2 poems by Gayle J. Greenlea about Going to Space (anniversary of the moonwalk)

Moon Landing, Buzz Aldrin, America, 1969

Overview Effect

I stare for hours from my window into Space,
earth-gaze over milk-crust horizons of the moon.

‘Splanchnon’, the Greeks called the visceral
tenderness my home inspires, fragile in a universe
expanding: brilliant blue dot, curtained in auroras
against a backdrop of infinity. Milky Way stars
chase lights of cities waking and going to sleep;
terrain of ocean, mountain, jungle, desert.

Separateness is illusion.

Precarious paper shield skies cradle our planet.
In cosmic perspective, I comprehend
‘oneness’ as we travel together around our star-sun.
No boundaries, no borders, a perfect sphere. Oasis
at the centre of nothingness. Hope against the void.

We have one destiny. No astronaut visits
the stars and comes back unchanged. Of all the views
from our windows, this is the one emblazoned
in modern memory.

Small planet,
bravely rising from a dark abyss
to strike another soutenu around the sun.

Astronaut

When I was nine,
I decided to be an astronaut.
Barefoot in wet grass,
holding my father’s hand,
listening to cricket song
and squinting up at the moon,
certain I could see
the first man walking there,
black and white like the image on TV.

I wanted to moonbounce,
tether myself to a spaceship
instead of Earth,
feel rocket boosters fire
me to another world.

Breathing the scent of honeysuckle,
I sucked the nectered stamens.
Floating free of gravity,
I took a giant leap
for humankind.

New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Gayle Greenlea

New poems from Gayle J. Greenlea : “Grey” & “Mapping the Long Haul”

Grey

I meant to leave in the morning,
but now trees effloresce from bedposts,
soughing silhouettes on walls.

Secrets coil ‘round me in thorny
bramble. The wolf waits, teeth bared,
next to my packed suitcase.

Stealthily you materialize; night
incandescent with your yellow moon eyes.
“Don’t tell,” you pant, paw on my chest,
breath moist and hot against my ear.

My body is bone cold.

I’ve never told.

I pretend the forest hides my hands,
my mouth, the missing pieces you
stole from me. I lie still as an alabaster
tomb in the womb of the forest.

You slink away as you came,
fur limned in dawn. Wildwood recedes
in strands of anemic light.

I reach for my suitcase under the bed,
but your teeth are still there.

Mapping the Long Haul

My body is a foreign land,
no longer familiar to me.
In the neuronal forest I need a map
to find my mislaid memories;
the hand that shakes, the electrical
jetway pulsing erratically in time
with my heart. I wander in brume,
sensing landmarks as lightning
stutters, eyes hooded like a bird
of prey, anxious for the falconer,
anticipating remembered flight,
but sight is illusive. No lift of wings,
no songlines in the outback to guide
me; only magnetic earth to navigate
the wound that never heals.

Lungs crackle like tin foil. A million
swallows fail to dislodge the obstacle
in my throat. The irascible cough.
My head spins, the horizon yaws. I tilt
away from my axis, fire gnaws
at nerves, the sun too bright, flight
stunted. I feel myself losing feathers
to the wind, skin purple and raw.
The egg I carry falls, smashing to pieces
like snow. I am falling, too.

Hope is a destination. It matters not
if I arrive. Still I hold fast to its teat
as if it were a compass pointing east
to the land of milk and honey,
where breath billows lungs like sails
on vessels of blood. Spasms like waves
rock my body, every muscle bruised,
aches. And I am tired, so tired
of this journey I was not prepared
to take. My tongue swells, squeezed
between teeth, gums bleed, sores
prohibit speech — if only I could choose
the words I say, but this brain
will not cooperate. And now another
insult: my hair falls out in handfuls.

I need a map to find my way.
But this long haul flight is a maiden
voyage, fraught with monsters
and terrors of the deep. I dare not
sleep.

At night a tube blows air
into my throat, umbilical cord
grounding me to life. But strife
keeps me awake. The world is no
longer navigable. There are no maps.
I am my own cartographer marking
the clotted terrain, tenderly undoing
knots and kinks, floundering
in unknown seas, longing for relief
from the flutter in my head,
the ringing in my ears. I hear the fog
horn calling, but I am too far away.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Gayle Greenlea

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Gayle Greenlea

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Gayle J. Greenlea is a poet and counselor for survivors of sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and debuted her first novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work appears in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Life in Quarantine (Stanford).

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Martins Deep

Martins Deep

Martins Deep (he/him) is a budding African poet, photographer/artist, & currently a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His works deeply explores the African experience. His creative works have appeared, or are forthcoming on FIYAH, The Roadrunner Review, Barren Magazine, The Sandy River Review, Eunoia Review, Agbowó Magazine, Surburban Review, Twyckenham Notes, FERAL, Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World, Kalahari Review, & elsewhere. He loves jazz, adores Amanda Cook, and fantasizes reincarnating as an owl. He tweets @martinsdeep1