The President Flies Over

By Patricia Smith b. 1955 Patricia Smith
Aloft between heaven and them,
 
I babble the landscape—what staunch, vicious trees,
what cluttered roads, slow cars. This is my
 
country as it was gifted me—victimless, vast.
The soundtrack buzzing the air around my ears
continually loops ditties of eagles and oil.
I can’t choose. Every moment I’m awake,
aroused instrumentals channel theme songs,
speaking
what I cannot.
 
I don’t ever have to come down.
I can stay hooked to heaven,
dictating this blandness.
My flyboys memorize flip and soar.
They’ll never swoop real enough
to resurrect that other country,
 
won’t ever get close enough to give name
to tonight’s dreams darkening the water.
 
I understand that somewhere it has rained.

Patricia Smith, “The President Flies Over” from Blood Dazzler. Copyright © 2008 by Patricia Smith. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org

Source: Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008)

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Poet Patricia Smith b. 1955

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Nature, Weather, Social Commentaries, Class, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

 Patricia  Smith

Biography

Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of six books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina which was nominated for a National Book Award; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Weather, Social Commentaries, Class, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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