Another shooting? How about some…

 

 

 

Thoughts & Prayers

This is for the gun gods
the My AR-15 weighs a ton gods
the doesn’t matter what you did you’ll still get done gods
the church mass massacre calling home the nun gods
the draw in the raffle see what weapon you’ve won gods
the pop the kid with the plastic pistol playground fun gods
the if you’re white it’s alright, if you’re black better reach for the sun gods
the stop!-I’ll-shoot-you-in-the-back-if-you-run gods
the guns got safeties and you got none gods
the present is dystopian w/o the future’s set your phasers on stun gods

we have not yet spilled enough blood
& there is more to spill
we have not yet spilled enough blood
& there is more to spill

we beseech you, grant us
        gats for teachers & straps for preachers
        toolies for tots & toasters for teens
        glocks for girls & biscuits for boys
we need burners & heaters
               heat & street sweepers
        a piece for peace of mind
        a problem solver for algebra time

grant us the weapons we need for
        elementaries & junior highs
        movie theatres & senior highs
for night clubs & churches
for shopping malls & other houses of worships
for concerts & pool parties & county fairs & baseball practice fields

we have not yet spilled enough blood
& there is more to spill
we have not yet spilled enough blood
& there is more to spill

our arms dealer who art in heaven
hollow points be your game
your amendment come, your will be done
in schools as it is in cinemas
give us this day our daily clips
and forgive us our friendly fire
as we forgive those who fire against us
and lead us not into gun regulation
and deliver us from safety
for thine is the gun show
and the power and the gory
forever and ever
bang bang

 

 

How to Poetry Better (*w/ apologies to Fischli &Weiss)

The Guggenheim Museum here in New York City recently closed a wonderful retrospective of the Swiss artist duo of Peter Fischli and David Weiss. For those unfamiliar with their work (as I was), I suggest reading this from one of the Gallery Guides who posted on the Guggenheim Museum’s blog. Explore the site further to learn more about the exhibit.

 

One of the things that struck me about the retrospective was the infectious sense of play that clung to the works and also influenced museum goers of all ages. You could hear laughter and sighs of contentment, bursts of Aha! as jokes or visual puns sunk in; the entire space was filled with the buzz of people not just talking and reacting to the art, but feeding off its energy and fun. I’m currently working on a poem that more directly deals with the themes of Suddenly This Overview and some of the popular opposites that emerge there. But this present blog post comes inspired by a completely different piece in the exhibit, the Large Question Pot (1984), an enormous painted polyurethane and cloth vessel, filled with dozens upon dozens of questions on the inner wall, written in German in various colors.

large question pot
Photo by Philip Greenberg for the New York Times

 

In keeping with the theme of play (and, in some cases, the juxtapositions found in popular opposites), I wrote answers to some selected questions that the curators translated for the exhibit. These answers, at times short poems, or even poetic bits, or simply sharp responses, were written in quick bursts, as the muse struck, with no rhyme or reason necessarily to unite them, other than the poetic exercise itself. At some point I’d like to find translations of all the queries inside Large Question Pot (my German being, well, non-existent), to continue exploring what Fischli and Weiss bring out of me with their work. Until then, you’ll need to be content with these selections.

 

 

 

 

 

A Kettle of Answers to

Select Queries from Large Question Pot

When does the money get here?

Tuesday. As long as I get the burger today.

Should I put a red hat on?

No.

Should I sing?

And dance. But no beatboxing. Or humming.

Or mumbling. Or made up lyrics. Read the

karaoke screen for gods’ sake!

 

To whom is the moon useful?

Wooing lovers & lost wanderers & whitening

launderers & leaping wagyu & wage deficient laborers &

lonely werewolves & star-struck stuck strivers lacking in accuracy

Am I being watched?

Nice tie.

Should I invade Russia?

Napoléon: Non.        Reagan: No.

HItler: Nein.                Genghis Khan: Maybe.

        McDonald’s: HELL YEAH!

Should I go to the zoo?

Old MacDonald: But there are so many creatures on my farm

Ol’ Dirty Bastard: Brooklyn zoo!

Ol’ Man River: Roll along, jus’ roll along

Old Man: No, The Sea

Who governs the city?

Mr. Mayor, cousin to the congressman, son of the

senator, consort to the queen, lackey to the lords,

monkey for the mob, that sniveling sot standing at the open bar.

Why must I always fight?

