On that one-way trip to Mars by Marlena Chertock
Life, the universe, these two intermingle throughout Marlena Chertock’s “On that one-way trip to Mars”. Quite observant, the collection neatly focuses on the sadness that comes from planetary movements from hundreds of years away to the fragile nature of humanity. In a way, it celebrates how far humanity has come in trying to better understand its place in a vast space. The idea behind much of it is how fortunate humanity has been by its sheer existence. Over the course of Marlena Chertock’s movement from across the solar system the elements of science and of life come into focus. By including references to science, pop culture’s relationship to science, the collection is able to have a playfulness while still exploring the serious problems that afflict people throughout their lives.
From the beginning the collection lets the science take hold, at least at first. Nature prevents a comfortable existence, with Mercury the one to blame. Slowly a family comes into view: the advice of a father, the trauma of a childhood, and birth of a star. The fleeting quality of life takes on a different aspect within the poetry. By opting to move away from the emotional and into the intellectual, Marlena Chertock lets the small period of time that defines a human life gain a universal approach. She speaks of those aliens who will see what is left of humanity after it all passes away. Gone will be languages, the aesthetics that defined society, and the way that distance within a single country becomes so small on a galactic scale.
The problems faced by humans are uniquely their own. Weak bones can make a life harder to get through, the way a medical device can determine precisely what the problem might be. On Earth the strange thing is how many different seasons exist, representing birth and death in unequal doses. Fragility from the winter gives away to the bloom of spring and the stifling heat of summer. Despite this, a few hardly creatures like the evergreen remain constants. Earth choose this path to offer flux and consistency to allow humanity to find comfort with its surroundings. Genetically the way humanity has evolved is one that emphasizes necessity. Sadly, there remain a number of things that continue to afflict poor children. Fortunately though due to the sheer number of humans on Earth no matter how rare such a thing might be there is always support without leaving one’s small world.
Relationships within the universe are real too. Gravity’s pull results in a variety of unusual orbits. Moons gain great power over their planets, determining dust storms and similar entities. The planets offer the moons a place to crash, to try and build their confidence. David Bowie’s music can help he was fairly focused on the outer limits of the world’s influence. To graduate from such an influence, from the parental guidance from the orbits, takes a lot of time. Immediately after graduation there is a lost period, one where finding a path can take up a lot of time. Mars is one of those lost periods, an almost Earth where things may be easier.
Instability is a guarantee for all of life and the universe. The seemingly random occurs more frequently than anybody wants to admit. Finding intelligent design is impossible for there is nothing that can be set in stone all is in flux. Growth takes a long time and for many is no certainty. Unfortunately this means a number of people are mocked as they age with the mocking becoming more subtle with every year. Attraction can reduce this mocking making a person feel wanted welcome loved. One of the main governing forces of the universe, attraction can be felt by people and celestial bodies, resulting in a little more light in such cold dark places.