Jun 072011

Gary Moore is an amiable friend, a poet and playwright, a man with a yen for the stars and stardom, at least the artistic kind of stardom. These are poems about the stars, about that yearning for distant points of light, the type, yes, of all yearning, the hopeful, melancholy ember of lust and desire that fires us through a lifetime of attempts and regret. Gary is the author of the full-length dramas The Tongue of Their Gladness, Long Lankin’s Curse, and Beaver Falls.  As a young man teaching in Shanghai, he wrote and produced a bi-lingual rap opera, The Great Emancipator Meets the Monkey King, that  introduced rap music to the People’s Republic of China.  Burning in China, his one-man show about writing and performing the rap opera and then being swept with his Chinese friends into the Tiananmen democracy movement, sold out at last year’s New York International Fringe Festival. He is Academic Dean at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and a member of the Dramatists Guild.



Star Suite

Poems by Gary Moore


I wanted the prize but the prize looked the other way

I wanted the prize but the prize looked the other way
It was the other prize
I wanted the beach but I got the mountains
Not everyone gets the mountains
I wanted the beautiful woman and I got her
But I didn’t live happily ever after
After that I tried to be careful about wanting
No, not in the moments when my dick rose up
And I couldn’t think until I quelled it
But the big wants:
I kept art alive
I lived out my mother and father’s hope that I’d be clean and successful in some way
……………they’d understand and pay my bills
I wanted to be equal to humanity
I fed my baby daughter at 3 a.m. while Van Morrison sang ‘Into the Mystic’
I held my dying mother’s hand
I was cruel and apologized
I lost love and said so and wept
I screamed and pounded the steering wheel
Like you
And there was more
I wanted to be one with the stars
Maybe you know this too
Yes, we all know the song about the guy who built the railroad—was it to the sun?—and
…………..now he’s begging for a dime?
I wanted the stars
They drove me crazy when they put on their silver dresses those flirtatious nights
Then disappeared when they took them off
That’s the nature of want I heard them sing
And because I so longed for light in darkness
The stars could tell me just about anything
With those rays slipping off their shimmery shoulders
No matter how much I wanted a different song


We get here and we know something bad’s going to happen

We get here and we know something bad’s going to happen
And less likely spry like when leopards slip leashes
Than wet like that insect inside us
Tentacles, burrowing and sliding
The one come to take us to a hole in the earth
Where our soul, we hope, will find stars in the dark
And go to them
And go to them forever
Through the grab in the cells and the heart’s red splatter
No matter that something bad’s going to happen
On our way to the stars
The ones set to burst in our veins like ravaging bells


Final Assessment

We hope to have a moment at the end
The lady at the lectern says
To assess how the session went
Or wait, I think, is it to weigh just this that we want a moment
Or is it to ponder the stars in peace in the warm night breeze on the seaside patio before
……………we hit the waterslide into the ocean of time?
Yes, the stars, she goes on––is that her?—their picturings, their mixtures
Of intense and remote, blazing and cold
You wouldn’t want a coat made of those
Nor beg for the legs of their rays to tangle with your humanly skinny limbs
Though they do, they do
And your tossings in the covers
Or hell, right out here in the open on the beach at the annual conference
It’s no damned sin
The stars birth bundles of hope with shards of dreams like undigested bones in their
……………hungry bellies
But wait, that’s now, you think
How about at the end?
But how can you plan, you want to know, to assess at the end of the session the way best
……………practices say you do
When as far as you know you’ll be backing the car out of the garage
When the sudden furies drag you off into the black
Or the white lace maidens lift you drifting off in blue


I’ve never been that good at drawing the line

I’ve never been that good at drawing the line
But I can draw stars
Crossing lines to make points
The ways roads crossed when I motorcycled to California
And my hands crossed on the breasts of the blonde girl gasping
The one who grasped my waist as I rode into the night
The night where I lost my way
The way we all do after a while
And end up staring at night skies
Wondering whose way we’re on if not ours
And drawing new lines to connect the stars
To make a new story
Is it only up there or is it down here too
I’ve never been that good at drawing the line
So we can feel good before we go to sleep


Like a Kid in the Rockies

Here the skeleton yellowing in the safety-rail bed
There the arc to the stars
Eyes, hook to that line and lift me climbing
Like a kid in the Rockies ascending on mosses
With the sun breaking through on peaks snow-lit and shining
Saying: Rise!  Rise!
While stars hidden above covers of heavenly blue
Spread those long silver legs they gave birth to me through
Saying: Come! Come!
As if caught behind bars in my body’s lock
There were anything else I could even pretend to do


The stars wait for us

The stars wait for us
Their distance a longing the tree frogs sing us over and over
On vast spring nights
Come! They call to us as they call to each other
Opening their robes and wavering
In a tableau so wantonly spread and magnetic
It must have been conceived in infinite lust
Come!  Some call it gravity but that can’t touch it
I’ve tasted gravity in the dirt kids eat
And the blood cunts seep
And I want more
But when the stars wave their arms and their shoulders dip
And the veils slip down their dancing hips
I neither rise nor fall
Transfixed in their celestial call:
We are your ilk in dust and glory
We are what the dark is for


When I recall the stars in rows

When I recall the stars in rows
Standing by their desks to sing me my favorite song
You keep riding that wave you’ll end-up in Honolulu
I remember them wrong
Their hair was always a mess, and still is
You know how they toss it
Do they get away with that because their legs are so long?
And when you look at their scramble every night like a playground
You wouldn’t guess all they do is as fixed as the sky
You wouldn’t guess unless you had seen it inside you
The way they first pout at your life and death mess
And then bravely hold hands to sing you your favorite song
We’re all where we need to be, even when we fall

—Gary Moore

  5 Responses to “Star Suite: Poems — Gary Moore”

  1. These are terrific, Gary!! I love the line “Like a kid in the Rockies ascending on mosses.” And I especially love “Final Assessment” and “I’ve never been that good at drawing the line” for their playfulness in conjoining the linear with the transcendent.

  2. So great to read your poetry, Gary. A fine concoction with one of my ever-favorite topics, death. I’m sure that Barbara B. and Co would be proud to see an assessment poem, though so sad to see no whiteboard mentioned…

    • What a beautiful thing, Melissa. You’ve assessed my assessment tale as short a whiteboard and I know you’re right and will see if the poem will let me move one in. As for death, while it would be better if we didn’t have to care about it, I’m consoled to know we share that fascination.

  3. Gary, these are wonderful.Those sudden furies, those white lace maidens! Gad, getting old, what can anyone do about it but write a poem or two and laugh while the fuse burns? Well, I suppose there are lots of things people can do. I prefer to write (and read) something like this, which terrifies and delights me. An occasional stroll in the fresh air is also good. Wish I could call you and say, “Hey, Gary, want to go for a walk?”

  4. Julie, how fine that you join me in my terror and delight. Will you send me a bouquet, a pride, of your poems? Or better yet send them to Numero Cinq for the global world?

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