Because of your honor. I’m a man

hero dreams etc, etc

Should I lie?

awake at night the mind swarming with thoughts lapping worries in photo-never-finishes?

saying the thing which is not? I love you.

down? Only if the ache has reached the tips of your fingers

Am I the chosen one?

Let’s review. She chose you and divorced you. They hired

the other candidate. The bouncer left the velvet rope up.

They skipped your number at the butcher’s. They called another name

down on The Price Is Right.

Sans scar, sans midichlorians, sans hammer, sans scantron, sans prophecy,

sans sword, sans portent, sans oracle, sans sacrifice, sans adoptive parents,

I’m gonna go with no.


Is there another bus?

The SMS says six minutes and the schedule says

yes and the queue says probably and the traffic

eventually and past experience at some point and

all I want is a window seat and a courteous driver

 

Why are the forests silent?

With no hikers and no bears and no trees or leaves or

loves falling, they’re really just enjoying the peace.

Do I know everything about myself?

A. YES                C. Maybe

B. NO                  D. Can I?

E. ALL or NONE of the above

Why can’t I sleep?

GCS nighttime

Who will pay for my beer?

On Tuesday, when Wimpy catches me back for

that burger, I got your beer.

Where are the galaxies moving to?

On up. To the east side. Where they’ve finally got a piece

of the pii-iii—ie.

What does my dog think?

IMG00016-20110103-1419

Do I stink?

Yes. At many things. But not hygiene. I bathe like nobody’s

business. Soaps and scrubs and shampoos and exfoliants

keep me clean. But they’re no help to my math skills,

flirting, dancing, drawing, and picking the fastest line at the market.

Was I a good child?

Grandma J: Indeed, the family’s Great White Hope

Grandpa L: I won’t get to see

Grandma L: Save the one time I drove you, wiperless, in the rain

Grandpa F: I won’t get to see either, but drink this beer, it’ll open your appetite

Grandma E: You’re too young to be bad, and I definitely won’t get to see

Mom: That’s my boy

Dad: Until you got your license

Brother J: Hell no, you just got away with it

Sister A: Probably-obably


Is the New Ice Age coming?

–Man, are they making another one of those movies?

or, alternatively,

–Of course, and the polar bears are more than a little impatient.


How far can one go?

Space-You-are-here-950x320

Is everything a game? And is it over?

If yes, up up down down left right left right

A B B A start select start. Then 99 lives.


Am I not right to ask?

it’s just that I never ask the right

questions or proffer the right answers

she: can I get your number? me: really?

she: flirts. I flirt. 20 minutes. Dammit I should’ve asked for her number.

Should I go? Should she stay?

Is she coming? Is she going? Is it love? Is it

like? Is it over yet? Is it really starting?

How will I know? How will I know? How will I knooooow?

Who you gonna call?

Naughty? Nice?

Candidate A? B? R? D?

When does it end?

 

 

From the Garage to the Studio–DIY Sculpture Poetry

In an effort to switch things up a bit, the poem for this post,

“Picasso the Sculptor Sculpting Sculptures Scrupulously and Scrappily in his Workshop”

will simply be presented as audio, with a gallery of photos showing some of the works mentioned in the poem. A post at a later date may include the text of the poem.

 

 

Your “Yo Momma” Jokes are so old, I wrote an elegy

"Midnight" Plays mid-night in the Middle of the Cacophony of a Bar I Frequent
for Tommy


