Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't Jump Off This Thing, You Don't Have Wings



An essay by RBM about BASE jumpers –– parachutists who prefer fixed objects, or Buildings, Antennas, Spans, and Earth –– has just been published over at Suss: Another Literary Journal. Here's an excerpt from "Don't Jump Off This Thing, You Don't Have Wings":
These are the last words many BASE jumpers utter. Not a prayer, not “I love you,” just “See ya!” The man’s body leaves the platform in a kind of forward-rotating cannonball. His fingers grip the exposed skin of his shins, concentrating enough centrifugal force around his midsection to become an Olympic high diver, a human flywheel turning once, almost twice. Clack! Already he’s coming out of the rotation, becoming a distant fleck of color against the south wall of the canyon. I can see his skinny legs flair wide—just a body now falling to earth. Clack! He’s too small to pick out with my lens. It’s not clear he’ll survive this. The bridge crowd leans forward. Pop! An oblong shape erupts against the granite, slowing the jumper’s fall just before impact. He’s already whipping his canopy back toward the river, sailing for the shoreline in an arc that draws cheers.
You can follow Suss and Lintel, Sash, & Sill Press on Twitter @lsspress. A definition for suss? "To discover or realize information," says Urban Dictionary, "usually with a level of intuition playing a role."

From the archives: our slideshow of the jumpers at last year's Royal Gorge Games, which were canceled this year.



Update: "Don't Jump Off This Thing, You Don't Have Wings" is now featured at Byliner.com.

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