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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 25

'On The Bus To Utica'

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 98 11:19:04 PDT
Fwd Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 18:39:02 -0400
Subject: 'On The Bus To Utica'

Hi, everybody,

The following poem by Carl Dennis appears in
the July 6, 1998, issue of The New Republic
(p. 44):

On the Bus to Utica

Up to a year ago I'd have driven myself to Utica
As I've always done when visiting Aunt Jeannine.
But since last summer, and the bad experience in my car
With aliens, I prefer bus travel. Do you believe
In intelligent peoples elsewhere in our universe
More advanced than we are who might be visiting?
Neither did I till experience forced me
To widen the narrow notion of the possible
Common to people like me who have faith in science.
It happened one night last fall after the Rotary meeting.
I'd lingered, as chapter chairman, to sort my notes,
So I wasn't surprised when I finally got to the lot
To find my car the only one there, though the shadows
Hovering over it should have been a tip-off
And the strong odor I had trouble placing --
Salty, ashy, metallic. My thoughts were elsewhere,
Reliving the vote at the meeting to help a restaurant
Take its first steps in a risky neighborhood.
So the element of surprise was theirs, the four of them,
Three who pulled me in when I opened the door
And one who drove us out past the town edge
To a cleared field where a three-legged landing craft
Big as a moving van sat idling. In its blue-green light
I caught my first good look of their faces.  Like ours,
But with eyes bigger and glossier, and foreheads bumpier
With bristles from the eyebrows up, the hair of hedgehogs.
No rudeness from them, no shouting or shoving.
Just quiet gestures signaling me to sit down
And keep calm as we rose in silence to the mother ship.
I remember the red lights of the docking platform,
A dark hall, a room with a gurney where it dawned on me
Just before I went under there would be no discussions,
No sharing of thoughts on the fate of the universe,
No messages to bring back to my fellow earthlings.
When I woke from the drug they'd dosed me with
I was back in the car, in the Rotary parking lot,
With a splitting headache and a feeling I'd been massaged
Hard for a week or two by giants.  Now I feel fine
Though my outlook on life has altered.  It rankles
To think that beings have reached us who are smugly certain
All they can learn from us is what we can learn
From dissecting sea worms or banding geese.
Let's hope their science is pure at least,
Not a probe for a colony in the Milky Way.
Do you think they've planted a bug inside me?
Is that why you're silent?  Fear will do us more harm
Than they will.  Be brave.  Speak out.

Tell me something you won't confide to your friends
Out of fear they may think you strange, eccentric.
If you're waiting for an audience that's more congenial,
More sensitive than the one that happens
To be sitting beside you now on this ramshackle bus,
I can sympathize.  Once I waited too.
Now, as you see, I take what's offered.

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