So it was late one night in a sports bar &
	restaurant, the kind where the TVs are shiny black &
		hi-def & numerous, hanging on walls like finished
	framed tableaux in an artist’s studio, displayed
for the visiting curator who may or may not buy any of these
	finished pieces, but they’re showing all the highlights of our modern-
		day mass entertainments with the red & white team
	gunning past the blue- & white-striped lads playing the foot
ball you play with your feet & another screen
	with the blue & red guys smashing the black &
		silver fellows while they battle for the football you handle
	with your hands & on another screen the orange ball is stuffed in a hoop
& on another the stick hits the white ball & you can almost
	hear on another screen the grunts & racket of shuffling ladies from one
		side of the clay court to the other & there’s
	no sound from any of these screens, the aforementioned
sports bar opting to pump popular hits through the speakers
	& I’m sitting there, flanked by friends,
		fringed by friends of those friends & on the speakers
	I hear A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight” & everything
around me stops & I’m suddenly whisked back over 20 years
	to that night in my car where the CD player kept
		playing track after track on that album & our heads
	were nodding in unison & in synch we both bust out with
"Intensity, most rappers don’t see it / Spirit wise,
	musically you gotta be it!"  & I reach to turn down the volume
		& we both look at each other to agree that even then we
	felt a crisis in hip hop coming on & that our favorite
emcees & DJs weren’t getting the attention & accolades
	they deserved because lesser cats with weaker raps were easier to play
		on the radio & thank goodness we could hit the
	track back button & hear “Midnight” again or turn
to “Award Tour” as an apt send off as we leave the parking lot
	behind the theatre & turn north to take you
		home.
& it’s late in this sports bar & I think
		how long you’ve been gone & I try to remember our
	last conversation as I replay in my mind the montage
sequence of how we lost touch after leaving junior college
	& phone calls every couple of months changed to a couple
		calls a year & how we used to see each
	other every day & had lunch together often &
how we used to play the dozens between classes &
	before rehearsals & never worrying for one second that
		your your momma jokes or my momma jokes would cut
	to the quick & I think now that subconsciously
I carry on these quick quips with my sister & friends &
	co-workers in a nod to your absence though no one
		ever has the comebacks you did & some lack the good sense to
	remember it’s all in jest & just as “Midnight” starts
its second verse here in this sports bar with the blonde bombshell bartender
	whose bright white smile reminds me of yours I think about
		how great it’d be for you to be in the chair beside me
	egging me on to flirt with said bartender inflating the
courage & the ego in me the way my tall beer wouldn’t &
	I wonder if you’d be surprised at the intro-
		vert I’ve become & my tendency to sit quietly &
	observe & be Q-tip’s nocturnal animal & I think if
you were here we’d think about putting some poetry to a
	beat & then I remember that time listening to
		Guru rap about it being “Mostly Tha Voice” & you looking at
	me to say I had the voice & laughing & pumping
your fist before giving me a high five & that night is on
my mind, the night is on my mind, the sun’ll still
	shine.
		& I remember I’m stuck in this sports bar late
	on a Sunday night & I’m two beers & two shots in, but
no one knows I’m back in that godforsaken East Texas
city pulling my own CL Smooth reminiscing over you because
	A Tribe Called Quest called you back from
		the past & here I am in that sports bar thinking
	how Boyz II Men told us how hard it would be
& how hard it is now to think that I never
	really told you & despite all these TVs &
		the eye-catching blonde pouring another pint, the night
	makes the aura, the sports bar the soundtrack & outside
the way the moon dangles in the midnight sky
and the stars dance around, hey yo I think it’s fly
	& I think the memory has that intensity, & I nod my head, still
		in unison to yours, thinking you’ll see it,
	knowing you’ll see it, & then I slow down as
the song fades into some more current obnoxious hit
and that night's on my mind
the sun will still shine
but that night's on my mind
& you still shine
and that night is on my mind
the night is on my mind
the night
This poem contains a line, and plays with other lines, from the song "Midnight" by 
A Tribe Called Quest.

“It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you”

After a much too lengthy hiatus from the Waxy&Poetic blog, I’m back to continue with regular posts. Since I was AWOL during National Poetry Month, feast your eyes on the collected haiku that were daily posted on Twitter during April.

 

Until next week, enjoy!

 

*****

 

After one drink, I’m
honest with others. After
a few, with myself.

 

*

my original:

Au bord de la Seine:
bouteilles de rouge vides,
trop de lumières.

 

and my own translation:

On the banks of the
Seine: empty bottles of red
and too many lights.

 

*

I know for whom the
Bell tolls: Zack, Kelly, Jessie,
Screech, Slater, Belding.

Lisa discovers
her Twitter snub. She reaches
for the bathtub gin.

*

Absence of haikus
does not denote haikus of
absence, but silence.

*

in the pine box: one
hand-scribbled obit, Miles on
vinyl, one corkscrew.

*

Alone in bed and
smelling your pillow. My hand
feels nothing like you.

*

rope hanging above
the desk: dusty. noosed. strong. still.
long stretch, deed long done.

 

*

a tanka:

Elevation: six-
teen hundred nine meters. The
air’s thin and cool, but
not the reason I cannot
breathe. Denver. Pop. minus one.

 

*

Billets doux, sonnets—
stuffed to closet-box-bottom
for want of a match.

 

*

This is a test of
the emergency haiku
system. Don’t panic!

 

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Sound the Bard aloud.

