“Final Approach” by Dan Masterson

Jasper Johns

~an oblique rendering of a Jasper Johns canvas
encaustic with plaster casts~

“Permit 66Q6391-1845 hereby issued to Nabilat
Productions for filming to be completed no later
than 09/12/01. Access limited to grid defined by
Vesey, Church, Liberty and West Streets, for
affixation of a 70′ by 70′ cloth bearing the
replication of Jasper Johns’ Target with Four
Faces.” – NYC Office of Film, Television, and
Broadcasting, August 03,2001.

Twin spotlights blast the night
Sky high from the bullet-proof
Windows, flicking shards of light
Into their stainless steel facade
That shimmers like giant tuning forks
Stuck in the veined sidewalk here on
Vesey Street. The dark will be held
At bay until the tapestry gets hung,
Its bloody bull’s-eye strung high &
Taut against the 95th-floor extrusions,
Giving their corporate suites the dust
& acrid odor of scorch-blackened tombs.

Two young guns, whose buildings have
All been mountains, are nearly ready
To hang the target, a thing limp as
A shroud, before rappelling back down,
Snapping the hem-grommets to the pitons
They intend to install on the way up,
As they slide handheld willigs along
The window-washer tracks that ascend
To the pinnacle, trusting they’ll hold
The canvas slings they’ll ride in.

They’re giving 10-to-1 odds they’ll be
Down, coiling their mile of rope around
Their stanchions, before the morning
Bells toll in Saint Joseph’s belfry at
The end of the block. But now it’s time
For them to lace on their spirit-gum
Shoes and begin to walk the sunny side
Up, 13 hours before all bells on Earth
Will toll, when the target is hit & torn
Asunder, turning the tower to rubble.



Dan Masterson was elected to membership in Pen International in 1986. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, the Bullis, Borestone, and Fels awards, and is an AWP Award Series honoree, as well as the founding editor of The Enskyment Poetry Anthology. His New and Selected, All Things, Seen and Unseen, was released by The University of Arkansas Press in 1997. His work has appeared in an eclectic array of publications including The New Yorker, Esquire, Poetry, Shenandoah, and The London Magazine, as well as The Ontario, Sewanee, Paris, Hudson, Gettysburg, Massachusetts, Yale, New Orleans, and Georgia Reviews. Final Approach first appeared in Hotel Amerika.