3 min readJun 28, 2022

Wheels Up

Four months of aimless air travel

Once a dream, now something else.

Every day a face for check-in, another for security,

dismantle tech and liquids, practised, wary capoeira

Daze the shopping rat maze, snaking to the gate.

The face for the gate. The face when welcomed aboard.

Seat-neighbours smiling, standing to let through.

The gallantry of new-born parents.

The bottomless betrayal in their babies’ scratching wails,

mercilessly squeezed by pressure differentials.

The hope and dismay cycle of slow-delivered meals,

vegetarians get theirs first — in itself a first.

Seatback maps, like meaningful google,

as amazing as the farting

and the dim-lit night-time crossing hours,

when everybody’s in on the madness of it all.

Padding laps in aisles, wading swarming screens –

dreamtime mission control, snuck up on from behind.

Billions of minds, sampled to hundreds,

sieved through forty movies, playing out of sync.

The face for when the toilet door opens.

The face for the mirror. The face for the next one in.

The grand geoporn floorshow crawls past, scuffed by plexiglass,

until moon picks out snow, or wingtip lights cut through rain,

or deserts bloom, like crinkle-paper worlds, seizing gut and breath.

Muted plaintive pings say come to my seat — or sit the fuck down.

Attendants’ secret glances, and the faces of humans sleeping.

A face for utter privacy, packed among one’s brethren.

And on every leg of ocean, tundra, ridge or cloud,

a face for the laminated warning that says

your nearest exit may be behind you.