Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9: Invasion, Poet of the Week, Tracy K. Smith, "The Weather in Space"

My wife and I took our son to McDonald's this evening.  We were killing some time before my son's dance class.  My son went immediately to the kids' area when he got there.  There's a large play structure with slides, soft mats, steps, tubes to climb through. 

Well, when my son started moving through the play structure, he discovered that some person had taken a permanent marker and written messages all through it.  He found the words "tit" and "Fuck Hillary."  And scrawled on one wall was the word "nigger."

We immediately told the manager, who came in, examined the graffiti, took pictures, and then scribbled the words out with another permanent marker.  My son went through the rest of the restaurant, looking for other messages.

I can't explain to my eight-year-old son how the incoming President of the United States has given free license for the worst elements of society to be expressed.  It's okay to hate in the United States of America right now.  To call people names because of race or ethnicity or sexual preference or religious affiliation.  After eight years of President Obama, it feels like I'm living on another planet, like I'm in some kind of alternate universe.

I got a book from a good friend for Christmas.  It is Tracy K. Smith's poetry collection Life on Mars.  It's half science, half science fiction.  An elegy to Smith's scientist father, a nostalgic summoning of the space operas of the 1950s. 

I thought this book would be a good follow-up to seeing Rogue One this weekend, and also help me deal with the incoming invasion from Planet Trump in a few weeks.  Therefore, Tracy K. Smith is Poet of the Week.

Saint Marty wants to remind his disciples:  in space no one can hear you scream.

The Weather in Space

by:  Tracy K. Smith

Is God  being or pure force?  The wind

Or what commands it?  When our lives slow

And we can hold all that we love, it sprawls

In our laps like a gangly doll.  When the storm

Kicks up and nothing is ours, we go chasing

After all we're certain to lose, so alive--

Faces radiant with panic.

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