December 20, 2010 by The Citron Review
by George Moore
The Basement Room
I am twenty. I will let no one say it is the best time of life. Everything threatens a young man with ruin: love, ideas, the loss of his family, his entrance into the world of adults.
–Paul Nizan, Aden, Arabie
Beneath the hollow lives
of those who would control you,
make you sleep, eat, and dream
as they do (are they real or just
images out of the shell?), you live
in this cave of your parents’ neglect.
You hear their skin shedding
through the floor. They die
and you go on living, yet refuse to inherit
the energy of their TV, the wine
spilled in the bathroom, which
sparkles like a hospital,
the meals your mother fixed, carefully
carving out your portion. You do not want
the perfect balance of give-in
and get-it-together. You want to live
on the other side of the moon,
not in the darkness but of it,
as in the airless shadow of this room.
You breed dragons in this dungeon.
Some say you am already buried
but you are the one who survives,
the one true root of all humanity.
that involves you,
the morning when thin was better than full,
and perhaps a bird of mistaken genus
flew out. But the bird, a metaphor
for hunger, and for the struggle to survive
the constant battle with the poem’s careless act
of naming, is writing now, more often
winter’s unyielding edge touching
the small-boned inconsequence.
Say something but don’t mistake
art as the poetic act.
bodies asleep dead in
ease, rocks in a shore’s
undertow, dream scattered
on the motel’s
floor, sardines, feet
to head, never
thinking this would
mind, that is
as a verb, to mind,
make room where even
less would keep
rolled on the edge
an injection of sea
into the present
of a different time
But then sleep
is the great ocean’s
feeble mimic of dreams
always out there
beyond, inside a flat
unfathomed line of sight
you call to be
Dark becomes you more than light.
At times the ephemeral photon decays
and wakes your transitoriness.
Dark does not last but was there
before the time sense of last
and before the first.
Dark is a human thing or otherwise
you could not resist it, give mouths to it
mother of us all.
Dark is not the absence
of desire but its root, the empty part
of you calling back over your shoulder.
George Moore has held artist residencies in Canada, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Iceland, and collaborated on works with artists from Austria, Iceland, and Canada. His poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Queen’s Quarterly, Antigonish Review, Dublin Quarterly, North American Review, Colorado Review, Orion, and Blast. In 2009, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web awards, and in 2010 for The Rhysling Poetry Award. His recent collections include Headhunting (Mellen, 2002) and the e-Book, All Night Card Game in the Back Room of Time (Pulpbit.com, 2007). Moore teaches writing and literature with the University of Colorado, Boulder.You may read more about him here.