Feb. 20, 2010

The Alien

by Greg Delanty

I'm back again scrutinizing the Milky Way
           of your ultrasound, scanning the dark
                       matter, the nothingness, that now the heads say
           is chockablock with quarks & squarks,
gravitons & gravitini, photons & photinos. Our sprout,

who art there inside the spacecraft
           of your ma, the time capsule of this printout,
                       hurling & whirling towards us, it's all daft
           on this earth. Our alien who art in the heavens,
our Martian, our little green man, we're anxious

to make contact, to ask questions
           about the heavendom you hail from, to discuss
                       the whole shebang of the beginning & end,
           the pre–big bang untime before you forget the why
and lie of thy first place. And, our friend,

to say Welcome, that we mean no harm, we'd die
           for you even, that we pray you're not here
                       to subdue us, that we'd put away
           our ray guns, missiles, attitude and share
our world with you, little big head, if only you stay.

"The Alien" by Greg Delanty, from The Ship of Birth. © Louisiana State University Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission (buy now)

It's the birthday of playwright Russel Crouse, (books by this author) born in Findlay, Ohio (1893). His play State of the Union (1946) won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and was made into a movie starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Crouse is also famous for writing the books for musicals. When we think of musicals, we tend to think of the people who wrote the music and the lyrics, like Rodgers and Hammerstein for The Sound of Music. But all the dialogue or words that are not sung are called the book, and Crouse wrote books — in fact, he co-wrote wrote the book for The Sound of Music, as well as Anything Goes.

It's the birthday of the writer who caused Stephen King to say: "When people talk about genre, I guess they mention my name first, but without Richard Matheson I wouldn't be around. He is as much my father as Bessie Smith was Elvis Presley's mother." Horror and science fiction writer Richard Matheson (books by this author) was born in Allendale, New Jersey (1926). He wrote for television shows, including The Twilight Zone and Star Trek, and he wrote more than 20 novels and 100 short stories. His most famous books include I Am Legend (1954), The Shrinking Man (1956), later retitled The Incredible Shrinking Man, and What Dreams May Come (1978).

It was on this day in 1952 that Dylan Thomas (books by this author) flew to New York for his first reading tour of the United States. He became a huge celebrity, with people packing auditoriums to see him and hear his deep voice with its Welsh accent. Stories about his drinking and womanizing were told and retold, and he certainly encouraged them — he called himself "the drunkenest man in the world," and claimed that the purpose of his tour was "to continue my lifelong search for naked women in wet mackintoshes."

It was on this day in 2005 that the "gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thompson (books by this author) died. He shot and killed himself at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado. He was 67 years old.

He honed his offbeat, edgy writing style in such works as Hell's Angels (1966) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972) and many other books.

He wrote, "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone ... but they've always worked for me."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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