 

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Eat that violin.

 

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Seek out Big Mamma.

 

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Mimic Whitman’s breath.

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Get hysterical.

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Starving minds should feed.

In event of real
poetic emergency:
yawp naked, tromp clothed.

 

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Risk absurdity.

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Address the reader.

In event of real
theatrical emergency:
Shatter the fourth wall.

In event of real
artistic emergency:
Collage with newsprint.

In event of real
poetic emergency:
Read Ferlinghetti.

 

*

[this is not my time]

America, present day

[this is not my place]

 

*

Mountains echo the
wailing; beached sands dry the tears.
Earth is unhappied.

 

*

I’ve cultivated
a discerning palate,
but no taste for your loss.

 

*

Democracy speaks:
Receive your voice when you make
fat contributions.

 

*
I’m not an object
of desire, just an object
not for collecting.

 

*

Hello. Hello. What
do you do for a living?
Read novels & dreams.

& you? What do you do?
Nothing so noble. I
rouse disappointment.

 

*

a final tanka:

 

sitting on bus bench
my eyes alert, Canon in
hand. Kid next to me asks
“What’s with the camera?”
“I write poems the hard way.”

Remember when L.L. said “…sometimes I stare at the wall…”?

Traces…Fragments…Figments

or

bedroom as

“…one message…”

and then the voice, honey (?) coated

    It’s…I know you weren’t expecting this call,

    but I thought you should know…”

            I placed the phone on the pillow beside me,

            a catch in my throat

*

on the mattress, closed,

    leather-bound, makara-colored cover beneath my left hand

        in the right, a still-capped pen

    wondering if ever it would write

*

the night stand—one corner balancing books

a tulip-shaped flute, glistening from the rosé

    bubbling inside—I couldn’t yet drink

                —on the nose: raspberry, cherry, a bit of rose?

*

lamp knocked to its side, bulb burning

on the wall hands open and close

unlike the child’s game, their shapes

    unrecognizable

*

it should’ve been your voice caught dripping into my ear

it should’ve been your lips on the tulip, your fragrance weighing the air

it should’ve been your cinnamon skin beneath tipsy fingers,

and then my tongue

 

it should’ve been your shadow on the wall

“Tingling like a first kiss, crazier than a death wish…” or just really ekphrastic!

The Kiss

22 February 1930, charcoal & oil on wood panel

painted by Picasso, probably on a cupboard door

It is awkward, yes, but all the better

to practice

You must first, my dear,

lean your head towards me,

hair falling behind

you like waterfalling just before

    the great maw of tropical cave

your tongue, sharp, isosceles

    must invite

you sir, tilting head slightly back

    your upper lip above hers

    your tongue, too, arrowhead, trying to pierce her

keep your eyes open

it is awkward yes

do not touch tongues

    yet

open-mouthed—imagine devouring the other

        engulf breath and voice and time

do not touch tongues

    yet

open-eyed enter the other

mouth, consume and be consumed

    hold there

        first kiss, first loss

        I will sketch you

        it is awkward yes

        two forms always almost coming

            together

         awkward—to enter

            the other

                in voice & breath

                awkward

                forward

                you will not get this back

except perhaps when you open cupboard door.”

the kiss
With apologies for the size, it refused to get bigger.

The Parody’s the thing, wherein I’ll employ humor to make them sing!

Inspired by the image of a coffee mug floating around the social media googlenets, there is great hope (and exciting plans) to make a recording and eventual music video for this little ditty. With both great thanks and apologies to Sir Mix-a-Lot, I bring you

Baby Got Books

Oh my god, Becky, look at her book, it is so big.

She looks like one of those smart guys’ girlfriends.

But you know, who understands those smart guys?

They only talk to her because she looks like a total erudite, ‘kay?

I mean that book is just so big, I can’t believe it’s leather-bound,

it’s like collectable, I mean, gross. Look, she’s just so smart…

I like big books and I cannot lie

You other brothers can’t deny

When a girl walks in with an itty-bitty waist

And a bound thing in your face

You get dumb, then I pull up tough

‘Cause I noticed that book was stuffed

Deep with the knowledge I’m seekin’,

I’m hooked and I can’t stop readin’.

Oh baby, I wanna get wit cha, and see a lecture!

My colleagues tried to warn me,

but that book you got makes me so horny!

Ooo, soft- or hard-back, you say you wanna meet in the stacks?

