William Trowbridge

And Now, As Promised
April 19, 2013 Trowbridge William

And Now, As Promised

 

How lousy are your prospects when you

sign on for a midnight appearance

as a headless Frankenstein monster

in an all-night Halloween film fest

at the Uptown in downtown Omaha?

 

But there he was, punctual and prepared,

where my chaperoned grade-school pals

and I had just thrilled to Karloff and Lugosi

in The Body Snatchers. How was he to know,

through two peep holes in his paper mache

neck and shoulders, that the first two rows

were filled with Ripple-stoked gang-bangers

from Tech and Central, game for a deep drag

of late-night nastiness. This despite two cops

stationed at each side door, night sticks

handy.

“Gnarrrrgh,” came a muffled

menace from inside his “bloody” stump,

hobnailed boots clomping back and forth

across the stage as lightning flashed on the screen

behind him. Clomp, clomp, a job well-done,

however brief. But then, the overreaching:

down the stairs and into the center aisle.

 

“Unh,” he gasped as the bangers pounced

with chains and fists and boots, on stump

and torso, arms and shins, the mache piece

twisted sideways then ripped off to reveal,

before the cops descended, a balding,

bloody head and, afterwards, as medics

strapped him, shorter now, on the gurney:

that look of dazed, gut-deep astonishment

when a friendly day turns pit bull, preview

of what, so far, we’d only seen in movies.

William Trowbridge’s seventh poetry collection, Vanishing Point, was published by Red Hen Press in April 2017. He teaches in the University of Nebraska Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program. For more information, see his website at williamtrowbridge.net