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Inside the Synagogue Is Mars, Inside Mars Is Your Apartment
—A poem for the opening of Angel Orensanz’s
Installation, “Flying NASA Lab,”
1/15/04 at Oresanz Synagogue
You land on Mars and you’re never coming back
It looks like Earth because you come from Earth
Hello Mars, this is Flying NASA’s Lab Report from
Rover Spirit beaming pictures and pride explosions
You land you are free but it’s not land you land on
It’s chutzpah art, enriched detritus, covered in penguin dust
It’s Chinese Yiddish. No, Yiddish Chinese.
And It of course is Not It, but
A Red Carpet to the Stars, a Panoply
Canopy of Sky Snowing Plaster Memory
It, meanwhile, is just chilling, circling in space ballet
A woman, man, manikin in a spacesuit bikini
Recycle Mars trash art. I live in New York, Mars
My kinda planet. The fire extinguisher hisses
Chemical temple soup. The ladder
Raises an eyebrow to the sun. Look down, there’s everything!
Everything is what Mars is, and it looks exactly
Like your apartment! A synapse leaps here, goodbye
Poem to reader, hello! Send me a postcard
From Mars, sign it Angel. Drift wood drifts by
Hollywood leftovers – Movieland
Caterers’ lonely folding chairs now a mountain
On the plains of Mars, as Martian ants
Parade balance tightrope strings
Weaving the whole thing together
Big Iron snowshoes. Luckily it snowed
A crater rocked over, that is our mission
We call it the Lower East Side, twelve
Candles in a row. The melt is on!
Inside the artists’s mind, his
Hair! No! Hair goes on outside, drifting over
Angel’s forehead reflected in a black disk
That rescues the symmetry of light
What the hell is that poet doing? What
Is he talking about? What’s the meaning
Of meaning? What’s the purpose
Of purpose? What’s the use
Can I use it? It feels so good
To refuse it. Refuse to be burnt out
Refuse to interpret. Refuse to move
Refuse to refuse. Refuse to shut up
Inside the synagogue is Mars
Inside Mars is your apartment
And behind the door, an old woman
Is waving you in. Come in, she says. Please
The trip to Mars is but a jaunt, a passagiata
Walk in art, walk in artist’s mind. Walk
In poem. Walk in the synagogue of your apartment
Strolling past Mars, you keep going
Goodbye, you wave. Goodbye which means Hello
Grandly and Centrally
Grandly! and Centrally!
You come here to go there
Hip trippin! Flip floating!
Grandly! and Centrally!
Take you where ya wanna be
Zipping Higgs bosun, Reality's gluon
The station sits formidably. Maddeningly. Meddlesomely.
The ratchety manifest. The voluminous steamer chest.
The rivets and pivots and divots of rush.
A trip to the seashore—Picnic-In-A-Box!
Pickles, gefilte fish, a schmear and some lox
Fried chicken, varenykys, collards and grits
Hot dogs and frogs legs dishing the dish
Spaghetti and gravy
Call in the Navy!
More hot sauce and quick
And the goat's still unroasted
And the bagel's untoasted
And the toddler is gurgling glee
At the constellation ceiling
The gods still are stealing
Glances at humans as they bump dodge careen
You cross time with space, cross space with time
Just so you can rhyme "sublime" with "sublime"
And the blizzardin' tickets keep fallin' from outer outer space
And Sun Ra is smiling through the Conductor's face
And this glorious moment can't keep up with the human race
Cause yr waltzing in Grand Central with the Love of yr Life
A single accordion is playing yr life
The moment is stuck and recycles again
Just because it stops doesn't mean that it ends
So keep lining up, Chumps
Facebook the rumps
Lined up before you
In sweltering clumps
Maybe this is your stop
Maybe this is where it ends
Someone passes you getting on
For them it begins
For you're going Somewhere
And the place you will land
You don't know with whom you will dine
But some Strega, Picayunes,
And a ghost on the dunes
Your family's tunes
They toast randomly
For it's Grandly So Grandly
And everso Centrally
Let's call it a Century!
Grand Central Station!
First day of fall feels like first day of fall
Something right with the World Standing on ATM line
West 12th Village morning brittle breeze tiny man in overcoat
In front of me pivots, remarks
Day of Beauty I allow
The World in the Wind
Stops for a red light
Crisp money spits from machine, hot
Off the press, twenties salt the air, take flight
Like to visit? he asks, hopeful eyebrows
I follow his hat up stairs through locks
Cramped musty, a crowd of paintings, golden
Light says “Time” infusing his face
The Hudson swims low in the sun
We huddle round the samovar
Bone china cup
Our faces intermingle in the silver curves
The tea he serves is the tea in Beautiful
Tompkins Square Pastorale
Pigeons peck poems on pavement.
Ants crawl in code up paint-cracked bench
My people sprawl in vowels, yawn a couple
Hiphop lines. Sun ball boils. Sudden rain runs
Steam locomotive. It is raining. But what is
It? The grass
under the sidewalk
Its greeny head.