Jet by Tony Hoagland

 

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Sometimes I wish I were still out

on the back porch, drinking jet fuel

with the boys, getting louder and louder

as the empty cans drop out of our paws

like booster rockets falling back to Earth

and we soar up into the summer stars.

Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,

bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish

and old space suits with skeletons inside.

On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,

and it is good, a way of letting life

out of the box, uncapping the bottle

to let the effervescence gush

through the narrow, usually constricted neck.

And now the crickets plug in their appliances

in unison, and then the fireflies flash

dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation

for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex

someone is telling in the dark, though

no one really hears. We gaze into the night

as if remembering the bright unbroken planet

we once came from, 
to which we will never

be permitted to return. 
We are amazed how hurt we are.

We would give anything for what we have.

 

Tony Hoagland

 

Calypso by Mary O’Malley

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The moon juts her high rump over the town,                                                                                      the tide rises with intent to clarify and drown.

In a dream, a boat moves over the grass.
I know her, twenty-eight foot and a mast.

The Lister engine drums like a snipe. She cuts
towards me. Two swift strokes,

Matisse blue, part the water in a V.
All I want, after the fire’s hard craquelure,

is this shape, the square root of love reduced
to longing, a soft vowel held by two hard

consonants. The dreamworld insists
it is dangerous to burn away more than this.

The debris of my years is plaited into her rough tide.
I steer for the point, with its shield of stormcloud.

I will try to find, on this journey, someone
who has the recipe for honeycombs.

I leave my home – there are no companions –
and step aboard my father’s boat with this instruction:

forget the stars. The cleated angle where the sky
meets to form a roof is all you can rely on now.

Two flicks of the oars and she responds, light as a wishbone,
the gods’ capricious gift for this art of being alone.