Holding On

By Richard O. Moore b. 1920
1.
 
How account
for dimming
of the lights
 
baggage
of old age
tagged and waiting?
 
or light tricks
in snow
at sun-up?
 
waiting in line
 
waiting in line
 
come sundown
watching the horizon
eyes glowing.
 
 

2.
 
Who
 
not the
other myself
my prisoner
 
night flesh
ear-skewered
 
music
in natural
air
 
screams   well-deep
seep to the brain-root
 
days
Treblinka nights
 
guilt
guts the ferret
in my cage
 
sanity puddles the floor.
 
 

3.
 
In memory sickness
 
eyes unlace
 
open
as last night’s boots
 
a glacier of light
saps the air
 
remember
 
the torturer’s
tinnitus
starts the day.
 
 

4.
 
The   irrationality
of it
 
mob noise
 
angels struck
from the block
of darkness
 
a sunlit sky breaks
through in shrapnel
 
hard screaming night
 
feather touch
 
troops improvising
for the kill
 
panic
 
my enemy
 
my nail-hold.
 
 

5.
 
Of the texture
of elbows shattered
and stairwell falls
 
hallucinations
of confession
 
rush to stop pain.
 
 

6.
 
Andean snow-stats
blind me
 
the flashlight
of the Burglar
of Death flares
 
and holds
on my eyes.
 
 

7.
 
In the Feast Halls
 
ghosts linger
 
feeding
 
avoiding
 
dogs
 
and the memory
 
of cracked bones.
 
 

8.
 
Present danger
 
colors hiss
from a blue masque
 
bone-bonded
 
Autumn in no
year’s season
 
a nerve twitches
across the path.
 
 
 
9.
 
Planets by lamplight
 
street laughter
embraced in being
 
parallel lines
collapse curbside
 
cornices fall
 
from a stranger’s dream
moon-sand ears
 
the inhabitants
lean in to hear.

Richard O. Moore, “Holding On” from Writing the Silences. Copyright © 2010 by Richard O. Moore. Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Writing the Silences (University of California Press, 2010)

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Poet Richard O. Moore b. 1920

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, Growing Old, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Richard Moore, a documentary filmmaker for public television, was one of the founders of KPFA—the first publicly supported radio station in the United States. He was born in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied poetry with Josephine Miles. He was associated with the San Francisco Renaissance and frequented Kenneth Rexroth’s Friday meetings for poets, philosophers, and poetry . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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