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Submitted on
August 25, 2007
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17 (who?)
Nobody knows why it’s there:
if it was left by a deity,
or a couple, or a father who didn’t want
a black balloon at the wedding,
they didn’t leave a calling card
when they tied it to the lamp-post
for the climbing boy to find.

Once released the balloon attacks
bobbing off his head and arms
as he clings to the ironwork.
The fall is caused by the distraction
rather than the force itself
and breaks a leg -
he might’ve cracked his head too
on the way down.

A man selling hot rice
runs to the aid of the folded boy
and sees the balloon drifting skywards,
like pollution.

Loning over dusty hills
towards the grey tenement
it finds a dog to tease, bouncing
off the windowpane as it yaps in alarm.
This rouses a drunk man,
who bursts onto the balcony lurching outwards he grabs for it
misses, grabs for it, misses, grabs for...
eight storeys:

The woman carrying bread
encounters her lifeless husband
and her wails are still audible
as the balloon sails across the main road.

Goosing cats and startling drivers and
tempting children into the road and
knocking over ornaments and coffee cups
and whipjerking away in the nick of time
whenever someone tries to clutch it.

The local kids
don’t like this balloon either.
A cluster of them see it fleeting down an alley
so they chase it screeching
and skidding round cobbled corners
and harry it between stained apartments
in inflating swarms.

When it’s finally hounded into the field
and one of the kids gets away a good shot
it dies slowly,
slumps painfully to earth,
cracks, shrinks in the sun.

A booted foot finished the job.
Somewhere in the distance
a dog barked.

All over Paris balloons rip themselves out of fingers
waft out of doorways and windows
and funnel down the roads
to congregate where it lies extinguished.

But they've gathered to celebrate:
we can see them laughing in the zephyr.
I've been thinking about this one on and off for about a year, but it was a ~fotoFRIDAY prompt that rekindled the idea again.

I should highly recommend viewing the French short film, The Red Balloon before reading this. It appears on youtube occasionally, before being taken down by copyright nazis.
Add a Comment:
Deltabeta Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2008
Ooo...Very neat! Est-ce tu sais le language de francais? J'aime francais. :D
AbCat Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008   Writer
Merci beaucoup. Mais, aie! Je deteste francais! :bleh:
Deltabeta Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008
Haha...Vraiment?!? Mais, pourquoi?
AbCat Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008   Writer
J'ai ne forte pas en francais. C'est vraiment.
Deltabeta Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008
D'accord... C'est cool. lawls... Je pense tu est cool. Nous parlons en francais, et je voudrais pas Anglais parce que Francais est meillure. lol...
Itti Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Creepy! I got goosebumps! (Although it's a little cold in here too ;))
I really liked
eight storeys:

Thanks for the line to le balon rouge as well - it's a very well done film that I hadn't had the opportunity to see before.
AbCat Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2007   Writer
Yes. It's one of those films that could never be made now, since they wouldn't dare ask a kid to climb a lamp post or suchlike.

Thanks for reading. :~)
Itti Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh. Yeah there is that.
No problem, I enjoyed it very much :)
FerengCheng Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2007   Writer
Such is life, huh?
This could so easily happen in real life...
AbCat Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2007   Writer
It could? :paranoid:
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