Open Letter To Neil Armstrong
Mike McGee (04.06.04)
Dear Neil Armstrong,
I write this to you as she sleeps down the hall
I need answers that I think only you might have
When you were a boy
When space was simple science fiction and
flying was merely a daydream between periods of history and physics
When gifts of moon dust to the one you loved
Could only be bought and wrapped in your imagination
Before the world knew your name
What was the moon like from your back porch?
Before it was a destination
Your arm; strong, warm and wrapped under her hair
across her shoulders
Both of you gazing up from the back porch
Summers before your distant journey
I don’t want to hear about the mission
I want to know if you wrote her name in the dirt,
if you surrounded both of your initials with a heart
for alien life to study a million years from now
Does she know how much you missed her while you were gone?
Could you feel how much she missed you
while you were away, farther than any man had ever been?
What is it like to love something so distant?
What was it like to fall from the sky?
What words did you use to bring the moon back to her?
And what did you whisper in the moon’s ear about the girl back home?
Did you promise to bring her back next time?
When the Earth rose over the Sea of Tranquility, did you look for her?
What was it like to look at our planet and know that everything you could be,
All you could ever love and long for was still there, just floating before you?
Every July I think of you
I imagine the summer of 1969
And the feelings you must’ve had, doing what you did
How lonely she must’ve felt while you were gone
You never went back to the moon and I believe that’s because it doesn’t take rockets to get you where you belong
The flight home always means more
I see that in this woman down the hall
And sometimes she seems so much further than across the room
But I’m ready for whatever walk I must make to get to her
I’ve been to many places in my life
The moon looks the same no matter what sky I am under
I thank you for being so adventurous, but
That rock you landed on has got nothing
on the rock she’s landed on [point to chest]
You walked around, took samples and left
She’s built a fire, cleaned up the place and I hope she decides to stay
Mr. Armstrong, I don’t have much
Many times have I been upside-downtrodden
But with these empty hands
Comes a heart that is full more often than the moon
She’s becoming my world
sending me spinning out of orbit and
I now know that I may never find life outside of hers
So maybe I should just stay
I ask you all of this not because I doubt your feet/feat
And certainly not out of any disrespect
I just want to know what it’s like to go somewhere no man had ever been
Just to find that she wasn’t there
To realize your moonwalk could never compare to the steps that lead to her
I wanna give her everything I don’t have yet
It would be nice to wrap her neck with a priceless moonstone set in gold chain
But I can’t imagine such gift would mean anymore than her knowing
I will never long to be so far away from her
That I could collect that unearthly jewel
In conclusion, yes, I would go to the moon and back
But not without her
we’d claim the moon for each other with flags made from sheets down the hall
And I’d risk it all to kiss her under the light of Earth
The brightness of home
but I can do all of that and more
Right here, wherever she is, and when I have my arm around her,
gazing up, on the back porch
I will not promise her gifts of moon dust or flights of fancy
Instead, I will gladly give her all the Earth she wants
In return for the sound of her heartbeat and laughter
And the time it takes to fall from the sky down the hall and
right into love
I’d do it everyday
If I could land next to her
She is one small step for a man
one giant leap for my kind