Flight restrictions

Posted: May 10, 2012 in Poetry, urban poems

After an eternity in queues,
I stand on the threshold of the airport scanner,
wondering just how deep it can search.

Will impatience trigger its alarm?
Can it probe into my neuro-pathways,
note the quiet throb behind my temples,
frustration humming away, a nuclear reactor
ignorant of forces that can break down its walls.

Coatless and shoeless,
I am a refugee on the border
waiting for the acceptance of another country.

Finally a finger beckons.
I step forward into the vacuum
of a delayed heartbeat and …


I am free to fly,
but not in the way of birds.

  1. aprille says:

    So real and seemingly harmless, but such a threat when you start thinking. Well done to get the feeling of dehumanization across.

  2. claudia says:

    ha this is so very cool…reminds me of how i stood waiting forever at newark airport, waiting to be allowed to enter the united states…so this has a strangely familiar feeling…nice…like it much

  3. jody says:

    oooh i love this. ending pulls it completely together for me. not in the way of birds…. nice!

  4. brian miller says:

    ha. some of those guys take their job way too serious…and have you been through one of the sniffer machines…crazy…i would love to fly like a bird you know…smiles.

  5. all time oldes says:

    Really interesting – the dehumanising effect machines can have on us. .. “coatless and shoeless … waiting for acceptance ..”

  6. I really like this…nice capture of that “refugee on the border” ….your last two lines are great ~


  7. tashtoo says:

    LOVE this! In all seriousness, I am afraid to fly…not afraid of the planes…but afraid of getting trapped somewhere that’s not home due to language, body scanners, or looking at someone the wrong way! You got me with this one! 🙂 Awesome!

  8. How deep can it search? Isn’t it just a bit alarming?!

  9. Very nice work, when I was in Jordan they did pat downs and everyone had machine guns, a whole new level of fear.

  10. hobgoblin2011 says:

    I’ve thought similarly before at an airport, love the refugee metaphor here, really does make you think. Thanks

  11. ManicDdaily says:

    We all like this! A familiar feeling these days, so well-expressed. I live in downtown NYC, right next to Ground Zero so I tend to actually not mind airport security! I hate it here in fact when people complain. But also know the frustration, and certainly at the borders it’s very unsettling. Your poem expresses that very well. k.

  12. excellent metaphor, symbolism, creative expression. how deep and true can technology reach inside our true hidden selves.

  13. Nice poem, succinct, very well said.

  14. I like the line about impatience triggering the alarm … we are all quite lucky that it doesn’t! (yet!)

  15. David King says:

    Yes, we’ve all been here. Know it well. Enjoyable in your poem, not so in reality.

  16. Mama Zen says:

    You’ve captured that airport feeling really well.

  17. zongrik says:

    i like how you hitched into the throb of technology. sometimes, it’s just frustrating, other times, the vibrations will get you, but that throb is always there.

  18. Chazinator says:

    Those security checkpoints are the worst. And they always pick me to go thru the scanner. I just wonder what kind of cancer they feel they can inflict on me in the name of safe passage on the friendly skies. These anxieties that your poem discusses are certainly very real, I have felt them myself. Technology seems to inherently require a surveillance state as the complexity of the integrated computer systems become more and more prevalent.

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