Spy Balloon


So, it has come to this:
the sky is filled with treacherous
balloons from the Far East
and I thought the Hindenburg age
had passed

Did you know
that Mao published poetry
he even was a librarian once
but he wouldn’t share his patrons
reading selections with Chang

However, he did say that reading
too many books is harmful

For the record
Google already knows how many
forks are on my table and that I use
my grandmother’s linens
Apple keeps tabs on where I dine
it knows that I Googled “spy balloon”
before I wrote this poem

I am sure I’ve been flagged
for checking out texts by and about
Mao (and Stalin) and in some
bureaucratic fever dream this is proof
I am a communist even though China is
one-party state capitalist
which sounds like Pinochet Milton
Friedman and Fox News to me

Still, I don’t recall Mao philosophizing
about safe non-flammable helium
floating among the people like a flying
fish or how he would take the west’s pulse
storing dance videos and cat antics
on a TikTok database.

About the Poem

My poem is a response to the presence of a Chinese “spy balloon” flying over the continental United States. In a world where the Doomsday Clock stands at ninety seconds to midnight, the shooting down of a balloon strikes me as (perhaps) one of the more unintentionally comedic stories of our young year of constant crisis. I am waiting for some pundit or governmental official (who ignores climate change) to tell me why this balloon should frighten me to death.

About the Author

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in Canada. He is a 2022 Best of the Net nominee in poetry from Eastern Iowa Review. Jeremy is the author of Of Fat Dogs & Amorous Insects (Alien Buddha Press, 2021).

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