Well choose me, peruse me, ’cause you ain’t that average groupie.

I’ve seen them readin’, to hell with Netflix streamin’

She’s smart, off-chart, got it going in HeadStart.

I’m tired of magazines sayin’ dumb girls are the thing

Take the average scholar and ask him that,

She’s gotta read the stacks!

So fellahs? Yeah! X2

Has your girlfriend got a book? Hell yeah!

Tell her to read it! Read it! X2

Baby got books — “Librarian face with half-price hard-back”

Baby got books! etc

I like ’em bound and thick, and when you read an epic

I just can’t help myself, I’m actin’ like an animal,

Now here’s my scandal:

I want get you home and huh

read out loud huh huh

I’m not talkin’ ’bout Playboy, ’cause literary novels bring the joy

I want ’em real thick and juicy

So read that juicy novel, Reads-a-lot’s in trouble

Beggin’ for a piece of that novel

So I’m lookin’ at youtube videos, lame-brained bimbos, empty heads like O’s

You can have them bimbos, my women will read Calvino.

A word to the thick book readers I wanna get wit cha

I won’t cuss or hit ya

but I gotta be straight when I say I wanna read

Til the break of dawn, this book’s got it going on.

A lot of simps won’t like this song

‘Cause them punks like to skim it and Cliff it

And I’d rather stay and read

‘Cause it’s long and I’m strong and I’m down to get my fiction on

So ladies yeah X2

You wanna read some Bukowski? Yeah!

then turn around, pull it out

Even dumb boys got to shout “BABY GOT BOOKS!”

Yeah, when it comes to females, Cosmo ain’t got nothin’ to do with my selection. Novels, plays, poetry? Haha, yeah, especially from the library.

Baby got books…

So your girlfriend holds a Samsung

Playin’ bootleg tracks from Hanson

But Hanson ain’t got a Kindle in the mix on their Samsung

My smart phone apps don’t want none unless you got books hun!

You can watch TV or Netflix, but please don’t lose those books

Some morons wanna play that hard role

And tell you that the book can go,

so they toss it, and leave it, and I pull up quick to reread it!

So the TV you got is flat, but I ain’t down with that

‘Cause the font is small and the plot gets thickened

And I’m thinkin’ bout readin;

To the eyecandy things flippin through magazines,

You ain’t it miss thing.

Gimme a scholar make me hollah,

Tolstoy and Shakespeare she found ballah!

Some knucklehead tried to diss ’cause his girls read my booklist

He had books but he chose to skim ’em, so I pull up quick to read with ’em

So ladies if the book is bound, and you want a literary throw-down

Dial 1-900-Reads-a-lot and kick them bookish thoughts

Baby got books

“Classics on the Kindle and she got much books” X3

All poetry is political; some politics are poetical.

Reading the Ranting Rainbow

At the big pink building

in the big red state (the second biggest

until you take into account the

        heights of the hair

    widths of the buckles

            depths of the stupidity

        & lengths gone

                    by the gerrymandered godsquad)

sits-in the pink shirted army, crimson-faced

        because confronted with the blackest of hearts.

    Brown uniforms DPS the public lack of safety,

rose red running from foreheads & noses as

    they wade through the gray of maintaining order.

    Blue jeans & pink shoes run ragged

            the cautions of filibuster yellow.

& still the Red tide rolls, as if the T-party had

    the yellow moons on its side, the sun, orange stars.

        Pink hearts wishing on green clovers.

        Blue diamonds in the rough struggle, willing

    to throw purple horseshoes

            at the white milquetoast men.

“Stop!” they say, red light on their health care;

“Go!” they say, green light to bygone eras and errors,

    the green faces of those in pink, sickened

    by the s-curve in mountainous descent.

“Slow down!” they say, yellow-bellied response to

    the hot pink of progress, of parity, of

        personal choice.

At the big pink building

in the big red state

    pink shirts & crimson faces,

        dirtied by Brown uniforms & White Privilege

    fight to no avail

            against the blues of servitude

                the red of loss

                the gray of history’s clouded precedent

And hundreds of miles east

in the state sun yellowed & bleached blond

        black is still the shaded suspect

        white the night watch ranger

            red the blood on the sidewalk

                silver the bullet in chest

                    black the hoodie, black the gun

        and always, all ways

                the gray of uncertainty

                    blindfolded

        unseen, blinded Justice, whether under shined sun or lone star,

            mourns the loss of hues;

                gone the red of valor

                gone the white of innocence

                gone the blue of justice.

