Tag Archives: moon

Marcus Bales, ‘Me and the Moon’

Her presence was the organizing spice
that made the dish; the multivalent pun;
the compliment whose humor takes you twice
as far aback in unexpected fun,
her laughter tinkling like a scoop of ice
cubes thrown on glass bottles in the sun
that heats a summer vacation afternoon.
This morning though it’s only me and the moon.

Me and the distant moon, who’s not as far
away as she and I have now become.
She laughs that laugh while I sit in this bar
and wonder how I could have been so dumb
to leave where all the things I value are
and vanish in this alcoholic slum,
regretting what I’ve kept and what I’ve strewn
this morning when it’s only me and the moon.

And now the moon is pretty far advanced
along its ambit’s arc above this place
where one is propositioned, not romanced,
and conversation lacks both wit and grace.
I shuffle now where once I might have danced
and face the fact that this is what I face,
however jaded or inopportune,
this morning while it’s only me and the moon.

L’envoi
Barman! Bring another tinkling glass
or two, and we will claim that we’re immune
to all this pitiful alas alas
this morning, you, and me, and the goddamned moon.

*****

Marcus Bales writes: ” ‘Me and the Moon’ was prompted by Cleveland singer-songwriter Alex Bevan’s post on Facebook back in the oughties, I think. He posted early in the morning that he was looking out the window at the dark and reflecting on his life, thinking that it was just ‘me and the moon’. He’s happily married, and so am I, but the poignance of the phrase somehow seemed significant, and I instantly absconded with his idea. As I recall, the poem was pretty quickly written because however happy we may now be, we all have regrets or unhappinesses to remember. I’ve never been much into the bar life but at the time my wife and I had discovered a wine bar we liked to hang out at where we knew the bartender, and I was eased into just going to the bar to chill and observe and listen. Of course Western culture is soaked in alcohol, but I had not been. It was interesting to see how the whole thing worked — and didn’t work.”

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his work has not been published in Poetry or The New Yorker. However his ’51 Poems’ is available from Amazon. He has been published in several of the Potcake Chapbooks (‘Form in Formless Times’).

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA 100” by Mikes Camera is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Short Poem: ‘Darkness’

I miss the dark.
Nights pitchblack as pitch in the seams of the planks of boats on a starlit sea
when you walk in a garden
with hands out in front in case you walk into a tree.
Moonless nights
where stars let you grope over rocks at the beach with blind eye –
and then the moon rises
like the sunlit reflecting rock that it is. Then you can see. Can see why.
Why I miss the dark.

*****

This poem was originally published in Snakeskin. It seems to have a structure, i.e. it isn’t completely formless. Perhaps it needs more work. But it’s very much like the rural moonless nights where I was brought up, and where I have returned. I stumble around happily in many aspects of life.

A Forest / At Night (The Cure photographic cover)” by Max Sat is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Poem: ‘The Divine Moon’

Do you remember when we used the Moon
To measure menses, measure time by month?
We’d found the Moon determined tides and blood,
So planted crops and children by its tides.

From tribal gods of weather, waves and war
We groped, pre-Science, through theology,
Trying to grasp the world and life and death,
Leaving the worship of the moon behind.

The atheist Gagarin, first to heaven,
Noted he didn’t see a God up there.
American believers, first to the Moon,
Quietly said nothing, and moved on.

Now city kids may never have seen stars…
Soon satellites will blanket the night sky…
With skyless nights, why should we still use months?
And when in space, why months? Or days? Why years?

Not knowing where we’re headed, all we know:
That god or goddess Moon’s left far behind.

This poem was published in the latest issue of Sally Long’s biannual Allegro Poetry Magazine. The issue has a theme of ‘Geography’, so the subjects range from the gardens at Stowe to the aftermath of Hiroshima. Perhaps the moon is in itself a little outside the Earth-bound definition of geography, but as it has always been such a big part of our lives on this planet I think it’s fair to include it. And people have been there, and will go again. And our attitudes to the Moon and Heaven and Earth will keep on evolving as humans themselves will change, moving forward in unknowable time and space.

The poem is in iambic pentameter, but lacks the rhyme and wordplay that I advocate for poetry. I thought of trying to shrink it down from 18 lines to a sonnet’s 14, which is a trick I’ve used before to make myself find rhymes and generally tighten up a poem; but in this case I couldn’t see which blocks of four lines I could combine, eliminate or otherwise reduce – they all seemed necessary, and hard to shrink. I hadn’t thought of going for four blocks of three lines each, with a concluding couplet… but that might provide a solution, if I feel up to attempting it for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, if you’ve never seen Georges Melies’ 12-minute 1902 movie ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’, here it is with an electronic soundtrack by Andreas Brink. Yes, our ideas about the moon keep changing…

Poem: ‘The Moon’

The birds of dawn
Sing Come out on the lawn.

Flowers
Say Seize the hours.

The day, the sun
Say Don’t stay – look, laugh, run.

Warm rain
Says More! Again!

A tree
Simply says Be.

Beyond the trees, the beach
Rumbles Extend your reach.

A cliff
Asks: If?

The sand
Calls for a handstand.

A wave
Says Misbehave.

Sunset
Asks you, Done yet?

The moon, that overhanging stone…
The moon says You’re alone.

This poem was originally published in Snakeskin. It was an attempt to capture the bittersweetness of living in–or perhaps specifically growing up in–a rural or isolated environment. It’s wonderful to be wild in the wilderness except that, almost by definition, you’re likely to be on your own. And that’s fine, a lot of the time…

Anyway, that freedom is what my childhood and stretches of my 20s were like, and what I came back to after decades away–the difference being that now I’m no longer alone! 🙂 

Photo: “Full Moon Beach Ride July 2012” by gasmith is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0