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Why is it often so difficult to stay present in the moment? Poet Sachiko Murakami asked this question in an open call on the Internet, and in airports across the globe, from YVR (Vancouver) to RKV (Reykjavik), people in transit stopped to note in only one sentence their impressions of things, events, people, and feelings. The poems that result from this experiment in crowd-sourcing content search departures and arrivals for a handhold on the fleeting present. Working within and wriggling out of the formal constraint of fourteen lines, Get Me Out of Here explores what poems need to do to stay when the mind is begging to leave.
The following poem is taken from page 19 of Get Me Out of Here. Each poem is prefaced by a line or sentence sent to Murakami as a point of inspiration, then a mention of the person who sent the line and which airports they were in the midst of traversing. In this case, Murakami’s poem was inspired by a line sent by fellow Talon poet ryan fitzpatrick, author of Fortified Castles (2014).
Due to the sprawl, soon the airport will be an urban island akin to Nose Hill.
ryan fitzpatrick, YYC–YYZ
From satellite, a numb hole in the urban plan,
or relief from its logic.
All known views shift gaze away;
see how downtown looks like a snow globe!
Come back to the gate.
You’re still in this line to get to the next line.
To look inward at the Calgary International Airport,
stretch the idea of plateau, then write down “plateau” in case you forget.
Cut open doors and windows to create a place.
In its absence, there is the function of a place.
Come back to the experience of this uncomfortable chair / of this plateau,
then while live-tweeting this, call it “here.”
Google “here.” Google Maps “here.” Google Images “here.”
YouTube “here.” Ask your followers, “here?”
Hint: we’re not really “here.”