Last News of Moses – A Poem

Last News of Moses

Peter lost the keys while skipping
rocks at the lake.
He took off his shoes
to wade out in the shoals and
feel the cool water against his ankles,
let his feet dig into the wet sand as
he enjoyed watching the rocks
bound merrily across the water’s surface.
He said he left the keys in his shoes.
No one really noticed them missing,
but then no one really gave a shit until,
driven mad by delusions
of severe repercussions,
he boldly confessed his crime
groveling in sincere repentance
before running away to hide himself in the reeds.
He spends his days now
counting the wasps
as they dart through the goldenrod.

On a stage near the wood shed
Elijah swallows rusty nails.
A parlor trick he performs to pay the rent.
An apathetic audience is in attendance;
a couple kissing in the midsection
of the auditorium,
a man in the back
downloading songs on his phone.
Elijah considers knocking off early,
slipping out
and getting a lemonade.

The last news of Moses is that
he checked into a
Zen Buddhist Temple in the foothills of San Diego
to re-center his chi
and disappeared without a trace.
No one has seen him in years.
All he left behind was his wallet.
Its sole content a slip of paper
with a disconnected phone number
written on it.

In the courtyard of a church
I stroll through the saints
of weathered stone.
From inside the preaching of a red-faced,
fat priest glumly seeps
out to me.
I cannot make out what is said.
Passing a dried pond,
its bottom lined with
fish bones stuck in dead algae,
I look at the church’s brown brick walls
to see Jesus
suffering in the stained glass.
From his translucent prison
he watches me
the only witness of my presence
as I pass through
without the shadow of my memory
being left behind.


12 thoughts on “Last News of Moses – A Poem

  1. I am in awe of this Joseph. It is stunning. It moves in a spiraling cadence into a qualified resignation. The poem reads just as well knowing or not knowing the allusions involved, though it is hard to separate the two as knowing somethin or not knowing it. As we used to say in my old worrshop- Artistically conceived and brilliantly executed. >KB

    • Thanks! I was hoping the allusions were not too heavy handed to the point that I removed some while editing, trying to find a balance so that they brought out the poem instead of boggling it down. I am happy you liked it.

      • I know when ever you are dealing with allusion, or talking about a prominent figure you have to watch that what nformation you know doesn’t always need to end up on the page. This was fine the way you did it. The poem stands on its own the rest is sublayered.>KB

    • Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it. Yes, the trick to telling a story in poetry is doing it right, a tough thing to do that, though I am sure I have failed to do so adequately numerous times, I have had fun in the attempt.

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