A Swarm of Paragliders: A Poem of Abuse

John Kinsella

Over the mountain they vacillate.
Not quite flies over dung – the mountain
is too good for that. And flies land –
these hover, and resist landing as long
as possible. They need the mountain
to stay up there – in their bullshit freedom,
coming down as far away from their launch place
as they can. Setting club records. Causing
distress to old men in fields and kids alone
in farmhouses when their cellphones
are out of range. I type looking up at them
over the mountain. Through camera lenses
they could see the detail of my scrunched face.
They are perverts, though consider
themselves without social boundaries
up there, above it all.
The drifts, lifts, drops, curves and circlings
are sexual. They are frustrated. They are
of the same family as skydivers. When
I was in rehab almost a decade ago
one of the counsellors or nurses or doctors
or all of them suggested I go for a sky-dive,
that its rush, its extremity, would satisfy
any craving that might be lurking
in the place where these things lurk.
I look up at these losers
and wonder if they’ve taken the bait: it’s like that,
soul-fishing, killing the client, the victim:
up there, letting the air and a bird’s eye
view wash over their frustrations,
their brightly coloured chutes full of the sub,
high, luminous, caught up in the mix of control
and where the breeze might take you:
a thermal deceit.