Babies on Planes


When I am on a plane,

and I hear a baby begin to cry,

I think: cry, cry, cry.


Cry slower and louder.

Cry longer.


Cry while your mother walks you around

so that the entire plane can hear you cry.


Stop crying; whimper softly.

Make us think you are done,

then bawl.


When the flight attendant offers help that is not help

– Can I bring some water?–

answer back with a wail.



Howl the flight attendant away.


Make your mother give up,

display her shabby grin

and press deep into her seat.


Cry right into my ear.

Cry right into the immigration line.


Cry right into the wait for the bags

that are not there, and they don’t come, and still

they do not come.


Let me hear you screech into the airport curb

and whimper in your car.


When you are gone, keep the ringing faint,

but keep it real, keep it long.


Scream baby, baby.


Rack up my airplane baby miles

for the airplane baby day

when my baby decides to cry.


Written 2013


  1. ramblingsfromamum

    Oh crying babies on planes, fortunately when mine were young they were good if we travelled. Now though I get on a flight and see a mum and baby I can’t help but cringe at whatever is in store for everyone… 🙂 Nicely written conversation Ana.

  2. The Drugstore Notebook

    I love that poem!
    No way out of Christmas and New Year’s.
    That is so true. I would be happy to take a break one year. But you just can’t!

    I also love “la vie est dure” as soothing medicine for babies, and adults. Like he should take advantage of being a little baby and just cry his little heart out.

  3. William Eaton

    Great Ana! But now I have another poet for you, Anne Waldman (here reading one of her poems:, or below my “signature” is the text of “Pressure”.
    Although this is not quite what your crying poem is about, you have reminded me of something that I (purposely) left out of “Living Life to the Fullest,” which was how when my son would cry, I would hold him and whisper in his ear, “La vie est dure” (life is hard), an idea being that there was plenty of reason to cry. You will not be surprised to hear that he is a very happy 13 year old. Best, Wm.


    By Anne Waldman

    When I see you climb the walls I climb them too
    No way out of the cosmic mudhole!
    No way out of the telephone booth
    The classroom, the igloo
    No way out of the church, the temple, the mosque
    The A train the D train the noisy bar the department store
    No way out of the tunnel
    Out of the river the lake the ocean the bay
    Of the movie theater the motion picture screen
    No way out of the doctorate the M.A. the B.A. the PhD.
    The toolshed, the library
    No way out of Africa, of Europe, out of Asia,
    No escape from the guitar, the bassguitar
    No escape from the mailman, the endless mail,
    No way out of Christmas, of New Year’s
    No way out of the sleeping bag no way no way
    No way out of the organic vegetable garden
    The deep ravine,
    The glistening valley,
    The starry night,
    The zoo, no escape
    The coat hangers no escape
    The history of Russia no escape
    No way out of prison
    No way no way
    Out of money even if you’re out of it
    The Great Chain of Being, no escape
    The Magnetic Field, no escape,
    No escape no escape
    No way out of brain chemistry
    Or pain killers or pain
    No way off pleasure
    The rainbow, no escape
    The World Trade Center no escape
    My window no escape
    No return no way off
    No way out of midnight black midnight now coaxing midnight gentle midnight no escape

  4. lovemorestudio

    What a superfun read. As as I had crying babies on each flight from the US to my home in Brazil, I can totally relate. And really, wouldn’t we all just love to scream like that while packed into coach? ~peace, Jason

  5. brian miller

    nice….what freedom there is in that crying and how easily we forget it so soon in life…ha, cool piece, it goes against convention using something that would annoy many to make its point….

  6. MarinaSofia

    Oh, I’ve been in that embarrassing situation – with the result that I never complain about being seated next to a baby on the airplane! After all, they are just expressing what we all feel, right?

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