EASTPORT, Maine: Installation August 11, 2017
Mural installed Eastport, Maine: August, 11, 2017, Size: 96"x174"
Pairing includes: Photograph, Sveabreen Glacier, Svalbard, Photogram, Blackstone Glacier Ice
I'd like to share this incredible poem by Alison Hawthorne Deming from her recent book of poetry.
Stairway to Heaven, published by Penguin Random House LLC, 2016
What is a day to the astronaut
floating two hundred miles
above Earth the space station
whirling fifteen and a half times
a day around the planet while
he drifts weightless as if unmoving
sipping meals from a plastic pouch?
Is that how it works keeping
against the drift? His twin is
down there donating biometrics
to the database. What is a year
to them, their bones and hearts
and brains? That’s what the
instruments want to know
or what we’ve taught them
to want. The space twin will
pay the higher price for his
unearthly habitation. Bodies
need gravity or some system
that simulates the magnetic pull
of mantle and core. He can see
home from porthole in space
the planet from out here
sublime a blue and white
ball so tender it might be
made of glass just forming
at the tip of the glassblower’s rod.
The Earth twin watches his brother
lift from the Cosmodrome.
Zero to seventeen thousand
in twelve minutes. “It feels like
the hand of God has come down
and grabbed you by the collar
and ripped you off the planet.
You know you’re either going
to float in space or you’re going
to be dead.” What is Earth
to the astronaut? The exception
to emptiness. Boatloads of planets
lie further in the black concealment
of space. Best that we don’t know
their voraciousness and need.
Our home we know is troubled
yet still in the heyday
of its experiment with life.
for your evolutionary largesse
the Great Oxygenation Event
that made us possible.
I’m writing this to find my way
into the fray over fracking–
wild card as it seems now that
I’ve gone so far out into space.
No one wants to hear again
about flaming water faucets
exploited towns and farms
heartland riddled with quakes
water poisoned and stuck back
in the ground to find its way home.
Space might be the only way
to see what kind of sky we need
and how the Great Carbonation Event
might be flipping the way
Earth does or doesn’t do life.
We say “blue marble” we say
“Mother Earth” we say “home.”
The astronaut says “Beautiful.”
Earth from space says “Keep me.”
The only thing that matters is
the carbon, so homeland
security means leave it
in the ground. Lock it up
with soldiers standing guard.
Shelter it with grassland and trees.
– for Taylor Brorby
By Alison Hawthorne Deming
From her recent book of poetry: Stairway to Heaven
Published by Penguin Random House LLC, 2016
VIDEO, Courtesy of NASA EPIC Team.