Poetry in Motion: flying home from Atlanta

I just returned home from visiting schools in Roswell, Georgia. I spoke in Cogburn Woods, Roswell North and Mountain Park elementary schools. The students, teachers and parents that I met were terrific. Here is a special shout-out to Media Specialists Martha Powell and Jody Brooks, who made my days run so smoothly. I wish I had photos to show you, but this was a working trip and there was very little time for fun. I stayed with an old friend, artist Rae Broyles, and drew pictures with her kids, Britta* (third grade) and Kristof (second grade) one day after school. Kristof made the drawing above for me.

*Britta just asked me to add this.

I used to live in Atlanta from 1984 until January of 1998, so it was wild to drive around and see what had changed (more big buildings, much more traffic) and what was still the same. (my old house is still the same paint job I did- and my sassafras porch swing is still there.) I ate at an old favorite restaurant, Canoe- my friends Rae and Matt pointed out the waterline inside the restaurant where the Chattahoochee River flooded, turning the dining room into a lagoon. If you go, eat this: Slow Roasted Carolina Rabbit with Swiss Chard – Bacon Ravioli, Sweet Potato Hash and Candied Garlic Sauce  It was amazing.

The time in Atlanta was over too quickly. Rae handed me off to my friend Yvonne in the Target parking lot, and Yvonne and I grabbed a late lunch before she took me to Hartsfield airport. We ate blue plate specials in Star Provisions near the Waterworks. Full of meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and collard greens I headed through airport security and into the "transportation zone" which really translates into "The Twilight Zone."

What is it about flying that turns people into zombies? It is really fascinating to me how some of the worst character traits seem to magnify themselves in airplanes.

I won't go into detail about my flight home here. But what I will do is post the poem that I wrote on the plane. I think it is self-explanatory.

 (©Nina Laden 2011)

Flying through the air
Turbulence in the chair
Coming from a child
Kicking my seat.
My ears, they are plugged
By earphones tightly snugged
Playing the blues
To mask the shrieks.
The parents don’t seem to care
That there is anyone there
Who paid to take this flight.
Torture for five hours
I wish I had magic powers
To make the time quickly pass.
Yet in my bubble I fret
And try to forget
That others are flying first class.
So I’m stuck in this tube
No empty seats to move
With a pressurized cabin
Too many people gabbing
A seatmate who is quite obese.
They charge you for bags
You come home with jet lag
Is it too much to ask for peace?
Sure I could have driven
No kids would be kicking
But it would take a week.
Now someone’s passing gas
This, too, shall pass
Like the turbulence at
Thirty thousand feet.
There’s something about this altitude
That puts me in a very bad mood
Landing and baggage claim
Is the only relief.

Okay, what do you think? And what do you do to cope with flying?
With Love,


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