1. Landscape, with an End and a Beginning

    In those days, we too looked to the sky
    for omens– away from the burning effigies,
    the barricades, the soldiers whose phalanxes
    we broke with prayers and sandwiches made
    by mothers, teachers and nuns passing rosaries
    and flasks of water from hand to hand.
    The city was a giant ear, listening for news
    of the dictator. Sound travels swift through
    a mass of suffering bodies. Snipers perched
    like birds on the peripheries of buildings.
    Thickening contrails striped the sky.
    Two ravens flew side-by-side over the abandoned
    palace, trading hoarse commentary. When night came,
    the people scaled the gates. What did they see?
    Papers of state whirling in the fireplace. Masses
    of ball gowns choking the closet, shoes lined with satin
    and pearls; gilt-edged murals above the staircase.
    Days and nights of upheaval, their new history
    alive; the old one writhing on the floor
    with a blur around its mouth like hoarfrost.

    ~ Luisa A. Igloria
    01 31 2011

    (Remembering the Philippine “People Power” Revolution, in the light of current events in Egypt)

  2. Huh. I always thought of contrails as disipating, not thickening.

    1. They kind of fatten out before they disperse… I thought that was what Dave meant. In any case, in my use of it in the poem, I thought of a sky filling with that sort of activity… which fit my context, so I didn’t have any problems with it.

  3. I try to make my observations here as accurate as possible. No offense, but you guys need to spend more time watching the sky. Depending on conditions aloft, contrails may: a) disperse immediately; b) fade after a few seconds or a few minutes; c) spread out a little bit or a lot and then linger for hours, or even d) spread out until they form a new layer of clouds. This morning, it was like (c) except they only lingered for about an hour until the sky cleared off at mid-morning. It’s been estimated that at least 20% of cloud cover in the northeast is the result of jet vapor. After 9/11, with all jets grounded, we had a week of the clearest skies I can remember. As an environmentalist, I am rooting for the collapse of commercial jet travel.

    1. That said, “widening” would have been a better choice than “thickening,” I think. I guess my head was in the clouds.

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