Exposition of a Modern Time

I’ve read this book.  
I can’t remember who wrote it.
King? Atwood? Orwell?  
If the three of them could 
have a love child
(surely possible in
this narrative),
and if that love child
wrote a book,
this would be it. 

A dystopian future
complete with a virus,
an insurrection, 
fearless mobs, 
cages of children,
knees on necks,
conspiracy theories behind each,
families divided
like the blue and the grey.

I lived 55 years in a dormant
volcano, mistaking quiet for death. 
What needs to be sacrificed to
the gods to put them back
to sleep? Whom should we throw
from the ridge?

We don’t even talk about the
“new normal” anymore.  
It’s passé.
We make adjustments
that may be permanent
Who knows? 
We hang on  
to shards of hope. 
A vaccine. 
An inauguration. 
A miracle. 
Garden hoses 
aimed at rapids
of lava.

Each climax, the 
narrative arcs up
again. Chapter
after chapter of 
rising action, new
inciting incidents, still 
more characters. 

I need John to smoke a doobie
and bring the revelations.
I need denouement. 
I need the movie rights sold
and that film to stay in the can. 
I need a final chapter, 
loose ends tied up
in neat little bows.  

They lived 
happily ever after.  

That was the
ending they promised
us in the seventies.
In the middle-class seventies.
In the white middle-class seventies. 
Wars and epidemics and despots
lived only in history books and 
countries with jungles.  
They never told us we 
were children living 
on the blank page
between chapters.

I’ve read this book, 
but I’m only now living
this story. 
I don’t recommend it
right before 

© 2021 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved

Civility War

It’s an evil snake that crawls 
between us and takes up the 
space we didn’t know existed,
that turns you left, me right, 
with our guns pointed at 
him, at it, at each other. 

It’s a vicious smoke that rises
into our nostrils, fills our lungs with
free-based gratification, makes 
us high on self-righteousness. We
exhale noxious fumes into faces
we say we love.

It’s a vile ideology that turns us
on each other, makes an up seem 
down, makes a fall seem elevating,
sends us packing, locked and loaded
brother on brother, sister on sister.

Haven’t we been here? Haven’t we turned
on each other before? Haven’t we gassed
and lynched and nailed to crosses those
we decided to hate? Is this a never-
ending war we’ve all agreed to wage?

And now I feel the snake against my skin,
the toke in my lungs, the rhetoric in my
brain like pinballs of sound bites, and I
wonder if doing justice and loving mercy
can ever be simultaneous acts. 

It’s one thing to agree not to spit on your
brother. It’s another altogether to agree
not to spit on the one who spits on your

It’s yet another still to balance the
world on your back while you learn
to walk humbly with your god. 

© 2020 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved

Broken Home

Policed by toxic masculinity,
an entire nation like a 
battered wife,
twitching with PTSD
and suppressed anger.

Politicians praising the 
abusers, enabling,
perpetuating, celebrating
the evil and demonizing
the victim. 

Judges and courts
ready to find the 
technicality that
can set a murdering
cop free. 

Churches cheering
white supremacy and 
patriotism as conjoined
twins never to be

America is a broken
home unleashing 
her traumatized
children on an
astonished world.

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved