Melissa Balmain: Another Art

Or: The Ghost of Le Pétomane Speaks

(With apologies to Elizabeth Bishop and Anita Gallers)

“Le Pétomane . . . was the stage name of the French
flatulist (professional farter) and entertainer Joseph
Pujol (1857 – 1945). He was famous for his
remarkable control of the abdominal muscles, which
enabled him to seemingly fart at will.” – Wikipedia.

The art of tooting isn’t hard to master−
it’s near-impossible, a marathon!
If you would learn, my friend, avert disaster:

don’t emulate your father, boss, or pastor;
though he may fart, he is no paragon.
To play the buttocks like a concertmaster,

you need a mentor whose command is vaster,
someone like moi, in fact: Le Pétomane.
I knew the key to fending off disaster

was years of soft arpeggios − fast, faster −
that made my cul too sore to sit upon.
Then, only then, did I attempt to master

the rifle fusillade, the trumpet blast or
the bellow of a wounded mastodon.
Too big, too soon will surely spell disaster:

I still recall the day a weathercaster
announced a strange new storm phenomenon;
my elder sister − young, not yet a master −
had blown so hard that, sadly, it dis-assed her.