Monday, September 25, 2017

Susan Montag


Fighter jets from Offutt Air Force Base
in Omaha to the west of us,
would crack the sky apart
over our small town,
their sonic booms, we were told,
the dark magic
of physics, of men moving
through the sky, faster than
the speed of sound.
This was in the early 70s,
before complaints about property damage
and stress on livestock
would outlaw the man-made thunder
that rattled windows and caused stampedes.

Bob Seger sang on the radio
about a long and lonesome highway
east of Omaha, and we guessed
that had to be 34, the two-lane that moved
people past us on the edge of town.
The nightly news piped in strange words
like Chappaquiddick and Watergate,
a slow dripping of intrigue into our lives
from places so far away we were not sure
we should even believe they were real.

I was just a kid.
I was just dragging my feet in the dirt
under the tire swing,
listening to the voices of adults
drifting from the open window of the kitchen,
listening to their debates about
politics and potholes and the price of groceries,
wondering if those super humans above
us who rattled our world with their booming,
had the power to sort it all out.

Susan reads "Boom":

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Susan confesses: "Like many people, I’m reminded of Watergate these days. I was a kid growing up in southern Iowa during that time; I remember the ominous feeling of far-away things going wrong, marked by the sonic booms of fighter jets. The booming has changed, but the news feels familiar."

SUSAN MONTAG is the author of Finding the Way: A Tao For Down-to-Earth People, 2005, from Nicolas Hays Press, and Nude Ascending a Staircase, 2001, Bellowing Ark Press. She has been a teacher, a publisher, and briefly, a used car salesperson. Currently, in addition to a series of narrative poems, she working on an essay collection and a novel.

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