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?

Unearthing Sky

Under a spooning dome of swollen sky, they gather in swirling kettles. They never know where to look until a vision taunts them. They hesitate. The light of the sky waiting for its own green signal. Then they shine. How do they know to be so quiet?

The red things reflect the reds. The rest of the spectrum disappears into all the red things. Now everything is bathed in light. Rainbows crammed into the suitcases of every wave, every particle. The neurotic, misty light searches everywhere, looking for shadows to expose. It is constant. Seeing makes it confess to this persecution of the dark.

If it could only shine inside one, for a while, then we could see them too. The shadows. We could see within them. What on earth could be found in such a place? Light thinks it’s the only thing that matters. But without it we could not see fit to argue. Are we shadows, then?

Hackberry Moon

The untenable bloat
of a star-fed night
the belt of blackened sky
finds the end of its catches
and drawers, breaches the opened

Window of evening
baring to the plebeian fields
a pimpled moon—abruptly
   speeds away toward the dawn
rattling what remains

Of leaden, time-bound constellations
in a hooting, waxing mood
pranking the polished mirror
where the cosmos appear—

Did you see that, dear?

Day and Night

swallow the sky
your sphere is a throat
taking away hunger

fly away into the sky
with the many swollen
empty stomachs

being in the sky
counting on your rosary
the blues liberated from color

deity in the night
empty the clinging motes
of their daytime visions

Texanah

in the North where
the beauty wears magnificent trees
and glacial rock sculptures
they still have to borrow sky
from Texas, Texas is nine parts sky
and blanketing above, that
cloud-boil, above the cities too
where the deer trails are paved
is not a place, not kept, not held, no vault
an Olympic tangle of mind and air
roads chalkline straight
tide pools French-curve shallow
horizon a dazzling shaft of lightsaber
and skylight so thick
you could build a house on it
and think about retiring

Cloud Prone

your puffed up gaudy display
does not impress me yet
seeing one without
seeing them all
I can wait a day or
a decade (how long have I got?)
and each one of them
belched off your assembly line
is better than the last
and I will withhold my applause
until it's over, or until
I am over