George Moore

George Moore has published poetry in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, Colorado Review, and internationally in Blast (Australia), Antigonish Review (Canada), Dublin Quarterly, Semaphore (New Zealand), QRLS (Singapore), and Anastomoo (Tasmania). His fourth collection, Children’s Drawings of the Universe, will be published by Salmon Press in 2012, and he was nominated last year for two Pushcart Prizes, Best of the Web and Best of the Net awards, and was a finalist for The Rhysling Poetry Prize, and the Wolfson Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder, which also carries his website:

The Greek Isle

It was not memory,
at the time, but love
of the absent,

water’s way, an ocean
keeping up the pace
unfashioned in its

contingencies, those
life conditions, suspended
before responsibilities.

Cavafy’s youthful
complications, the same
figure leaving a line

in the sand, reaching
into a common ocean,
where love displaces

the future needs
so completely, as if
this this was all.

Now I must remember,
as it is not today, forced
back into some pattern

that was not there,
the beaches so
empty, whitewashed

houses few, in-between
cafés with rickety
tables. What I said

was not meant
to be remembered,
or gathered later as

summary, sensibility,
anymore than written,
signed. How easy

it is to fashion the past,
play new stones
off its still surfaces,

as he did, making
his loves untouchable

We forget to find
memories again,
lend them substance

in word or phrase,
material signs, signing
what the universe

has carried off,
discarded, pure
energy, dispersed as

atoms shed electrons,
then discover virtual
otherness, hiding, throw it off

so that it creates
out of itself another self,
another moment.

The writer knew this
transfiguration, mulled
into a pure absence.

But not that one,
never that one there,
as you see it, that shade

touching half a table,
so hot you grew visible
in the sun, an older woman

in black pulling back
the skin
of a butchered rabbit.

What do we learn
from ourselves?
Circles we enter

and leave, sights
on horizons, sound
emporiums, for me,

the unfiltered Crete
sifted down through
three dozen years?

Little perhaps
that we do not create,
out of the variable need

to fulfill the silent
craving of here,
these people

we have become.
Not at the end
of lines but as lines

woven into ropes
that might hold ships,
or carry cargo aloft,

swinging the past
before our eyes,
marked fragile

in our own red print.
Looking north
out of Alexandria

he would see this
space that is other
and self, unmarked,

displaced for a time,
or a lifetime, curled
back into love

that is fragile
and permanent
as pillar stone.

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