George Moore ~ Three Prose Poems

Drop City

It was the mid­dle of the night, or it wasn’t. Do you remem­ber how that works? Now, the psy­choac­tive drugs por­trayed on each new series seem to be about mad­ness, as if that were an end to every­thing. But you remem­ber the day when we wad­ed into the school pond? How does mem­o­ry come back to hal­lu­ci­na­tions, or even the recall of a dys­func­tion, or the loss cre­at­ed by not being con­scious of who was there? Back in the day, there were only wood­lands and streams, and every­one was Thoreau, or Emerson, or a wound­ed Civil War sol­dier from one side or the oth­er. How easy it was to for­get. Those things we need are the ones that van­ish so sud­den­ly. I keep think­ing we have not moved an inch, the weath­er is the same, the coastal range has not vis­i­bly shift­ed, only a few stars have died. How could it be forty years? What does it mean that this frag­ment is a boat on waters we could nev­er have nav­i­gat­ed or crossed, nev­er ful­ly real­ized the depths of, nev­er seen if the sun had not moved just this way, sud­den­ly, behind that cloud?

Poem Cycle

The poem begins when you entered the room. The sound of your mind click­ing off the min­utes until the wine, until those lit­tle tasties that the depart­ment buys on spe­cial occa­sions would be popped into your mouth, was unbear­able. It is one of those times when you have to ask, out loud, when will this poem end? The crowd thick­ens around you, eyes are both avert­ed and dead-stare into the vac­u­um of your pres­ence, which seems to hov­er in the mid­dle of the room. But no one would dare speak, say a word, make a dis­tur­bance, even if all agree the poem could be bet­ter. But she is famous after all, and so we expect a lit­tle slip now and then. If only she had wait­ed until your arrival, and then made a com­ment about tar­di­ness, about regres­sive behav­ior, or PTSD, or maybe just that look where every­one at once feels your crime. In that split sec­ond, the poem begins when you enter the room. The sound of your own mind click­ing off the minutes.

Kingly Arts

The new bridge they’ve planned to span the chasm between the tick­et booth and the ruins of the cas­tle might be okay for chil­dren, but the old will nev­er for­get the climb, or relin­quish their right to an expe­ri­ence, even if it has been pol­ished up a bit in the last six­teen cen­turies. It was not so much about the knights, or the table, or about that mad magi­cian who was sup­posed to live in a cave that floods out each day at high tide, but more about how broth­er­hood could be kept alive even through infi­deli­ty, through cow­ardice, through lust and greed, and come out smelling like ros­es or what­ev­er was con­sid­ered refresh­ing in the day. It was more about the absent of proof of anyone’s exis­tence from the time. Even the serv­ing maids and cowherds are said to be imag­i­nary. So the bridge will cer­tain­ly make the con­nec­tion more plain. I wouldn’t use it myself. The sword is still too heavy to chance on a swing­ing sus­pen­sion. You may want to paint a dif­fer­ent pic­ture, of course, one where the king and his queen lived iso­lat­ed in their king­dom because of kindness.


George Moore’s poet­ry appears in The Atlantic, Poetry (Chicago), Orion, North American Review, Colorado Review, Arc, Orbis, and Dublin Review. His col­lec­tions include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle Press 2016) and Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015. Moore has been nom­i­nat­ed for six Pushcart Prizes, The Rhysling Award, Best of the Net, and Best of the Web, and the Wolfson Poetry Award, and has been a final­ist for The National Poetry Series, The Brittingham Award, and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. After a career teach­ing lit­er­a­ture at the University of Colorado, he now lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.