Caleb Nichols

LIFE ON MARS (2021)

After “Space Program” by A Tribe Called Quest

Content note: includes reclamatory use of queerphobic slur

Yes, Mars still glows red
from our earthbound slant
but Perseverance has shown
that mostly, it’s just dirt-
colored, dusty.

What it needs
are some faggots,
to brighten its dim
corners; real, vibrant
earthqueers, Elon, &
some of us are wonder-
ing: will there be faggots
on Mars?

& how does one
procure a seat on the
chrome-dipped rocketship
& how does one become
the payload in its tip?

Will it ferry faeries
across that styx
mouths full of crypto
into the new world
of the dead planet
or will it be predictably
Gattaca: perfect male
perfect female, Nazi shit
the CRISPR-kissed children
of the neo-natural order
who appreciate power
collared, branded, crowned
with the apartheid emeralds
X Æ A-XII brought along
as worry stones?

It’s easier
for me to imagine
the Mars Occupation
the Jupiter Moon Missions
the Earth2 type long-hauls
as strictly business, &
as such, straight—
intergalactic/ missionary
missionary/ intergalactic—
seeding the Martian core
with some sort of terra-
forming hydrogen bomb
which will, no doubt, trans-
form its surfaces
into something resembling
Irvine, California, a Master-
Planned Community, a dull
suburban planet where
everything is as nature
morality intended:
ones into zeros
the crooked places
made straight, the kinks
worked out, the right pills
swallowed.

And so no
I don’t expect there’ll be
faggots on Mars
or any other
signs of life.

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