Summer Poem: “Jet” by Tony Hoagland

Not a lengthy post today, but in the spirit of this July weekend, I thought I would share a summer poem that reminds me of spending time with my brothers in my late teens and early 20s, under the stars, and imbibing in the spirits of our youth (perhaps too much even). Art is cathartic—even if it’s just warm nostalgia.

“Jet” by Tony Hoagland

Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel   
with the boys, getting louder and louder   
as the empty cans drop out of our paws   
like booster rockets falling back to Earth

and we soar up into the summer stars.   
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,   
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish   
and old space suits with skeletons inside.   
On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,

and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.

And now the crickets plug in their appliances   
in unison, and then the fireflies flash
dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation   
for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex   
someone is telling in the dark, though

no one really hears. We gaze into the night
as if remembering the bright unbroken planet
we once came from,
to which we will never
be permitted to return.
We are amazed how hurt we are.
We would give anything for what we have.

Works Cited