An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
Consider how the missing remember.
Their hearts are smoke, their eyes water.
We hear them on the boards and telephone poles.
They speak like the rustling of papers
or erasers working on abandoned notebooks.
In Quito in the late 20th century, I stood
before a wall of signatures, smoking a last
fag for I had promised the world to surrender,
and this boy who was then two years disappeared
caught my eye. We laughed at the summers
that had passed in-between, at the women
he would have loved, at his mother, standing
with her apron crumbled in a shaking hand,
and his sister who came south to see for herself
and whose name was a mirror on the wall.
And I asked him how he remembered
the Minnesota winters, the drive from school
to his greening lawn, the trees whistling nonsense
when the spring was finally running out.
I carry what he could not remember like a coin.
I linger beneath the great portico
of the Pitti, jeweled rooms
with pale women in Victorian gowns
in glass cages. Ah, but what do I know
of fashion, being late and male,
and staring as the dead stare
into cloth? Why look to Italian arts
for relief, to the high buttoned bodice,
the pannier and dilated hips?
My wife drags me into these spaces
where the poem resists, wants to breath
naked against the hungry grave.
The parquet floors, the fittings and
fidgeting of apprentices' small hands,
the Medici buried everywhere,
dynasty dresses frozen in statutory grace,
the worms dried to specks. Is it dust or light
that reflects a ridge of hidden whalebone?
Dame Havisham would wear these.
But I am saved at last by the ceiling
frescoed of the Flood, men naked
in their revelry, sweating Nature
rowing in awkward synchronicity
toward Heaven. The Hall of Mars.
A madness controlled to the point
of perfection. What I have lost
to social media, to smiling kings
and queens, is simply the ability
to forget, to go swimming in a ceiling
until my neck aches, and my head spins
across the stage, swooshing by the guards,
their bulging eyes, half asleep.
Late Night Reading at the Dada Art Gallery
We climb in through a window painted on a brick wall
for there is no door, no sound but the dripping of water
from a child's eye, and a baby carriage hung from rafters
upside down, as the bartender wipes down the bar with a cat.
What is it we do not see? What space was taken over here
from the coffin maker, the tool and dye, then an abrupt
warehousing of stones for the bridge that was finally steel?
The slam begins at midnight, or sometime between then
and when the space was converted from a dance hall
in the 19th century, and the floors were ripped up and wood
was polished and preened, but everything stays the same.
The poet stands to read her minimalist work. The lights
go out, and within the gallery there's the glow of the tips
of cigarettes like stars, and the poet says this is the space
between infinitesimal points. We forget why it was we came,
and seeing the dawn through the painted shades hit
the painted floor, we climb out the way we climbed in.
George Moore lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. He used to teach at the University of Colorado. His poetry appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Orion, North American Review, Colorado Review, Arc, Orbis, and the Dublin Review. His collections include Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle Press, 2016).