AMELIA EARHART, excerpts from a work-in-progress


"I believe it was the winter of 1918 that I first became
interested in airplanes."Amelia & I breakfast at
the 10th Ave Diner18th streetShe's having
sunnysides up& I'm just coffeeno sugar.We're
talking about thelakes of Minnesotawhere we
both spent many summers.I explain my theoryof how
her love for flyingcomes frombeing fromthe
Midwest.I myself get claustrophobicif I can't see
for five or six miles in all 4 directionsI say.She
agreesAs far as the eyeWheatis all
we hearrough beards raspingland & air
Unrolled.the plains
People like uswant it backshe tells me
We want to flatten everything around usAlways Clearing
ClearingPushingmaking spaceWe want acre upon
acreupon acrethe plains . . . . . . . . the flat runway before us
the song of the enginethe terrible velocity& then
the spaceit's the moment inbetweenthe thing
at the end of it allwhat we are always afterthat Flat
that lucidthat unstoppedOpening!the Space . . . . . .

"Assholes!"her eyes seem grey in this soupthe hangers
chalk& greysound of the engines grey& far offI
craved those fogged-in afternoonsjust the two of usgetting
high&hanging outWe'd work on the Electrasome
have a beer or twothen share our last jointunder the fuselage
&shoot the breezethe reward for marriage is getting a
man's namewe decidedMrs DonaldRoscoe Jr.Mrs
Kenneth Norton the IIIVowing the nexttime we raninto
Ginger& Tootieon the streetwe'd hail themasDon!
& Ken!the old levitation trickfirst anger crushes
then leaves youlight as airarmsquashed into doorjam
step out& up it goesFinally we'd laugh til we were sick
guffawingout of controlgoing spazin the spilled beer&
oilhuggingpawing each other wildlywe'd laugh til
we sloshedtumbling in spilt motor oilspazing outwe'd
laugh til we were sickpouring the rest of the beerin
each other's hairhugging & sloshing in spilled motor oil--
We always.wore khakis & boots.& if I smokedI'd
tuck my deckin my rolledt shirt sleevethe way poets
door stash a homemade behind my ear like in the films
WhileAE'd stand out thereinvisibilityzero
Hootingthe long letters of her nameA M E L I A . . . . . . .
E A R H A R T . . . . . . ..

It's about space& claustrophobiaAE
born in Atchison Kansasme I'm Minnesota We
were passing timeat the openingDoping on the
works"Who is this creep!"Her arrogance made me
horny& woozie at the same timestanding on one
footthe way she often doesDark gabardine
blousy pantsher shirts were always oversizedthe
leather flying jacket looked authenticbut sometimes I
think she never combed her hairher lips were always
swollenwith wind & sunthey reminded me
oftreestheir great swollen arches
drawing . . . . . . then closing behind youYou're like
your planeI startedI had to talkto keep talking
so she'd stayshe hated crowdsI put my fingers on her
wristI was terrified it was over between usI couldn't
get my breathit's about spaceshe began

Halfway through PennsylvaniaI start to relax& by the
time we hit IllinoisI just feel happyNothing has
changed in my lifebut I'm happyI feel so goodthen
into Iowa the weight is gonejust lifted that's all I feel
like a girl againwaving my armsOnce I jumped from
the carran alongsideditch grass stinging my
thighslegs flyingmy arms outstretched so my shadow
resembled a plane
there's this weight on my chest & now it's just
Gonecompletely gone!I'm airy as feathers
half the world is skyit's just everywhereyou
won't see skylike thatexcept out there
I find
trees amazing& terribleAE said . . . . . .

If a huge letter Mhad been constructed in the gallery
it could have been remarked that while Amelia & I occupied
an area at the acute angle in the upper left where leg met
center lineMabel Boll could be found chatting three quarters
of the way down the right legtwirling a swizzle stick in
scotch & sodalight reflected off her in all directions
Bathed herself in jewelryQueen of Diamonds
under the powder a slight sunburn could be
detectedher bucket was the Columbia
she plannedto beat Ameliaacross the Atlantic







The quarters a pilot works infour feet eight

inches highfour feet six inches widefour feet
six inchesfore & aft


I took 48 feet of heat tapefour packs of four 3 foot
lengths of insulationa flashlighta trouble light a
roll of duct tapea scissors& a radio to keep track
of the space shuttle.Left radio & insulation at stooping
heightLeft trouble light . & extra heat tape at crawling
heightTook duct tape scissors & enough heat tapeSlip
pingslithering on my backa miniature dust stormrotating
thick dirteyes & nose filling with sedimentthe body
stiffcaught betweenelement& elementArriving beside
the tiny cold copper pipingbut unable to move even my head
side to side or lift an arm

klos tro fo bi a, N. (fr. L. calustrum, a confined place +
phobia.)Med. Morbid dread of being in closed rooms or narrow
places.the Italian filmwhere
Ulysses is thrown into a heavy stone prisonthen ever so slowly
the ceiling begins to descendfirst he is forced to stoop
then to crawlthen finally to flatten himself on the floor
& pushat the last second he is saved by JasonBut
the experience has left him araving lunatic

Don't coughstorming more dust into the small stratosphere
all fingers feeling lessin numbing mercuries

first woman to cross the Atlantic by plane
first woman to fly the Atlantic alone
first person to solo between Hawaii & California

her horizon& her instruments







At breakfast the question of nuclear weapons in space

Nowthe voices were fadedthey sang to herHer own
namein bitsUnderneath 2556 miles of water whistled
shoretunesits soft clapping a comfort& a horror
The plane is the point at which the fog & the sea would meet.
A koan is a puzzle that cannot be answered in ordinary ways.
All my
Electrons Lord!all my protonsneutronsleptons
mesonsbaryonsall my Gravitons!this will be
the secret of my disappearanceA massless particle
is a particleof zero rest mass all of its energyis energy

of motion

O geographyMy Great Flat Home

the corpsefloateda strange shaped emerald
under the sea



Maureen Owen

read the author's Bio and Working Notes

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