182.1: Daniel Altenburg:: Australia 15 (Dead Night Scatter) & Cargo & Australia 6: The Dream
2 February 2015
When we look up at the night sky, we are looking up at victims. They may be shackled in stars, jointed by light, but they are still the patterns that have been formed after torture and rape. Daniel Altenburg's poems this week operate within the stratospheric depths beneath this sad empyrean. Engine burn­off, sexual violence, and Classical allusions mark the liminal spaces between gods and mortals, between desire and its consequences. Altenburg reimagines our trips to the stars through alternative examples. Mothballed spacecraft, sexual histories, and the bodies of astronauts chart the hidden costs of progress, the tradeoffs of history that so often go unmentioned. Amidst the detritus, Altenburg discovers light in burning embers rather than the twinkling stars. He discovers lyricism. He discovers a path, even, toward humaneness.