George Moore

The Wheel

In the morning, the Bhavacakra
stares at you from the wall
of every restaurant in the city.
So this is it, you think, the circular
logic of existence. The sun hits
just right, enters in the half-light
of the trance of the Jokara Monastery.
Out of the darkness of a narrow hall
thick with the smell of yak butter,
the yak candles burning endlessly,
the sounds of prayer wheels swinging.
You walk the rounds, your wheel
today is this traveler’s lust for wisdom.

Hieronymus Bosch meets Buddha
and the figures are tortured perpetually,
dreaming us as we dream them,
filling our minds with a dry eternity.
Then, a few days later entering
the Kumbum at Gyantse, so distant
from the city, your hopes are that you’ll
find the answers that are hidden.

But about lunch time,
in the jaws of Yama Dharmaraja,
the Lord of Death, just inside the red walls
of the monastery, novice monks
gather in the dust, a tight group,
heads bowed, gazing at their feet.
This could be the barefoot center
of the universe, until we see
they are actually playing a GameBoy,
literally, each taking his turn
at his love for the fallen world.

George Moore has published poetry in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, North American Review, Orion, Colorado Review, Nimrod, Meridian, Chelsea, Southern Poetry Review, Southwest Review, Chariton Review, and has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. He was a finalist for the 2007 Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, from Ashland Poetry Press, and earlier for The National Poetry Series, The Brittingham Poetry Award, and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. His recent collections are Headhunting (Edwin Mellen, 2002), poems exploring the ritual practices of love and possession, and an e-Books, All Night Card Game in the Back Room of Time (Pulpbits, 2007). He teaches Modern Literature and Shakespeare with the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is presently doing some work at OBRAS, an artist residency outside of Evora, Portugal.