Make Earth Great
 
So this is a poem I wrote on Twitter, with the horrible constraint of 140 characters per stanza, and worse, not being able to go back and edit. (Don't do this. Write it in Protext and copy it into Twitter, if you have to. What was I thinking?) What I was thinking was the impulse of response, combined with having the beginning come to me. I spend a lot of time combatting the Romantic image of poetry. I admit I do it as an exercise, I seldom admit I do it because I can't stop myself. But sometimes, stopping myself can be very hard. Nevertheless, revision is valuable, and so is having time to think. This is revised and a little rethought, and improved by taking the trouble. Also with more punctuation and with "and" instead of the & Twitter forced me to use.

The impulse was that I'd tweeted a link to the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, with the note "just in case". And somebody said "But how can we get there?" 


If they built an ark they wouldn't take me

I'm old and fat with a disability

And menopause, it's just too late

So I'll stay and make Earth great.


You know, like Earth was great before

In the Great Depression & the Great World War

Before the world turned soft and kind

And left all that behind.


When men were men and whites were white

And justice wept and might made right 

And all went on as it did before,

Like 1984.


With real people on real Earth

Those just like me who know our worth,

And real people aren't trans or bi

Or funny colors and I know why.


If I had to own those folk were real

I'd have to care and I'd have to feel

I'd use respect and empathy

And have less left for me.


Is a woman real without a dick?

Is a gay, a Muslim, is someone sick?

If you have to grant that they're people too

Does the world have space for you?


Of course we know that the answer's yes

But asking caused this hideous mess

But if we keep on shovelling shit

There's a pony under it.


We can make Earth great without that fear

Look round, accept that we're all real here

Respect is not a zero sum

And empathy never dumb.


And Earth's great now, and I love the place

And someday soon we can get to space

And though I'm white and poor and cold

It's better now than in days of old


The more of us work to set things right

Bright candles burning against the night

Unlike, together, a paradox

And hope, the last thing in every box.