But Wait!

The new fall colors are in

                        GSR gray

                        Protest pink

                        Keltec 9MM black

                        Kevlar blue

                        Fascist brown

dress appropriately, you never know whose path you’ll cross.


Oh My! That’s So Ekphrastic!

Ekphrasis, in Greek, means “description.” I’m a big fan of ekphrastic poetry, that genre that, on the most basic level, is writing something descriptive about a visual representation (a painting, a photo, a sculpture). As the Poetry Foundation defines it, “An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the ‘action’ of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.” The Academy of American Poets offers some fine-tuning that syncs nicely with my own work, saying “[M]odern ekphrastic poems have generally shrugged off antiquity’s obsession with elaborate description, and instead have tried to interpret, inhabit, confront, and speak to their subjects.”

Since my first encounters with the poetry of Ferlinghetti, and my first attempts with the flaming giraffes of Dalì, I have grown quite fond of art as inspiration. Thus is born the first poem inspired by the art of David Sweeney. His work, if you’ll forgive the brief, Cliff Notes-style, non-poetic ekphrasis, reminds me of the dream-like canvases of the Surrealists; his paintings make use of collage, of mixed media, which always summon my attention, reminiscent of the way I gravitate to some of the works of Picasso, Ernst or Braque. I am especially drawn to the appearance of text–newspaper clippings, stenciled quotes, scribbled phrases–in his art; the intersection of image and word begging for the poet’s ekphrasis. Lest I ramble on too much, I leave you to look at his œuvre at your leisure. If you find something you like, snatch it up, it’s hard to find good original art these days.

And now, to the poem.

It was first inspired by David Sweeney’s painting #517.

It can also be found at http://www.davidsweeneyart.com/works/b/david-sweeney,paintings, the second painting from the top.
It can also be found at here, the second painting from the top.

The italics (except for the French), including the title, are taken from some articles in the NYTimes regarding air travel. The thrust of the poem, in language and subject, has changed repeatedly, and the last line was a surprise, unexpected in its return to a minor detail in the painting, as I finished this, draft version 1.5.

Whatever Happened to First Class?

First, let’s get things straight. The euphemism for first caste has got to go, cleared for takeoff–always a misnomer misnaming for misdirection. Even before da Vinci’s device and the Wrights’ winged wonder, the ocean-gliding, wave-riding masted masterpieces kept the dividing line pretty clear, offering free passage to free labor for the not-so-free folks packed in the hold, barely holding on to their humanity, barely holding on to their little-scrap lunch.

So what happened to first caste? Classy became the label rather than the behavior, fancy china replacing fine company, fancy curtain replacing fine linen. And in first caste, room to stretch and kick, lie flat as capital’s whore, 300 channels to choose as you charge IMac and IPad and IPod and IPhone and IBeeper and ISnob, sip champagne, the warm wet sandpaper towel wiping from your face the grime of those in the back of the bus, the tail of the plane, the bottom of the boat. High above, the 1 percent fly first class; the .1 percent fly Netjets; the .01 percent fly their own planes.

Meanwhile, tail-side, knees to chest, elbows tucked with three-pretzel packs and chocolate-chip puck, the chosen few of the 99% lucky to escape the surface, grouped into herds by booking for boarding, one movie on one screen, one position for your one-inch seat, unsettle in for takeoff and turbulence.

And on the ground, far below, the (un)lucky 99%, stick in traffic, hostage to the toll road trolls, opt for one of the 300 $ burgers at the 300 fast food joints for the 300 lbs, the only bubbles from the soda machine–bottom caste transport never felt good.

“You go into first class because it’s less horrible than coach.” No cash to pay outright, CapitalOne card hassled to the max? Then it is perhaps with the free upgrade, high miles in your frequent flier club, without mile high club fornicating to give the bumpy flight some purpose. Which seat do you book? Which level are you?

Platinum Premium or Bronze Business, Elite Economy or Cushy Coach
Poached Ivory or Plated Silver, Gaudy Gold or Dazzling Diamond
these are the new
Fabulous First, Satisfying Second, Thirsty Third, Struggling Steerage which were
Captain and mates and crew and slaves from
King and Court and Lords and Serfs. Plus ça change, the more it stays the same.

And somewhere in the middle, betwixt the heaven and the hell, the poet, drifting in his dirigible, observes them all.