Flier, Flier, Pants on Fire

The air doesn’t need to have cracks in it. You can fall right through the thing itself. It plays with pressure and motion, mussing your hair or pulling your boat against currents on a shifty sea. Cup it in your hand, out of the car window. Blow it. It makes shapes you can hear. It’s there when you laugh, the material of your voice. You suck it in when you’re shocked. Release it slowly and the world becomes relaxed. Breathe it, if you want to stick around to see how this all ends.

The airfoil hypnotizes the sky and we ground-dwellers, with a cocky new take on gravity, call it flight. Aloft, we hold ourselves in a makeshift certainty where heavier-than-air flight is possible, our nerves as jumpy about being seated in the sky as they are when a nagging fear gets us to doubting. The cabin is pressurized, the air outside losing interest in the meaning of weight. Travelers impatient, we race ahead through time, out of this purgatory, rehearsing in our imaginations the getting on with it. But objects are always stationary to the geometry of their own locus. The X and the Y form a point on a plane where the pilot admits, through a crackling intercom, that we’re all hurtling to our destinies.

And she even knows the temperature on the ground for when we get there, but for now, the clouds make faces at us through the windows, and the turbulence flexes our wingtips. Intrepid goers and comers with our itineraries and phones, minds in airplane mode, we submit to continuity and see landing as a kind of taking off into an alternate, less valiant sort of sky. Back on earth we breathe each other’s air with a sense of autonomy, a sense of privacy that is groundless. Meeting and parting, crossing time zones, our connecting flight is the unshuttered air above, the midwife of all our doings. Terminals, they are called, and we keep passing through them.

Airport now in the rear view mirror, flying down the highway, who can ever see how this all ends? It’s all just beginning, is it not?

Swimming to Campeche

I know the air
well enough to bathe with it
feed the fires with it
live with it in me, we in it
delighting airfoils, it rushes
suddenly from pressurized places
into unobstructed sunshine, I’m

swimming to Campeche in
adopted waters of the new rivers*
flowing, oxidizing the ferric mischief with
its snail-flame, interest earning rust
scuttled man-touch, the landfill drifts
on the pant-legs of the gulf
the biosphere perspires, and we

build our cities within the folds
of its soiled laundry, the daytime
programming of geology’s TV
all the while, without
really meaning to
breathing

* Geologically speaking, all rivers are young. See: John McPhee, Rising from the Plains.

Parts Per Million

Because I breathe the way we do
makes me one of  ‘who we are’
and happy knowing you are too

but then again this fence was put
that keeps outs out and ins within
stuck between us way back when

by one of us, which of us two
tried Moses-like to part the air
I don’t recall, was it me or you?