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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 01, 2008

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Submitted: January 01, 2008




This is not nostalgia -
to love the aspect ratio
of a ageing aircraft’s wings.
No, not nostalgia -
just awareness
of the halting movement towards
aerodynamic efficiency
that a portly fuselage
and dragging tail proclaim.

I love the special grace
that early airliners have.
Low wing monoplanes -
I love to see them fly
in livery of an earlier age,
and remember that I too
used to ride in DC-3s.

On Guatemala’s Pacific coast,
I recall -
sharing space with crates and goats,
bucket seats padded in wicker,
cut from barrels with seatbelts frayed.
Habitually overloaded
the DC-3 plunged over cliff
at the runways end,
to gather sufficient speed
to gain some height
to fly back over rising land again.

Flying Allegany Airlines,
tucked up in my bridge coat
within the under-heated cabin,
somnambulant from the hum
of engine noise
and muted conversations
as we bump our way on
milk runs to D.C.

Of C-47’s lined up on the tarmac
no longer hauling freight of war,
Caribbean inter-island ferries
of growing tourist numbers now.
Lendlease Quonset huts for terminals,
and palm trees for wind socks,
hear the engines bellow,
straining in the salty, humid air.
And I am in no hurry
to see BWIA
bring the first
long-range British Comets here.

I have no love for the whine
of a jet’s compressors;
though I will allow a fondness
for turbo-props on high wing
winding roar blasting snow
past my window
as we taxi at O’Hare.

Inspired intergenerational marketing –
One Mickey D’s
had a DC-3 in Miller’s Airline livery
in place of children’s playground.
Eat your lunch in the cabin -
though at a tail-draggers incline
that was a little hard to do.
Or sit in the pilot’s seat -
work controls and pretend
to be flying over Perth forever.
That airplane now a
museum graces;
more fitting use I believe
than gathering french-fries
in its wheel wells.

I’m sure that it is the thundering roar
of piston engines that I love,
and even today I will stop my work
and search the sky
when a DC-3 – bellowing –
wanders overhead,
giving younger folk
joyrides over Perth.

James Gagiikwe © 2008

© Copyright 2018 James Gagiikwe. All rights reserved.

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