reading alan watts on an airplane

there's always that moment right at takeoff when
no matter how jaded i get about this
i think we're flying
and just for a second it possesses
the kind of wonder that used to inhere
in all manner of departures and beginnings.

(your seat cushion may be used as
a flotation device in the event of
a water landing,
should the hand of god pluck us
gentle from the sky and erase our
tremendous debt to inertia
lowering us to quiet repose in some stream or pond)

the skinny guy in the other aisle seat
is reading a novel with a glowing recommendation
from rush limbaugh displayed prominently on its cover;
i am hard pressed to think of a better reason
not to read a book

my paperback is about zen buddhism
a topic on which more bullshit has been written
than even rush limbaugh has produced in the whole of
his sorry, spite-filled career.

i read, string words together in my head
try to imagine erasing the false boundary between
my self and
the world

eventually the sky over pittsburgh is full of snow
suddenly visible as we fall through a ceiling
of undifferentiated cloud

later, backward bound for nebraska
milwaukee through the window is a wide blanket
of bright golden threads
ribbons and pools of light in the jet dark
lake michigan an abrupt knife-edge of blackness
at its only visible boundry

in omaha the ground is newly white,
my brain refusing until there is no alternative
to accept that it snowed here too
the roads are as slick and black as obsidian
and i drive an hour home with both hands on the wheel.

p1k3 / 2004 / 3 / 23 / airplane