Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"The Universe is a House Party" by Tracy K. Smith


The universe is expanding. Look: postcards
And panties, bottles with lipstick on the rim,

Orphan socks and napkins dried into knots.
Quickly, wordlessly, all of it whisked into file 

With radio waves from a generation ago
Drifting to the edge of what doesn’t end, 

Like the air inside a balloon. Is it bright?
Will our eyes crimp shut? Is it molten, atomic,

A conflagration of suns? It sounds like the kind of party
Your neighbors forget to invite you to: bass throbbing

Through walls, and everyone thudding around drunk 
On the roof. We grind lenses to an impossible strength, 

Point them toward the future, and dream of beings 
We’ll welcome with indefatigable hospitality:

How marvelous you’ve come! We won’t flinch 
At the pinprick mouths, the nubbin limbs. We’ll rise,

Gracile, robust. Mi casa es su casa. Never more sincere. 
Seeing us, they’ll know exactly what we mean.

Of course, it’s ours. If it’s anyone’s, it’s ours. 

Source of the text – Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars: Poems.  Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2011, p. 13.

TJB: Fermi’s paradox. If intelligent life is out there the poet imagines them as uninvited party guests & we’re the drunk chauvinist party hosts.

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