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Miles David Moore

Two Men

Two men drive by a field
With a horse, a tree, and a pond.

"What a beautiful horse!" the first man says.

The second man, driving, glances toward the horse.
"Awfully swaybacked," he answers.

The first man is humbled
And says nothing more.
Only later--much later--
Does he realize it wasn't a horse
He found beautiful,
But a horse with a windblown mane
In a green field with a windblown tree
And the sun scattering stars on a pond.

"I Love Barbie Taylor. T. Mc."
--sign spray-painted on a since-demolished wall in Arlington, Va.

It's official now. T. Mc. no longer
loves Barbie Taylor--not for the commuters
on I-395 who for eight thousand yesterdays
read passion in three-foot schoolboy script.
Today the bulldozers came, and romantic
words became rubble, to be cleared away
for the ritual mating of asphalt and earth.

But what of real love? Did Barbie and T.'s
live past demolition, or die long before it?
Did T.'s love leave the wall? Was Barbie's ever there?
When Barbie laid azure or emerald or onyx
eyes on T.'s declaration, did she roll them
in ecstasy or embarrassment?
Did Barbie and T. find out too late
that love can squall and soil itself,
or wither in a stranger's wink, or survive
the fatal screech of cars against each other?

Or did Barbie and T., a couple not perfect
but comfortable with their familiarity.
see their wall come down with a pang for youth
so long gone, so shortly gone,
hold hands for the millionth time, and wave
at T. Junior walking with his first girlfriend?
If the earth has an answer, the dozers drown it out.
Their burring voices shake the overpass
where "Todd Loves Tiffany" appeared last week
and echo in the park, rustling the oak tree
where Isaac has loved Maude a hundred years.

--both from The Bears of Paris, The Word Works Press, 1995.

Fatslug on Ice

It's the Olympic skating finals, Fatslug.
Never mind you've never skated before.
Never mind you were brought here under false pretenses.
Never mind your hands are tied behind your back
and you're wearing roller skates.
The spotlight shines on you, Fatslug.
The program calls for you to begin
with a triple-Salkow and double-Lutz,
whatever those are.

The friends who told you this was just for fun
are the judges. They sit
immovable as Aku-Aku, lights
refracting from their glasses like sun from glaciers,
pencils sharpened to stiletto points.

The crowd is sending up a chant
which is either, "Fat-SLUG! Fat-SLUG! Fat-SLUG!"
or something far less pleasant.
The judges, with ostentatious flourishes,
write zero-point-zero before you even move.
"The Flight of the Bumblebee" squawks through the P.A. system
as you take your first step and fall full forward
to meet your old friend ice.

-- from Buddha Isn't Laughing, Argonne Hotel Press

Miles David Moore is the Washington reporter for two business newspapers covering the tire and rubber industries. He is founder and host of the Iota poetry reading series in Arlington, Va. He was won poetry and essay prizes from magazines including Poet Lore, Potomac Review and WordWrights! His books are The Bears of Paris (Word Works Capital Collection, 1995) and Buddha Isn't Laughing (Argonne Hotel Press, 1999). With Karren L. Alenier and Hilary Tham, he edited Winners: A Retrospective of the Washington Prize (Word Works, 1999). He is a member of the editorial board of the Word Works. He has twice been a Jenny McKean Moore scholar at George Washington University; was twice a semi-finalist in the "Discovery"/The Nation contest; and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize.