NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA: poet Barbara Moore

Your move

I tread water

in this undirected

acquacade of death

you never seem

to tire of

You swim forward

plucking seaweed

from a siren’s braid

You hum her song

urging me to join in

“It’s myth or me,” I cry

over the cymbal clash

of waves laughing

I roll into shore

without looking back

© august 7, 2011 barbara moore

Interview by Emeniano  Acain Somoza Jr (EASJR)  with Barbara Moore (BM)

EASJR:    You are well known, at least in our circle, as that poet with barb-sharp wit writing cynical anthems…

BM: Heh! I’m down with the “barb-sharp wit” and  “anthem” parts. Very pleasing to see myself described in these terms. Humor is my favorite tool. I find it far more effective than preaching at people. What I attempt to do is paint psychological word pictures with which people can identify without feeling called out or criticized. The readers are given the option to make their own sense of what I have written and draw their own conclusions at the end of my poems, some of which are stories, others character studies, and still others brief observations. What most of them have in common is a little sting, usually at the close of the poem. I don’t identify much with “cynical” though. Like everyone else, I have faced and survived disappointments, but I would hate to think I have succumbed to cynicism. To me that suggests defeat. I might be cautious, but I am as trusting as reality allows, and I do believe in the power of love. I don’t believe it’s all we need (sorry Beatles) but without love in action, we have absolutely nothing. At least that’s the way it seems to me.

EASJR:  What is your definition of humankind? Who is your ideal kind of human?

BM; Good question. I would like more emphasis on the “kind” in humankind. I think we have it in us as human beings to be truly magnificent, but our desires for immediate satisfaction and domination over others sidetrack us too easily. I see humankind as tiny specks in the universe that need each other in order to survive but are often repelled by each other at the same time. What is needed is a greater sense of cooperation. My definition of idealized humankind would be a people possessing imagination, intelligence, compassion and humor in degrees that varied enough to keep life interesting. I don’t know that I have a particular person I look to as an example of an ideal. I tend to idealize my best personal friends, who shall remain nameless. They know who they are.

EASR: Where do you think are you in the evolutionary process of the human mind?

BM: I see myself a scrape on a scab, as far as this is concerned. I think that is the most any of us are at this point, although there are some would-be pontificating emperors running around with too few clothes on.

EASJR: Your portraitures/caricatures of human characters are so full-bodied and thoroughly fleshed out, I look for them in the crowd. How much of your “characters” do you (have to) know before you write about them?

BM: In each portraiture lives a part of me or a part of someone I have known. The bare bones of these characters live in my head. I have an active imagination, maybe from growing up as an only child.  One of my favorite pastimes is observing people sitting cross from me on a bus and composing entire histories and futures for them. The experience of creating stories from whatever memories I have stored in my brain, coupled with the mind snapshots I take of actual living breathing individuals I see before me, can provide an incredible head-rush. The idea of you looking for my characters in the crowd is a delight to me.

EASJR: Write to laugh, or laugh to write?

BM: I would have to say both, and laughter is almost interchangeable with living to me. Many times I write with the hopeful expectation of getting the readers to laugh along with me at some of the absurdities in life.

EASJR: You hate readings, yes? Which (a) philosopher, (b) spiritual leader, (c) actor, (d) poet, dead or alive, should do readings for you?

BM: Who would I like to do readings for me? Myself — with the ease I now lack but aspire to gain. Until that time, the living actor Laura Linney would do just fine.

EASJR: So much going on these days – sociopolitical uprising, economy, terrorism – name one that you find as way absurd beyond human comprehension.

BM: My most recent jolt came from what I saw in The Whistleblower, a film about human trafficking in post-war Bosnia. It was based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac during her time as a peacekeeper there. I have never been able to process the reality that there is a market for people-property-sex slaves. The absurdity beyond human comprehension was heightened by the fact that the guilty parties were discovered but went unpunished due to diplomatic immunity. Any situation pitting the powerful against the powerless causes my eyes to spin around in my head.

EASJR: I am a spy watch camera in your wrist of which you have no idea. What do I see on a day-to-day basis?

BM: Ha! You would get bored very quickly and ask to be relocated to someone else’s wrist. Seriously. Not much excitement going on that doesn’t involve screens – the computer screen, the television screen, and movie screens. There are books, there is music, there is eating good food.  There are long walks. There are rides on the bus and the subway. Oh, can you hear me also? Lucky you, because I sing all the time. Are you still here?

EASJR: If poetry were a human being, who do you think would fit the definition? What is the true essence of a poet.

BM: I could say that I see poetry as a crowd of international circus performers eager to impact lives or merely entertain themselves through their idiosyncratic tricks of the trade. But, truth be told, show me a human, and I’ll show you a potential poet. There are as many essences of a poet as there are poets, and there are as many poets as there are people. We are all poets. Some of us don’t know that yet, and sadly some of us will never know that.

EASJR: Really what’s laugh got to do with it?

BM: Laugh has everything to do with it. The ability to laugh — to find humor in even the most wretched of circumstances is paramount to our survival as a species. When we are able to laugh at ourselves and recognize how absurd we sometimes can be, we are freed up to make changes in our individual lives that impact those whose lives we touch, that impact those whose lives they touch…


The words want out

like a thirsty dog

at the back door

with a full bladder

© 2011 barbara moore


I hear your familiar knock

long short short long

and I know

how it would be

if I removed the chain lock

You would see me

as you always did

but I am legerdemain

impervious to your touch

immune to your beguilement


in a loved-out house

still standing

© 2011 barbara moore

The open book

She was an open book

with a broken binding

Many hands had held her

re-reading favorite passages

splitting her open wide

looking for something new

But there was nothing new

Merely the simple truth

told over and over

Only the syntax changed

© 2011 barbara moore

A moment

I am in a moment

I am in an isolated moment

I am staring across the subway car

at a woman falling out of her bathing suit top

She has a cross tattoo on her upper right arm

Her nose is pierced. Her bottom lip too

She is snuggling, burrowing really,

into her boyfriend’s neck with her head

He is dressed in L.L. Bean

He is reading The New York Times

I am in a moment

I am in a solitary moment

The subway stops. The doors open

A woman glides in and sits down

next to the bathing suit woman

She is dressed in a sari

She is wrapped up like a present

Her hands are naked, folded

The women sit side by side

They are in a moment

They are in a conjoint moment

They are staring across the subway car

They are staring at me

© 2011 barbara moore


What is

with this

so much,

very much


about love?

We love

or we


from loving



© august 14, 2011 barbara moore

About Emeniano Author of:’A Fistful of Moonbeams’, Kilmog Press 2010, hardback
ISBN 9780986456794Also published here:• Everyday Poem: Every Writer’s
>• Fogged Clarity, An Arts Review
>• Haggard & Halloo
>• Barnwood Poetry International
>• Moria Poetry Journal
>• Gloom Cupboard
>• Philippines Free Press
>• Troubadour 21

• Triggerfish Critical Review, Issue #6

• Indigo Rising: A Magazine of the Arts

• TAYO Literary Magazine, Issue 2

• Asia Writes

• Philippine Studies

• Sangkomunidad, CCP Literary Online

• Filipino Literati Online

• Philippine Star

• Salt River Review

• Poet’s Picturebook, No. 40 Against The Gray

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