Isaac Ginsberg Miller

Students Building a Geodesic Dome, Pacific High School, 1970

            We are on a spaceship; a beautiful one. It took billions of years
            to develop.

            We're not going to get another.
                                                —R. Buckminster Fuller

My father helps raise
scaffold and crossbeam,
intersecting bars take shape:
Dome of steel, wooden thatches
nailed in accurate proportions according
to NASA guidebooks on Advanced Structural
Design for Future Space Missions.

These young men built the shelter
where they slept, chatted, ate, studied for class
discussions lakeside on Dewey, Thoreau
and Buckminster. In Loma Prieta's
shadow where they grew kale
and cabbage under giant
glass bulbs like heads

 

from the suits of space
men. Sowing uneven rows
forsaking linear quadrants, the
mind's rigid custom. Each night they
exhaled smoke, their hands the only lights
for miles. At dawn they dragged hand-carved
vessels down to the lake and drifted

naked except for pouches of rolling
tobacco. My father and his friends who filled
station wagons and embarked from Detroit
suburbs, cross-nation, against their
fathers' wishes, finished high
school on land that would
soon be abandoned.

Author Portrait

Isaac Ginsberg Miller is a Writer-in-Residence with InsideOut Literary Arts Project and an Artist-in-Residence with Detroit Future Schools. He has also taught with Youth Speaks and the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. Originally from Chico, California, Isaac graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Ethnic Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies and received the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Collagist, Muzzle, Midwestern Gothic, English Journal, and the anthology, Uncommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning and Living.