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Tomorrowland & Man’s Dominion


I think it is equal in importance to that moment in evolution when aquatic life came crawling up on land.

—Wernher von Braun on humanity entering space, Los Angeles, 1955–1957


Some days after work, I’d rent a speedboat

from Long Beach and hop it out to Catalina

for an evening dive. What a thrill every

time, the chill of sliding through blue skin,

descending down the long teal folds of fulgid

kelp. A bright humming brain of gold baubles

lifting braids to the sky like a praising willow

swaying in the sugared light. I was almost lost,

weightless and wondering through the ocean

with no one following me but the moon as it

rose to look upon its navel. Omphaloskepsis: to

consider the divine inside the belly. When Jonah

was ankle-sunk in stomach acid, he was learning

the volcano’s wrath that gave birth to land. I could

spend hours floating in the whale constellation,

that dark, starry sea of seas. The umbilicus of space

that ties us to the womb of ocean. I wanted a rocket

to break through the egg with its tooth, dislocating

heaven and earth’s denotations. When we first

fumble around in the moon’s cratered belly, what will

we call our new lexis? How will we learn to be in

the universe but not of it once we leave behind our

world? The mystical isn’t in the ecstasy of floating

through space, our fragile bones eroding, but in

bearing the burden of our attachment toward a

center. Peter met Christ on the water because

he wanted to be like him. I designed Lunetta to churn

out gravity for the future to meet the cosmic Christ.



Man’s Dominion

And don’t tell me that man doesn’t belong out there  [space]. Man belongs wherever he wants to go—and

he’ll  do plenty well when he gets there.

―Wernher von Braun, 1958


Standing at the edge of the Yucatan

jungle, I felt an urge to just run

blindly into it. The adrenaline was like a

timpani drum roll, paving the entrance

for the brass. I hired a guide, and as we

pushed through curling palms, ferns, and

snagging vines, I swear I could smell the jaguar’s

urine on the trees it had sprayed, hear

echoes of the animals that had fled before it.

I could hear a mosquito filled with a pyramid

of blood. When we saw the jaguar,

I became quiet as space, holding every

sound against the butt of my rifle.

Like when I held the liturgy candle,

planning each step so I wouldn’t spill the wax,

trying to pretend no one was watching.

His fur was glistening jet oil, his gaping mouth

a range of snowcapped teeth. The God who

framed his symmetry pitch-dark dared to

lock my limbs into their grooves

as well. He meandered through the lushness as a black

hole against a canopy of stars, his gold eyes

moving like jumpy flying saucers

in a child’s sloppy flipbook. I aligned

the crosshairs half a meter ahead of him

and pulled the trigger like a prophet

releasing a message before the people were ready.

My throat felt as if I had swallowed too

much water. I strode through the mist

toward my trophy, the graceful carcass already

hazy with flies. I had my guide put it in the jeep

and drive me into town to have it skinned.



John-Michael Bloomquist

John-Michael Bloomquist lives in DC with his wife. His poetry has been published in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Superstition Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Third Coast, Heavy Feather Review, among others, and is forthcoming in Atticus Review and Cider Press Review. He is looking to foster a cat and start a support group for people distraught by the J.J. Abrams Star Wars movies. Please feel free to reach out to him at [email protected].