Beyond The Pale

A Poem, Written from the Sky Over Texas

I was sitting on the airplane on the way to Ohio, looking out the window at the Texas desert, and I saw something that you’ll never see in the Midwest. There were bunches of big green circles scattered around below me among the square cuts of roads and fences. Apparently the desert out there is so dry that the only way the farmers can coax a crop out of the sand is by using those big wheeled sprinklers that you will see in fields. In Texas, rather than having them roll from one side of the field to the other, they are connected to one central axis about which the sprinklers rotate in a great circle, creating perfect green circles in the desert. Sitting there in the airplane, I wrote this poem about it. It’s clearly unfinished, but I’m not going to do any more work on it, a perpetual fragment.

I hate how we scar her face

these lines we trace over the

bound body of a mother.

on her barren brown parts green circles

show where our machines make their circuits

and flood the sand to coax another

harvest from the tired ground.

These false delineations of road and fence

turn this place into a snap-on world

of child’s construction bricks.

How would an insect take the view from

above my skin? Would he

decry the symmetry of wrinkles

criss-crossed over wrinkles to form

triangles and squares, homestead roads for

the invisible life I nourish.

Would he know that there is

always another above the

view from above where the

delineation of boundary and plot fades.

Or would he, like me,

think his perspective was

high enough-suspended there between

above above and above below?

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March 22, 2009 - Posted by | Poems | ,

1 Comment »

  1. I read this poem three or four times already. Tomorrow you should read it to me over the phone so I can hear its inflection. Reading helps me grasp the words in a specific way, but only the author inflects the poem in a certain way. The Death of the Author may not be such a laudable development when it comes to poetry.

    Suffice it here to say that I like this poem, but I can’t make myself say more right now other than “above above and above below.”

    It’s time for me to go write. It’s a strange time for writing, but it’s a strange time for living. I don’t know where I am right now.

    Comment by wordorgy | March 22, 2009 | Reply


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