Poetry Challenge 61

Travel

At the turn of the year, the holidays tempt us to travel to visit family, or, for those of us in the Interior, to visit the sun.  As I prepare to fly south for a week, I’m reflecting on the fragmentary memory of previous flights–images of landscape below, fragments of conversation, faces in crowded airports, the adrenaline of rushing down corridors to make a connection.  I remember waking in a plane, puzzling sleepily over the words “White lights lead to red lights”–what could that mean?  It seemed profound after 12 hours of flying.

After the flight, the visit, the return, what’s usually left is just the memory of the highlights of the visit, but what about the memory of travel?  What we ask of our bodies and psyches–hurtling at high speeds through the atmosphere, dropping briefly into unknown spaces with unknown people–is extraordinary.

Write about the lost moments in airports or on planes; make a collage of impressions and see what it forms into.   Post it as a comment and I’ll add it here.

————

Jan 15

A response from Greg Lyons, from his new blog 21st Romantic

Alaska

She falls on her knees to help him
smash the lid of his suitcase shut.
He pulls the tongue back, tightening
the covering with each tooth

clenched. The motion makes a noise
like the turning of an empty stomach
as if this is the first time they’ve talked
about this moment, a whisper

gasping between them. Before the zipping
completes, a sleeve spills out and she stays
his hand with her hand. He nods,
defeated. Their fingers work the sleeve back in

to zip. His bag rolls behind him and her eyes
have bags holding the luggage he has left.

———————————–

Here’s mine.  I’m still processing my recent travels, and will post more on the trip.

(I still haven’t figured out how to copy poems into a post without the extra spaces.  Sometimes it works as with Greg’s poem, but mostly not.)

Pre-dawn, Orlando Airport

Sky above runway: swimming

pool blue, streaks of lemonade

and tangerine, a white cartoon

vapor trail dividing night

from morning.  Dazed awake,

we wait to bolt into air, one

more thrill taking us home.

 

An hour ago, at the curb,

in moist air, you and I

patted backs.

Under my palms, the bones

of your spine curved, a flightless

bird.   That long leisure,

such hard work, bends you.

The sky lightens, a wash

of sun across the waiting room,

each passenger wrapped

in stillness, meditating

the astonishment of flight.

The embrace

 

of memory: one minute a child

listening to dishes clatter

in the kitchen, wrapping

deeper in quilts, hearing

a rumble of voices, a name

that sounds like ours

blinking through dreams

like last night’s

firefly.

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2 Responses to “Poetry Challenge 61”

  1. Greg Lyons Says:

    Here’s my entry!

    Alaska

    She falls on her knees to help him
    smash the lid of his suitcase shut.
    He pulls the tongue back, tightening
    the covering with each tooth

    clenched. The motion makes a noise
    like the turning of an empty stomach
    as if this is the first time they’ve talked
    about this moment, a whisper

    gasping between them. Before the zipping
    completes, a sleeve spills out and she stays
    his hand with her hand. He nods,
    defeated. Their fingers work the sleeve back in

    to zip. His bag rolls behind him and her eyes
    have bags holding the luggage he has left.

  2. mattiespillow Says:

    Thanks, Greg! I’ve added your link to my Writing Sites list and will add the poem to the post, along with one I wrote in the Orlando airport. I’m looking forward to following your site (and will work on figuring out how to post links to this one on FB).

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