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February 9, 2011
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The astronauts had no rear-view, lying vertical,
eyes to instruments affixed, octopoid arms aflight,
moving eerily as one

practiced organism.
Like college-bound teens, they didn't look back,
the mother's faint tears smothered by

the thunder of flaming engines.
Old films and space museums first alerted their minor selves
to the intoxicating blue of the earth's

throbbing albedo.
In the simulator, they swigged digital earthshine,
complex watertanks faking weightlessness --

the sim just wasn't the same.
Belts unbuckled, floating on ballerina feet, a speechless face
in each porthole, no one noticed the captain's

syncopal silence.
His hypoxic brain unbetrayed by gravity, his limp spine
erect, his outstretched hands drifting clouds,

his eyes wide shut.
In his dream: father sat stiffly at breakfast,
the paper clumped in each fist, with

amnesiac headlines.
Long before Jupiter's great red beauty spot, the iron
hearts of stars, the moon's cephalic

sea of tranquility:
an unbuttered crust of bread, a name tag buried in a pocket of debris,
a sexless slave wage single father, snuffed out

at dream's end.
After reading Makoto Yukimura's first three volumes of Planetes, a manga about an astronaut in the future trying to go from being a space debris collector to the pilot on the mission to Jupiter, I was left teeming with inspiration for a number of space-themed poems. The first one that presented a workable rhythm was this one about space-feinting, which, truth be told, doesn't happen in the books. Something similar happens, and it made me wonder, what would that look like if someone feinted from amazement in zero gs.

No one would notice you clicked off.

So, the feinting space captain's mind presents him with a dream about his own 50s dad, a living-dead man, who maybe spent his entire life in a different kind of spacefeint.

Our parents provide for us (if we're lucky), but we don't always notice what they go through to do it. The child gels everything together, trying their best to single things out and to examine them closely, but the process requires an entire childhood (and sometimes an adolescence) to master, if at all. And even at adulthood, our intrepid space explorer is only able to imagine his father's experience abstractly, as presented by a dream, only to be forgotten again.

Against that, I've compared the earth to a mother (how original!) to show the very conscious way the space captain is abandoning his origins. So, we can presume he knows exactly what happened to his mother, and why he was raised by his single father. So now he's doing the leaving, and the abandonment is in his control. Except, when he looks back and sees the earth for its undeniable grandeur and beauty, he can't handle it, he can't bear the thought of dishing back to his origins what his origins dished to him, so his brain makes a feeble attempt to rationalize his motivations.

As for the imagery, I chose to bring up octopuses because I recently learned that they're one of the only species that doesn't evolve the way the rest of the animal kingdom does. I can't explain it as well as Simone could, were she here, but it's pretty crazy. They're basically aliens on earth.

Also, some octopuses have glowy blue rings on their suckers, like the earth.

The albedo is technically the ratio of the reflective property of the earth's surface. So, the amount of light that the earth absorbs, and the amount that it bounces back into space. The ratio is 0.39, according to Vangelis, though I've read differently elsewhere. Anyway, the albedo is not the name for the blue ring that hovers around the earth, but I couldn't find a name for that. If anybody knows what it is, let me know.

Earthshine is the opposite of moonshine, and it's actually a lot more powerful that moonshine, apparently. If you look at a crescent moon when it's on the horizon, you should see a ghostly image appearing on the black of the moon, that'll look like earth, in some way. I've never noticed it, so happy hunting.

Oh, and astronauts may very well have a rear-view, I was just putting that in for thematic effect.

The rest of the terminology should be easy enough to understand. I guess I'll end by drawing attention to the sexual imagery used throughout. I like sexual imagery in general, but I was using it to draw back to the idea of origins.
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:iconthetaoofchaos:
thetaoofchaos Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2011   Writer
Outrageously bizarre. I like it.
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:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011   General Artist
Thanks. That means a lot.
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:iconriseandbe:
RiseandBe Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I love your vocabulary. This is excellently written.
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:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011   General Artist
Wow. Thanks.

Yeah, I guess I just think there are enough poems out there written in a common vernacular, why add to that pile?
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:iconriseandbe:
RiseandBe Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure!

So true. It's not an easy thing taking such over-used words and making them sound new and beautiful, but it's even harder to use all new words!
I'd need a good thesaurus for that one.
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:iconvespera:
vespera Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Inspired images. I adore how you end each thought at the beginning of a stanza, like the thoughts are separate and yet tied very closely together.

That being said, I see why the ";" here was a good grammatical choice, but it broke up that rhythm for me a little:

"complex watertanks faking weightlessness;

the sim just wasn't the same."

Great work :)
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:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011   General Artist
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Those are a scarce commodity out here in the lit field on DevART.

I appreciate what you're saying about the semi-colon. And believe me when I say I debated it for a while. If I did replace it, or dispense with it, there still needs to be some sort of traversing there. Either to keep grammatical unity, as you point out, or to allow the beat to happen.

Perhaps an extended dash?

Thanks for confirming my suspicion.
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:iconvespera:
vespera Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
You're more than welcome :)

I think you're right about an extended dash; I think it'd be the perfect solution!
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:iconrszf:
RSZF Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2011   Writer
this is the first poem i've read since i joined bleeding hearts that i liked. kudos, your rationale is awesome and the imagery is interesting... favorited
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:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011   General Artist
That's high praise. I appreciate it, truly. Though, I hope you'll find more to like, both in their gallery and my own. DevArt is full of solid poets, though sifting through the masses of, shall we say, below average scribes can be disheartening. We gotta stick together, I guess.
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