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Stimulus: The View from Space

This photo was taken in the International Space Station on December 30, 2008. Click here for more information and credits.

I would like to thank my wife, Peggy, for taking care of Northography while I was fishing. Click here to see some of the highlights of my trip. The next stimulus wil be posted on 1/18. The theme will be the inauguration of the new president.

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Posted on 01/04/2009
 
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DISTANCE MAKES THE HEART
Posted by Zachary Stafford on 0
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what makes us think we can do it better out there
than we have done down here?
It must be the absence of weight
that makes us forget the crushing black pressure,
that viewed through a window looks violent
in its density,
a defiant aura of flame blue atmosphere
about to flicker out
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THERE IS A MAN
Posted by Britt Fleming on 0
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Looking out of a window.

Dark blue eyes look back at him, from behind a white veil.
He doesn’t see the turmoil in her soul, her heartbreak or poverty,

But a beautiful woman, rich and full of wisdom, mother to mankind.
As the sun sets, she looks up at a point of light moving across the sky.

She will hold on to him as long as she can, but knows that his hunger grows
Beyond her capacity, and, like all children, the day will come when he must go.
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RITES OF PASSAGE: A DAMNABLE CHOICE
Posted by Maia Cavelli on 0
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Looking back
manhood-aspiring
for a moment doubted
the folly of his ritual ascent
far and away
from the glowing source
where warmth and wholeness resided

Stripping off
the tenderest tastes of being
like body’s weight tugging
at harpooned breast or
skin pared
from the most delicate part

Baptismal agonies
dressed him
for the bloodwork of his future.
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BLUE PLANET
Posted by Denise duMaurier on 0
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First time up, the cameras caught it round and blue,
and still they go---they even have a floating
dragonfly, out there. Death-defying space walks,

to mend its tattered wings. But if they take pictures,
no long-shots. All the president's men love old film.
Wing the carrier home, then release a reel of any past
perfect three-point landing. Any other message

might spook the citizens. They make a mock-up,
on a movie lot. Backdrop from the 1960s, when Earth
looked blue and lovely. Like a bright glass paperweight

blown by barrel-chested men from Italy, Bulgaria.
The Chinese reel out imitations now, soot rising
from the hidden alleys of Beijing and Shanghai.

Opium of the People, from the scarlet poppies
of Afghanistan---the grey-green veil that will not
float away in time for the Olympic runners---

chugging through the atmosphere, bound for London.
Our bronzed medallion---wan, after a long illness,
like monumental sculpture, tarnished, tag-sprayed;
underpainted green, overlaid with caput mortuum.
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WHEN THE WINDOW IS ROUND
Posted by Sharon Elizabeth on 0
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(For Glenn)

When through the round window
Earth was never flat
Moon out-jumped the cow
& A star strummed his guitar
For a girl who growled on his couch
On a Sunday afternoon

Make the window bellybutton round
To remind us how to find our way back home
And we'll christen this ship, April May June
For a wildchild chewing petals in the garden tonight
Barefoot and silvered in a bath
Of satin moonlight
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BEYOND THE HORIZON
Posted by Julia Klatt Singer on 0
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Let's not talk about the cold

or how long the nights are--

as my friend Lucie says

the holidays are just a ploy

to keep us all from killing ourselves.



Death is not so far off, the silence

of the street, the dim light of stars

even the moon has turned its back

on us. And now, with only epiphany

to celebrate, we are left to our own devices.



Maybe we should be like those wise men--

show up late, wander for weeks with frankincense

and myrrh, hang with shepherds, listen for

the angels singing on high. I'll meet you

in an hour. We can go find our own god.
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GODSPEED
Posted by Suzanne Nielsen on 0
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Major Tom floats
in a most peculiar way
while grounded to his surroundings
by what he views through the portal
and dreams of the earth being green.
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STILL LIFE THROUGH WINDOW
Posted by Tim J Brennan on 0
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A woman watches apples
in their wooden bowl

from her perspective, one
apple is shaped like a heart

on a sidetable, a pitcher
of ice sweats clear beads

next to the pitcher, table salt
holds ghosts of our missing links
within its whiteness

