Notes for a poem about Space Travel


Is this thing working right?
Is it supposed to shake this hard?

Earth left behind

Sudden darkness outside the windows
And floating pens
You are a klutz in space.
It takes a while not to feel like a moron.
Newton’s third Law is no joke
There is no up or down
During the first two weeks, you’ll have lots of bruises.
Move like a cat, slowly, nimbly, make like a monkey, using your toes
To grasp the railings
Typing too hard on a keyboard launches you across the cabin
Play stupid astronaut tricks:  fly like Superman, shoot Cheerios
and M&Ms into each other’s mouths

Fluid Shift

Space sickness, bodily fluids run amok
Nausea, senses of taste and smell disoriented, blocked sinuses


Bland, military-style meals
Add garlic or hot sauce
Upon opening the hatch of the Russian supply vehicle, inhale the wonderful earthy smell
of fresh fruits and vegetables
The Russians have excellent soups, the Japanese, delightful curries and rice

Going to the bathroom

It’s just something you dread every day


It doesn’t drip off, but pools on the skin
Shake your head, sweat sprays like droplets off a wet dog

In 2001, NASA sent up a guitar
It gets played all the time, traditional songs from their own country

The View from Space

Entire continents fill your field of vision
Thousands more stars are visible
The view at once intimate and vast
Earth is alive, the greenest greens, the bluest blues
Auroras dancing at the poles
Lightning storms like fireflies
Landmasses defined by ancient tectonic textures
No borders
An impossibly thin atmosphere protecting 8 billion of usfrom the dark, unforgiving void beyond

Coming  Home

Gravity sucks
A huge force pressing down on us every day…how do we cope with this?

Space is great, but there are things you want to go back to
When I left, my youngest son could say just a couple of words: mama, pap, baba
When I came back, he came into my room and said, “Dad, your phone rang.  
I wanted to pick up but couldn’t.”
During half a year, he turned into a little person

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