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Joshua Beckman
Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and earned his BA...
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Ode to the Air Traffic Controller

 
by Joshua Beckman

Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Townsville,
Belém, Durban, Lima, Xai-Xai planes
with wingspans big as high schools
eight hundred nine hundred tons a piece
gone like pollen, cumulus cirrus
altostratus nimbostratus people getting skinny
just trying to lose weight and the sky
the biggest thing anyone ever thought of
Acceptance, Vancouver, Tehran, Maui
school children balloons light blue nothing
one goes away not forever, in fact
most people, at least if you are flying
Delta, come down in Salt Lake City
Fairbanks, Kobe, Aukland, Anchorage
from Cleveland a hundred Hawaii-bound Germans
are coming in low, not to say too low
just low pull up Amsterdam pull up Miami
historically a very high-strung bunch
smokers eaters tiny planes must circle
we have bigger problems on our hands
New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris
the boy who has been ignoring dinner
throws thirteen paper planes out the window
does it look like this? Tashkent, Nome, Rio,
Hobart, yes yes it looks just like that
now do your homework Capetown Capetown
lots of rain good on one good on two
go three go four go five go six
Mau, Brak, Zella, Ghat, an African parade
good on two good on three
please speak English please speak English
good on five good on six gentlemen:
the world will let us down many times
but it will never run out of coffee
hooray! for Lagos, Accra, Freetown, Dakar
your son is on the telephone the Germans
landed safely Seattle off to Istanbul
tiny planes please circle oh tiny planes
do please please circle






From Something I Expected to be Different by Joshua Beckman, published by Verse Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Beckman. Reprinted by permission of Verse Press. All rights reserved.
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