Miles David Moore



Step away, sir.
That doesn't belong to you.
We know it is beautiful, sir,
but what made you think you have a right to look?

Yes, we see how it shines, sir.
But if you were worthy of it,
you'd see it more than shines.
A hundred million golden suns
above the Grand Canyon, the Valley of the Kings,
the Luxembourg Gardens and Diamond Head,
shaded and framed by sequoias and roses,
first kisses and the laughter of blameless children
don't have the patina of this.

That's why we must protect it, sir.
We're always on guard for the likes of you.
The look on your shifty, ungrateful face
tells us the lowdown place you come from--
no kings, no gardens, no blameless children.

We won't tell you twice, sir.
Do we have to use our Tasers?
The ropes that tie the pylons together
loop just as easily around a neck.

There, sir, the owners are coming to claim it.  
See how they laugh. See how they kiss.
Walk away, sir, as fast and far as you can.
Show's over. Don't make us do our duty.

And step away from that mirror too, sir.
Nothing to see there.

Glove Puppet

Go limp.
Hollow yourself out.
Retain no speck of skin or sweat
through which a hunter's hound can trace you.
Wear the motley they choose for you
with nothing so great as pride, but be
the eternal, toothless, smiling face.
Or, if you must have teeth, make sure
they're of the same soft felt as you.
Even the gentlest omega wolf
has fangs to justify a bullet.

They have you where they think they want you:
their arms your backbone, their fists your brain.
The fleshly crowd contorts in laughter,
never realizing they've sat on those arms
throughout millennia, or knowing
those programmed fingers move their mouths.

At least with you, from time to time,
the arms grow tired and remove themselves.
You are alone, left wherever
they lay you, but free.
The hearth fire, meaning warmth to some
and the reek of roasting flesh to others,
paints with its light on darkened walls,
revealing to you and only you
the glow of something beautiful.

Poet, essayist, and fiction writer Miles David Moore is the author of two books of poetry: The Bears of Paris (Word Works Capital Collection, 1995) and Rollercoaster (Word Works Capital Collection, 2004), as well as a chapbook of poems, Buddha Isn't Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999). His essays on the poet John Haines have appeared in two anthologies of critical essays on Haines' work, The Wilderness of Vision (Story Line Press, 1996) and A Gradual Twilight (CavanKerry Press, 2003). His honors in poetry include two semifinalist finishes in the "Discovery"/The Nation contest, three nominations for the Pushcart Prize, as well as prizes from Poet Lore, WordWrights! and Potomac Review.  His short story, "The Valley of the Shadow," won second prize in the 2006 National Press Club fiction contest. Mr. Moore is the Washington reporter for Rubber & Plastics News and Tire Business, both published by Crain Communications Inc. He is also film critic for the online performing arts magazine Scene4.



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