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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

    My name is James Black. I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Friend and/or follow me if you like.

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Cushioned benches, spaced
to keep sight lines open. Few
chances to neglect baggage or
walk away from responsibilities.
So much white light
to embolden noon glare
and temper comforts.

It has to be this way;
my fellow passengers and I agree.
We avoid eye contact and discussion,
but we’re on the same page:
It’s necessary to be careful.
Despite light-and-airy distractions,
we know what’s going on here,
which makes us glad that nothing goes on.
We wait to go. We thumb through magazines.
We mock pop singers
but stop short of joking about
acts of violence, realizing that’s how
we usually deal with tension outside of secured areas.

Who among these strangers
would dare betray me?


Finally on our way.
People and cars and fields and rivers
look like
ants and toys and patchwork and veins.
Grave markers arranged in a mosaic
that recognizes the sky–
the polished granite blinks, irritated
by the light.

The aircraft tilts. My view of the sky
is nothing but blue fading
into white. The roar within
the cabin resembles
silence. We yawn, read,
look at our watches.
We’re moving, but waiting.

Too much sky to touch; it would only
elude us if
we dared to reach
outside, balancing on the wing
to grab
fistfuls of heaven. So big
to touch, to try, so much
at stake in the act of touching. Ambition
driven by hubris. We
know better. We must
be careful. We
must use care.


Descending, woozy; floating,
giddy; silence still roars,
almost drowns out the voices of
my fellow passengers, who plan how
as groups, as pairs, they will exploit
the opportunities that come with arrival.
The cabin shakes, a transition
from sky to earth;
we seem to move faster than light,
but of course that isn’t so.

The craft plants its rolling feet on the ground
and stops itself by grabbing thick air.
Resuming burdens, we move
down the aisle, through the jet bridge,
along a new concourse, marching
to the beat of local time. We’ve all
arrived, touching ground
for the moment, so much at stake
in our dubious connections.

One Response

  1. Really love that whole stanza that begins with “Too much sky to touch” — especially that line and “fistfuls of Heaven.” Thanks for sharing 🙂

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