Street Astronomer

Step right up! see the lunar craters and plains,
only a quarter! See the mountains of the moon
it’s best right at the sunrise line
yes, it seems backwards, because of the optics
the cloud belts of Jupiter, and its four
estrellitas a la derecha son
large moons, discovered by Galileo in 1610
the dark spot is Io’s shadow;
that’s Europa to the right
look straight into the glass dot,
into the center, slowly now
Saturn’s rings, tiny but perfect
don’t shake the tube,
or you’ll lose it, the crescent Venus,
No one turned away who can’t pay.

Are you a pervert? Do you do parties?
Whose window are you looking through, anyway?
Can you read my horoscope? I’m really twisted tonight.
Must be the North Star—ain’t no such thing as Jupiter!
I bet the image is taped to your lens
like a cell membrane…or maybe an eye
or something off of a Cap’n Crunch box.
Freaky…like frog’s eggs…you might as well beg.

Can you see meteorites crossing the moon?
Where’s the Man? Can you see the flag!
It’s like a golf ball. There’s Russians up there.
Strange…wicked…I see the Giants practicing.
Do you see any blacks or Puerto Ricans up there?
looks like a snowflake…frost in a windowpane
a cookie…a crystal… concrete…or cocaine
a golf ball…a sugar cube…a plaster cast
Is it smiling or sad tonight?
like ice…a germ…a bad case of acne.
Get out the forks and crackers!
and what sort of cheese is it, anyway?
They said in the
Globe that they found
a World War II bomber in a crater up there.

I used to have a telescope in my backyard
saw someone doing this uptown yesterday
once read Heinlein’s novel about farming Ganymede
saw Halley’s Bummer—just a little fuzzball
designed a new life-form, a colloid named Sven
like a cutout, a Kewpie doll
going to the South Pole, to study the sun
seen the spaceship behind the comet?
or maybe the CBS logo— it doesn’t look real
stole a copy of
Mr. Bass’s Planetoid from a library the other day—
Nobody’s done this since the thirties
and how do you know it’s Jupiter, anyway?

--Tony Hoffman

(c) 1999

Published in
Autumn Leaves.

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