Ticker Tape and Marching Bands by Bill Arnott

Ticker Tape and Marching Bands

I’m in the corner of the living room
4-year-old me
standing behind a curtain, with a softening red balloon
stuck to a length of Hot Wheels track
flexible yellow plastic that bends when held at one end
and attached to the flaccid balloon is taped
a torn and scalloped piece of foolscap
on which I’ve printed in strong lettering:

Do’t sink I am here dad, because I am not. Sined Billy.

This I wave from behind the curtain
like a white cloth scrap announcing surrender
the fact “because” is spelled correctly
now baffles and delights
like chimpanzees at Remingtons or rows of Smith Coronas
banging out Hamlet or King Lear
perhaps the hardest part is awaiting dad’s arrival
discovery of my wit, my brilliance
the imminent deluge of praise
it wouldn’t be beyond reason
to be hoisted onto shoulders
lead a parade, with cheering, ticker tape
maybe a marching band

Naturally there’d be scheduling to address
requests to appear on TV
dialogue with Johnny, Ed
likely cajole with Doc
then again I may not be able to stay up that late
so sadly have to let that dream go
be satisfied with the parade
and maybe a marching band
I was thinking this through when dad came home
to find his boy no longer behind the curtain
just seated on the sofa
deep in 4-year-old consternation
with a length of Hot Wheels track and a limp red balloon
all attached with tape to a hand-printed note informing him 

not to sink I am here because I am not

to which he smiled, hugged me
the result much better than Johnny, Ed and Doc
ticker tape and yes, even the marching band
Now, more often than not, that’s exactly where I am

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First published in BPR with Pandora’s Collective Honorable Mention, 2019

West Coast Editor/Poetry Reviewer at The Miramichi Reader -- Website

Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of the suspense-thriller series The Gamble Novellas, the poetry collection Forever Cast in Endless Time, and WIBA and ABF book awards finalist, Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. He’s been awarded for prose, poetry, songwriting, is the producer of Bill's Artist Showcase, and for his eight-year Gone Viking trek has been granted a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society. When not trekking the globe with a small pack, weatherproof journal and laughably outdated camera phone, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, making friends and misbehaving. Watch for the follow-up to Bill’s award-winning bestseller, the soon-to-be-released Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, (RMB Fall 2021).

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