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Hey Rube....

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith Receives Harvard Arts Medal Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images

The first track still almost swings. High hat and snare, even

A few bars of sax the stratosphere will singe-out soon enough.

Synthesized strings. Then something like cellophane

Breaking in as if snagged to a shoe. Crinkle and drag. White noise,

Black noise. What must be voices bob up, then drop, like metal shavings

In molasses. So much for us. So much for the flags we bored

Into planets dry as chalk, for the tin cans we filled with fire

And rode like cowboys into all we tried to tame. Listen:

The dark we’ve only ever imagined now audible, thrumming,

Marbled with static like gristly meat. A chorus of engines churns.

Silence taunts: a dare. Everything that disappears

Disappears as if returning somewhere.

The Universe: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Tracy K. Smith (22nd Poet Laureate of the United States)

2018 ALAAnnual Conference & Exhibition Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage