Sunday, March 17, 2013

Poem for Sunday, Frying Pan Farm Park, Udvar-Hazy

Letter Already Broadcast into Space
By Jake Adam York

                        -To Sun Ra, from Earth

You are not here,

you are not here
in Birmingham,
        where they keep your name,

not in Elmwood's famous plots
                or the monuments
of bronze or steel or the strew

        of change in the fountain
where the firehoses sprayed.

                In the furnaces, in the interchange sprawl
        that covers Tuxedo Junction,

in the shopping malls, I think,
                they've forgotten you,

the broadcast towers, the barbecues,

        the statue of the Roman god,
spiculum blotting out
                part of the stars.

To get it dark enough,
        I have to fold back
into the hills, into the trees

                where my parents
planted me, where the TV
        barely reaches and I drift

with my hand on the dial
                of my father's radio,

spinning, too, the tall antenna
        he raised above the pines.

I have to stand at the base

                of the galvanized
pole I can use as an azimuth
        and plot you in.

The hunter's belt is slung again,
                and you are there

in the pulse, in the light of
        Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka,

all your different names,

                you are there
in all the rearrangements
        of the stars.

                        Come down now,
come down again,

                like the late fall light
into the mounds along the creek,

        light that soaks like a flood
to show the Cherokee sitting upright
                underground, light

like the fire they imply.

        Come down now
into the crease the freight train
                hits like a piano's hammer

and make the granite hum

                        Come down now

as my hand slips from the dial,
                tired again of looking
for the sound of another way

        to say everything.

Come down now with your diction
                and your dictionary.

Come down, Uncle, come down
        and help me rise.

I have forgot my wings.


We had a forecast for rain on Saturday, but apart from some drizzle in the early morning, it never arrived. We'd tried to figure out indoor things to do in case of inclement weather and decided to go to the Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, since we hadn't been there since the space shuttle Discovery moved in not long after the Enterprise was sent to the USS Intrepid in New York. First, though, we went to Kidwell Farm at Frying Pan Farm Park in nearby Herndon, which has lots of little piggies as well as sheep, goats, cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, ducks, peacocks, and bunnies. Since it wasn't raining, most of the animals were out and we got to see the babies in the barn. Then we went to Udvar-Hazy, where the aircraft restoration area is now visible to the public (they are restoring a seaplane that fought at Pearl Harbor) and Discovery is on display in all her glory, plus dozens of other rockets, orbiters, helicopters, and planes.

Frying Pan Farm Park's first litter of piglets this spring... a calf and a slightly older lamb...

...and some of the chickens (if there were chicks, they were hiding in the henhouse).

The redbuds coming into bloom in front of the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Pan Am's Stratoliner Clipper Flying Cloud, the prettiest plane in the hangar (you can see one in The Aviator).

Also shiny, but this is my least favorite plane in the hangar: Enola Gay.

Spirit of Tuskegee, at Udvar-Hazy only until the African-American Culture Museum on the National Mall is finished.

And here I am with the Space Shuttle Discovery, now permanently in Virginia since Enterprise has gone to New York.

We got home in time to see most of the Maryland-North Carolina game, though the Tar Heels managed to beat the Terrapins by only three and will now play Miami for the ACC title (we are just hoping that Maryland has made a strong enough case for itself to get invited to the big show tomorrow). We took a break from basketball to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel after dinner, which I liked but didn't love as much as I thought I would from the cast; there were a lot of cliches in the script that not even Smith, Dench, Nighy, Wilkinson, Wilton et al could overcome all the time, and the young lovers' story reminded me of several much-better-done movies about choosing between family and expected arranged marriages in favor of modern love. My wonderful husband got his bonus at work and got me a Kindle Paperwhite, which I have not yet used in the dark but it is completely awesome in every way so far!

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