NOTES ON LUXEMBOURG

Here’s a poem I wrote based on watching tourists walk around on top of a huge flat map of the world installed the summer of 2000 in the Luxembourg Gardens by Yann-Arthus Bertrand, who’s taken 100,000 aerial photos of the world over the last 10 years to show the mess we’ve made of it as well as to illustrate patterns of surpassing beauty, made by, for example, uranium mines and radioactive pollution spilling sulfurically into distant deltas from dams. He’s enlarged them and hung several hundred waterproof C-prints, the size of Toyotas, in the Luxembourg this summer. He has as well an astonishing giant book out in French, La Terre Vue du Ciel (Earth Seen from the Sky: Portrait of the Planet in the Year 2000), with hundreds of fold-out photos. Rarely have so many photos been so painterly, or elucidated by so many thousands of chilling facts.
He built a giant walk-on flat world map in the park and pasted tiny versions of his photos on the map to show where the photos were taken. 

The poem says that we reduce the world to our own proportions to make it bearable or comprehensible, and to make our own future grow from its more manageable miniature.