a rocket and crew --
out of the many a few;
the dog in Sputnik
blazed a trail
with his odorous tail --

the telephone rang --
somebody asked him to try!
"If anyone doubts we can,
they have never met a Frenchman!"

he was spark to dry wood,
with his studio guests,
the Martian diplomats:
Mare this, Mare that,
zoom it up, pump it down,
two-hundred-to-one is optimum!

a national award
for the most optimistic grin
ever recorded in audition;
a crescent mouth
in a docked and weightless head --
"The competition croaks," he said.

Take a long, unlimited fade
on the jaundiced balloon
that slants to our diminished room;
O melon-sheeted orb
canopy his spine
against the jolt of being just mine.


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