outside, in January, ice crystals
grow like tiny lenses

all around our planet
its orbit promises resurrection
for our sins

and even with the wind
covered in echoes
of the past year

God still trusts us
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THROUGH A WINDOW, WHAT I SEE
Posted by Holy Diver on 0
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it doesn’t matter if the window is round
square, rectangular, octagonal…
or the pitch black surrounding
the mirror within the mind
a watchful eye transfixes on the roiling
beast below…
waiting for our little tragedies to play out
So small,
So insignificant,
stars are born and then they die
as you and I wait for each day with hope in heart.
i heard a man say “THIS, is the first real war of 2009”
and I thought to myself-out loud no less-
“isn’t that a lovely fucking thing to say”
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H20
Posted by GaryV on 0
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Cosmically speaking

An uncommon molecule

Here we ride a globe of it

Ignoring our luck

Or perhaps reveling it

Whoo Hoo!!!
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THE VIEW FROM SPACE
Posted by Jules on 0
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Branded: like a cow
on the side of my hip.
Like a small burn mark, I can stick
my finger in it.
A wound that shows time as it stretches
as flesh around it loosens and curdles.

We cleaned out your mother’s convertible
that day, singing and laughing
scheming and hustling.
You had cut a hole in the top,
to steal a gram and a 100 from
her purse.

They must have gotten in
through the slits.
Poured like thunderstorms
into the damp shadows of the car.

Later that afternoon, my hip went numb
we couldn’t figure a way to ignore it.
We sought white walls and
chubby smiling nurses. One leaned over and stared,
said a brown recluse had bitten me
as a black cross crusted over the scab.

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FROM ANOTHER PLANET
Posted by BB on 0
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It’s January 5, 2009, and
I have to tell you--
A funny thing happened
on my way out of Aldi’s tonite.
I carried honey, pretzels, butter, macaroni.
As I maneuvered my cart out the door
a rat scurried in, nibbling his lower lip
with his two front teeth,
like they do.

“It’s a beaver,” said young woman with baby,
boxes and bags, looking incredulously over her shoulder
as she parked her cart and retrieved her quarter.
No, it’s a rat, honey.
A fat rat
at that,
maybe a sewer rat.

You’ve got to give the critter credit
for using the front door—
no skulking around.
I wanted to follow him in.
“Butter’s down at the end in the cooler, $1.99.
Block cheese to the right, $3.50. Eggs 99 cents.
And here--here’s a plastic bag, it’ll save you a dime.”

Later, checking email at home
I found an invitation to a January 20
“Bienvenu Barack Bye Bye Bushie Bash”
from a friend fond of alliteration who
years back had accepted my charitable donation of
Betty Benner’s Better Basement Beds.

Two thousand nine may have started slow and icy--
Minnesota boring--
but things are looking up, I have to say.

I almost don’t believe that rat.
And I look forward to the party.
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WHY I’LL NEVER BE AN ASTRONAUT
Posted by Patricia Barone on 0
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How lonely in the void, avoiding
intelligent life too small to see.
Still in my hypnopompic waking

dream, I remember time-lapse
cosmos dust, the roving moon, our sun
extinguished by other suns to an urgent

shadow star. And the red shift into far
time, but closer now the yellow, blue
atmosphere of earth, the mammary

cloud pockets holding ice and water
for a monadnock, the Devil’s Tower,
looming in the desert, notched

by hail now, meteors then, and iron
hammers of first Americans;
sedimentary rock so soft it holds

our feet in mud. I’d rather look up
at the sky than down on the curving
earth from a glassy porthole to infinity.
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YOU THOUGHT HAL WAS YOUR FRIEND
Posted by Holy Diver on 0
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palm fronds blistered white
a cradle holding child to mother
your eyes don’t seem to notice
elongating dust trailing your whisper
snow today, snow tomorrow!

the chasm widens-crackling the glass bowl-
between you and I
gently drawn lines:
elastic, malleable, penetrating;
dreams don’t last long in space
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THE SKIN IN SPACE
Posted by Bryan Thao Worra on 0
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Launching life
By fire to float
above earth and tempest

In a tub of wires and surge,
Valve, pressure and tool
And a confidence in numeral.

