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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cabinet of curiosities created from Mars Curiosity Rover images.  Rover image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cabinet of curiosities created from Mars Curiosity Rover images. Rover image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What curiosity can we house
within four walls

now that we’ve touched down
in the next backyard?

What prize will stay put
in partitioned space

and homestead there

and never dream
of the next room

content to be contained

and not instinctively
roam?

The Golden Record, launched on Voyagers 1 and 2 in 1977.  Image credit: Credit NASA/JPL/Caltech.

The Golden Record, launched on Voyagers 1 and 2 in 1977. Image credit: Credit NASA/JPL/Caltech.

In summary,
we’re sending you this record

because here on Earth

we sing
we greet each other
we marvel

at an X-rayed hand
beside the “Rite of Spring”
and strands of DNA
unraveling

pieces of ourselves
assembled
just once

for you

believe us
as you listen

we love
down to the smallest
groove.

Ithaca Chasma on Saturn's moon, Tethys, photographed by Cassini.  Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Ithaca Chasma on Saturn’s moon, Tethys, photographed by Cassini. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Yawning hollow

there to be crossed
or stared into

or both

take your pick

hesitate

legs dangling
on the edge
of the scarps

or descend

on the scars
a moon made
into paths.

“Without monsters and gods, art cannot enact a drama.” –Mark Rothko

Without monsters and gods

Artist's conception of a supermassive black hole.  Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of a supermassive black hole. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

the cosmic egg
never gets coiled up
and strangled
into bits
by a snake

to make an earth

much less
sky and ocean

and Cronus
eats gruel

and stars
never grow
or succumb

instead
the monotony
of the small
and insignificant
blankets

nothing pulled
or devoured

no drama

to move us.

Brown dots indicate where Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted Jupiter's atmosphere in July 1994.  Image credit: NASA/Hubble Space Telescope Comet Team

Brown dots indicate where Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted Jupiter’s atmosphere in July 1994. Image credit: NASA/Hubble Space Telescope Comet Team

In lieu of a comet
send this poem
to punch the atmosphere
of another world

and scar on impact

and seed water
everywhere

the words no longer intact
but somehow still mine.

Our solar system.  Image credit: NASA. Congress is currently considering NASA's FY14 budget.  Support planetary sciences by contacting your congressman or congresswoman or tweet your support to #fundPlanetary.

Our solar system. Image credit: NASA.
Congress is currently considering NASA’s FY14 budget. Support planetary sciences funding by contacting your congressman or congresswoman or tweet your support to #fundPlanetary.

I want it back

that jar full of quarters
I earned from chores

protected from a brother
under penalty of DEATH

so I could buy
that toy
waiting on the shelf.

I want it back

and you can have
that Mickey Mouse magician toy
its hands too slow
and always revealing
the trick.

I know what I want
from the jar now

will barter and beg

for what grade school teachers
hawked to us in science class

the only advertising
painted foam ball planets run through with wire rings

the real wares
we were told
further out
and suspended
magically

have to see it to believe it!
no wires!

and no sleight of hand necessary.

Yeah, I’m saving my jar for that.

Pluto and its moons.  Cerberus was recently proposed as a name for the moon currently designated P5.  Image credit: Hubble Space Telescope / NASA

Pluto and its moons. Cerberus was recently proposed as a name for the moon currently designated P5. Image credit: Hubble Space Telescope / NASA

Want to visit dead places?

You’ll have to pass
the three-headed dog first

and yes, he bites

so if you’re still living
bring a substitute

fresh meat
or a lullaby

and hope for the best

get in close
stroke his fur
speak in a high voice

assure him

that you belong
in the icy ring
on the other side

you, calm and dead
as those small rocks

and as he rolls onto the floor
sated
and dreams of flesh

slip unnoticed
through the gate
into the cold.

Frontispiece to "Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El maestro," by 16th century Spanish composer Luis de Milán.

Frontispiece to “Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El maestro,” by 16th century Spanish composer Luis de Milán.

Never mind Eurydice.
She’ll find her own way back.

Write this poem for me, please,
with or without your lyre

and really make it sing

the words sublimating
off your tongue

more exhaled
than spoken

a whisper in dry ice
creeping outward

to the last planet

a message sent
from me

in case I never
make it there.

Barbie adorned in tin foil.  (They don't make astronaut clothing for Barbies anymore.)  Background image is Tycho Crater (the planned landing site for Apollo 11 before mission was scrubbed.)  Crater image credit: Hubble Space Telescope , NASA, ESA, and D. Ehnrenreich.

Barbie adorned in tin foil. (They don’t make astronaut clothing for Barbies anymore.) Background image is Tycho Crater (the planned landing site for Apollo 20 before mission was scrubbed.) Crater image credit: Hubble Space Telescope , NASA, ESA, and D. Ehnrenreich.

Eyes on her gimbals
with the same straight stare

she gives Ken
when he waxes his car

she brings her in
over the craters

one eye out the window
hands on the controls

watching her Newtons

maneuvering the LM
as easily
as the Kenmobile

standing
shoeless
on her tippy toes

pink heels
kicked off to the side

we all see a little dust kicking up now

then the lights

contact!

the girl
has landed

a girl
has landed.