A Poem on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

The Telstar Blues
by Kim Burnham (Nov 2010)

Telstar the satellite
The first of her kind
Three feet tall and pudgy
But gliding like an ice dancer

She wears blue and silver
And she loves to chat
And share pictures with her mother
Like girls do.

It was the sixties.
Down below, a boy took
A girl with golden hair
To the movies.

After the movie, he asked her
If she wanted to drive up
The mesa and see
Telstar pass overhead.

When they arrived – silence
“Well,” she said,
Fingers in her hair,
“What now?”

“Be patient,” he said.
“She will move
Right overhead
In about twelve minutes.”

The girl laughed out loud.
“You really want
To show me a satellite?
I thought it was a line.”

She asked, “what do you do
When you’re not
Watching shiny metal
Objects in the sky?”

“Model rockets” – no reply
“Collecting rocks” – silence
(No football or guitar)
“And writing poetry”

Then she smiled.
“Write one for me
Right now,” she said,
Touching her cheek.

“I can’t “
“Why not?”
“It takes inspiration.”
“And I’m not inspiring?”

“You’re beautiful
But it’s not ordering lunch -
Ham and cheese
With a side of inspiration.”

Then came the pinpoint
Of white light
Overhead in the darkness
Moving west to east.

“That’s it ?”
“Yes, that was her.”
“But it was just
A slow shooting star.”

“Yes, but she’s our star
Don’t you see?
A star shot
By mankind.”

“Oh,” the girl said deadpan.
Then they drove
Away in silence
Both home before curfew.

Years later, the boy married
Another girl
Who liked poetry
And gazing at satellites.

And Telstar kept on dancing -
In her cold dark arena
Always watching over
Her pudgy blue and silver mother

Down below, the boy
Finally wrote a poem
For the girl with golden hair
Four decades late.

And Telstar is still up here
Silent now
(Fried by radiation)
But still shining.

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