A voice might last forever up here,
But who speaks of the poetry of
Astronauts who've returned?

The eye forever changed
That can never stop wondering

If they might just see their home
If they look hard enough,

Maybe even that lost memory
That flew into the depths below

To keep everything that's come before
And is still arriving

Company amid the clay and loam,

Like a seed that dreams of other planets
Thirsty for foam, for warmth and air.
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LETTER TO GAIA
Posted by Wendy Brown-Baez on 0
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Dear Gaia,
I am sitting at a table in a house in north Minneapolis.
The surgery went fine.
An invasion of the body but necessary.
I have a cane.
My body is trying to remember slicking in hot sun
as much as lifting its legs on their own.
It is snowing.
The snow outside my window is silent
and I am silent as well
pondering the twists and turns
that brought me to this season.
I want to tell you how much I appreciate the ride
and the wildness of your sacred groves,
tidepools and beaches, creatures from
the smallest winged insects to the stomping feet of elephants.
I want to whisper that I love you
even though you are gashed and raped and covered with cement and brick,
that your are as lovely to me with your blue seams of rivers
as the stars that are gazed upon as the next frontiers.
I want to confide in you that I need your caress, without it I can’t live
without it I can’t breathe.
I thought if you knew how much I love you,
you might feel a little less abandoned.
A little less uncertain of the impending shake up
count down to evolutionary extinction,
the loss of countless species, the grief you must feel
for the oil spilled death grip
the graceful limbed dancers
cut down to make us comfortable and smug.
I hope you can forgive us,
forgive me for neglect and irreverence.
I do burn the garbage when I camp out
but I feel helpless about landfills
mushrooming like cancer on the landscape
as if I can not say stop
as if I am just a wind in the desert
unknown to myself and lost.
I want to say that I am happy
whenever my feet wander in your streams or your meadows.
I want to say that you are beloved
in the language of earth, in the language of praise.
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THE VIEW OF YOU
Posted by Maria Campo on 0
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The star I beg at night doesn't hear a song,
but the moaning of a soul that is still lonesome.

I look at you from afar as if from another world...
You, luscious planet, future, and history,
ancient primordial feelings I wish to rediscover.

I've been searching for the light
where heavy darkness settled,
and as the pale moon up there,
the one the night sky around me well knows,
you are as good as an unmentionable wish.

I found the universe in your eyes,
but since then and after losing you,
I have been a citizen of the void.
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STILL LIFE 2 & 3
Posted by Tim J Brennan on 0
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Still Life 2

During the movie
i laughed behind
your hand

everyone thought
it was you


Still Life 3

Somewhere out there
is my shadow

beneath
this sky

You are why
I say my entire
life, why I see
an entire world
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VIEW FROM SPACE
Posted by Sharon Chmielarz on 0
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The difference between the porthole
and the womb is a little glass wall.
And I, among many, had enough
of enclosure after my first nine months.
I can forgo pretty landscapes when seen
from the claustrophobia of closet-rooms.
The sky looks better standing under it.
The nose appreciates the real smell of fish.
A large object, like the earth in a small
frame, closes the mind, rather than expands.
Give me a sycamore tree any day.
Let an owl swoop into a village
and light on the saloon. It’s Saturday night.
Boots stomp snow on the General Store’s steps.
The lights in the bank windows fade
one by one, off for a long weekend.
The clock knows only one time zone.
The fiddler warms up for the dance
and will play tomorrow in church.--See
how the mind makes the small large?

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THE VIEW FROM SPACE: CROSSING INDIA
Posted by Michael Ramberg on 0
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From here you can see Vishnu and Lakshmi
in tantric roilings, her oceans lapping his
dangling subcontinent, his sandy arms
caressing the foam of her breast as
cloudy roiling blankets are cast away.

Tinman orbits to eavesdrop, Mercury
spying in a mission fig-leafed by science,
he records their couplings and
sends the data back to Houston,
where heavy-breathing scientists
peer into their secrets while the
Gulf of Mexico lies
languid, moist, and jealous.
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