Book Lists

George Moore

When he had no book list
he was fine, the days would wane
and he would fall asleep without repeating
what he had not read, titles, dates, names
that hed heard on the radio but could
not quite place, but somewhere in
Tibet they are looking for a new
incarnation of the man he was
but they were using signs, trinkets,
a language he had already forgot.
He reads voraciously, like an ant.
He can strip a tree of its leaves in minutes
and believes that hunger is the answer
not the question. He sees himself
reading, seeing himself reading,
a man sitting on a desolate shore
just after a war, wondering if his books
will somehow liberate him from
his loneliness. He meets a woman
who reads, and together they create
a list of all the books they just must read
before they die. Beneath the lamp
at night, they dream, half awake,
of how these words will lead to others,
how sentence like snakes will become
roads to other languages, and at
the parallax, the perfect pinpoint
merger of image and desire, they will
at last be written of, autographed,
transmigrated into a heaven of
nothing but words.



George Moore's poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, Diode, Queen's Quarterly, Antigonish Review, The Scrambler, Avatar, Stickman Review, ditch, International Zeitschrift, and Zone, and he has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. His recent manuscript was a 2007 finalist for the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, from Ashland Poetry Press, and earlier for The National Poetry Series, The Brittingham Poetry Award, and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. He teaches literature and writing with the University of Colorado, Boulder.