Martians Flew the Ocean Blue

When the Martians flew over the Pacific
in giant jellyfish hovercrafts,
they hardly acknowledged us.
We met them on the beaches
with a convoy 3 states long,
7 tons of gold bars,
and a 100 million U.S. dollars.
From their finned backs they dropped
an obelisk displaying an ever-changing
map of the universe and its planets,
and lurched past our tanks
with heaving suction cupped tentacles
like slugs.

A call North revealed they had been
living among the Canadians for years,
thousands vibrating supinely
on icebergs shared by seals.
To the South, we found they had been
long since established in Cuba,
huddling around sugar cane plantations
in massive circular congregations
as if kneeling before demigods.

In Florida we approached them with
4-dimensional diagrams, light bulbs,
and 50 million U.S. dollars (in cash).
All we got in response was an occasional
flap of a tentacle against the mushy
surface of the everglade wetlands.
In the Carolinas they avoided the same
offer by nesting themselves deep into
cotton fields, not seeming to mind
the sharpness of the plants’ dried bristles.
In New England they favored oozing
on beach logs over the cities’ concrete.

We mobilized panicked bands of foot soldiers,
a well written document of formal negotiations,
and 5 water towers filled with quarters.
But they had already returned to their gelatinous
space-mobiles, leaving behind the obelisk
where they had first put it, and taking nothing.
They left empty tentacled.

When they accelerated past our atmosphere,
streaks of blue lightning cascaded down
across the East coast, leaving half the country
in a month long blackout.
Everybody thought it was intentional,
but they probably would have apologized
if they thought we needed something
besides the grass.

— Paul Julian

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