Lines composed 35,000 feet over Wichita, Kansas
concerning unimportance of a crafted scapegoat on March 26, 2001
A cel phone head in my immediate vicinity,
complains about our trusty airliner, unaware,
that just outside his oval-shaped window,
regal stars can be seen, without looking up,
and constellations scatter the ground below
and drift like magnificent and intriguing epic novels.
My first thought, as I douse my overhead light
and gaze out, is “a fungus has infected this planet.”
But cynicism is cast aside, and I watch more closely.
And think of persons like myself and my parents.
And my grandparents and ancestors and theirs
And Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon and Java
in caves and on hunts and blood poetry on walls
and all the cum and womb that placed my ass
in this flotation device seat cushion
persons made poet, persons made plane
persons made city, persons made lights
persons made fuel, persons made pen
persons made paper, persons made voice
and all for this transcribed moment
that would be gone if not for the desire to reach
into the black leather backpack and immortalize it
Below, in ghostly America, its business as usual.
The pattern of the city is not much unlike the stars.
With tiny differences,
like the spotlight that announces a sale,
and splits the night seven miles up
and through my retina and up my optic nerve
and across billions of nerves and synapses.
Then I see stars that traveled millions of light years
into the same nerves and synapses as the light below
Cars moving on hairstrand freeways,
occupied with Joes, Marys and Rogers.
Jet moves through the atmosphere,
carrying Poet, Darling and Cel Phone Head.
Earth that carries us, spins in space,
while circling sun at eight miles a second,
and nights become days.
And the sun spins around the center of the Milky Way,
which is constantly expanding.
And Darling sleeps innocently.
cities and towns spread themselves out,
in a pattern that proves art is sometimes an accident.
The house dots in suburb cul de sac patterns
contrast the pinball machine city grid.
And radio station towers blink and communicate
some sublime transmission with the tips of the wings.
And Cel Phone Head is wrapped up in his briefcase,
ordering the flight attendant around
and contributing to the proliferation
of the term, “air rage.”