Space is so overdeveloped, so cluttered,
this trip is like an obstacle course.
The new frontier?
Not when soda bottles orbit planets.
Solar systems are junkyards.
Knowledge is yesterday’s raison d’etre.
We search to find new dumping grounds,
for trash, for people.
Yet here I am,
passing a prison ship on my left,
a supply rocket on my right.
I’m scouring scrap metal worlds,
dodging drunken wedding reception meteors,
blasting through giant rings of foam peanuts.
As a boy, I dreamed of being the first
to set foot on Abelard or Plato.
Now, I’m delivering spare parts
to those two blowsy, smelly, polluted planets.
I land in muck,
trudge streets of sewage.
I choke, I cough, I spit my way
by some fenced-in Sodom
guarded by vicious three-headed dogs
to the shabby office of a two-bit
rocket repair shop.
“Your order’s here,” I hack
to some jelly-faced alien.
You can’t drink the water.
You throw up on the food.
And the women are as hard
as element 346 on the Periodic Table.
Yes, some of us do get what we wish for.
Goals contaminated, hopes infected,
aims and ends clogging up the space lanes —
our gratitude forgoes the usual routes.
|John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions, and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.|