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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

There must be something

p. 136

P. Ballantine and Sons advertisement for Ballantine's Beer
: Life, 30 November 1953 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

We'll be doing the traditional Thanksgiving thing this year, Mother will stuff the bird
while the boys toss a football around
out back of the barn protecting the freedoms which are more precious than ever this year
and we know we've got to be holding on to them even more fiercely
than might be considered healthy on the dusty playing fields of Mars
and here we are on the dry playing fields of Mars, with the cold dusty winds
blowing ceaselessly through our bones
as we toss the football around with our grossly distorted limbs clanking in the strange bluish light
after the last rockets have departed for the smouldering orange remains of Earth
to which a strange fealty is reluctantly acknowledged
around the table as we say grace and the flag is saluted
inadvertently perhaps due to the low ceiling over the flatscreen where it proudly still waves reminding us

there must be something
we were trying to protect

Soldiers patrol in the streets in Brussels on Tuesday as the Belgian capital remains on the highest possible alert level. Brussels began a fourth consecutive day in lockdown under a maximum terror alert: photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP, 24 November 2015

A burning trail a seen on a Russian fighter jet after it was shot down over Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday. The Defense Ministry in Moscow said The Sukhoi Su-24 was reportedly downed by Turkish forces: photo by Haberturk Tv Channel/EPA, 24 November 2015

A man claiming to be from Iran, with his mouth sewn shut, takes part in a demonstration with fellow refugees and migrants as they wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near Idomeni: photo by Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP, 24 November 2015


The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company advertisement for A & P Coffee: William Oberhardt, Woman's Day, 1 November 1938 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

Garbage | by efo

Garbage (Higashizu-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture): photo by efo, September 2015

Two Chinese J-10 aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force cross each other during the combined exercise ”Falcon Strike 2015” at the Wing 1 Korat air base in Korat on Tuesday. Thailand and China have been conducting their first ever joint air force drill, a symbol of the blossoming military and political ties between junta-run kingdom and its huge northern neighbour: photo by Nicolas Asfouri/AFP, 24 November 2015

Nighttime entryway nº 5 | by efo

nighttime entryway no. 5: photo by efo, 15 November 2015


Lally said...

brilliant post and poem, as always...

TC said...

Thank you, dear Michael. Ever the discerning eye.

(The holiday bitcoin shipment is on the way...)

kent said...


manik sharma said...


There is always something we are trying to protect. Sometimes just the right to protect. Lovely poem.

Nora said...

Those Mars winds are especially cold this year.

Marcia said...

Thank you, Tom, for this incredible poem that I cannot stop reading.

Mose23 said...

Impending destruction "...with the flavor that chill can't kill".

I have a fierce sense of that poem as a postcard from the future. I hope my instincts are wrong.

tpw said...

Dear TC: Thanks, as always, for your amazing planetary & interplanetary perspective.

TC said...

What a pleasure, to be alone here, on Mars, among such pleasant visitors from the blue marble.

My hand magnifying glass, without which nothing, wobbling unsteadily, gradually revealed an alarming disparity in the distribution of the tall cold ones there in the cutaway house (which frankly reminded me a bit too much of the houses near ground zero in Allendale in 2026, the year the humans left and their robots didn't), with the males seeming to be enjoying a Ballantine's everywhere one looks... while for the busy females, upon whom the holiday workload invisibly descends like so much radioactive fallout... no, not even for the poor bright toiling woman at the sink, all smiles... but no, no Ballantine's for the ladies, not even under magnification.

It was a small relief to be reminded that by the following Earth-year, there had came at least a hint of equity.

Ballantine Ale ad 1954: "It's so nice the boys are getting along, Marge"

The ancient label of Ballantine having it seems latterly been "resurrected" (by Pabst) now appears revenant as a macrobrew in microbrew clothing, as it were, research shows.

Have you not ever paused amid life's hurry and bustle to imagine for a moment how Americans might be envisioned, sans affect for the once, from afar, say from a tent, or mud hut, in a high pass in Afghanistan?

And not then begun to understand why the native Martian tribes were never able to accept the incursion of the blue-eyed colonists, over all those dry, dusty, windy years of the colonization??

Do you suppose there will ever be war crimes trials on Mars?

Ballantine IPA by Ballantine & Sons: a review. "There's so much of our brain here that we don't know what's going on. And even more if you're a liberal... I'm getting pounded by the beautiful odor of the citrus."

Upon these shifty hillsides the indigenes had their own ways of doing seasons. And what do we know?

Set the dead bird afire, couple bong hits with the Quaker dude from the mayflower or like, wherever, a tall cold Ballantine's ... and Thou.

Ballantine's Ale: Early American Custom

Those black Martian winds have been absolutely ripping. We've had to batten down the hatches over here on dry land, I can't imagine how poor Nora stands it, out there on the houseboats, by the spaceport, where they night-test the ICBMs, but all in the interests of a two state solution, mind you.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Hellas but we do give thanks every day for having poets who give us plenty of food for thought , like you do, Mr. Clark.

TC said...

Vassilis, that's an undeserved welcome to a generous mansion... and truth be told, these days --

now that the world’s become
an endless hotel

-- it's hard to imagine finding more durable accommodation anywhere.