Earth-Bound, Moon-Mad

We travel from Third World state through
Third World state, eight of them this trip,
all wards of the Federal CCC.1

Without a leader in the caravan of obsolescence,
we are halfway to the edge of our somewhere World –
Everywhere is nowhere to a blind guide.

This is the warming residue of sturdy Nebraska,
the unperturbable epicenter
of old geology’s perdurable vessel.

Bright sun, rich in yellow tapestry,
shining out its inner gold to illumine in regal ochre
the Mars-bound cold gray moon – deigns

to share its gratuitous warmth with us here below,
to shine its patient light upon winter’s
weather-cracks unrepaired in ragged highways.

We of the new Third World, junked humanity,
can ill afford our ruptured surfaces. In a wreck
of government, one repair exposes every weakness:

Pot-holes are unfilled. Bridge approaches are compressed
ridges pushed against mis-aligned rotting spans.
The collapsed surface disguises the full wreck beneath.

A car skews a tire into the hidden jagged gap between
highway and paved shoulder. The wreck leaves twisted
bodies to flop bleeding into some unplowed field.

The First Two Worlds, the Passenger Classes:
The EEFO2 and their red-capped maga-proles,
Gather to pray together that their silver ark
Never recover Earthly port.

For the Moon has eloped to the orbit of Mars,
Where giddy wedding members toast the gleaming
Silver wake of the wild careening Moon,
Bound at warpéd speed for their brave new sphere,

For imperial Powers, offspring of heav’n, Etherial
Virtues; Orb of imperial sweetness,
Trumpet the oranges of their ample Host
From the bright sands of a Nambian coast.3

  1. Civilian Confiscation Corps. []
  2. Executive/Entrepreneurial/Financial Orders. []
  3. I am aware that this poem collapses with a feeble Miltonic bleat at the end. It is a sacrifice the poet is willing to make on behalf of topical verisimilitude. It may not be fair that art must reflect its culture. But that’s not the artist’s fault. Entirely. The whimper is not new to our governing, nor to poets’ futile prognostications. Consider Congress. []
Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.