ARC Review: Boys

Daniel Edward Moore’s Upcoming Chapbook Offers Meticulous Verses

Peewee Herman, or at least a look alike, drifts as some sort of melting cosmic force wearing boys as strange ornaments upon his clothes. This cover is bizarre but it encases stirring poetry. Intricate blueprints of very elaborate and meticulous designs of verse appear almost as the scaffolding of Daniel Edward Moore’s poems. Reverberating with the mighty clang of a steel support beam pounding into the ancient earth, “The Architect’s Son” opens the chapbook with power, “Every boy is an architect’s son. / Every son’s neck is a skyscraper burning /a hole in the heaven of fathers.” Moore’s writing is a structure which commands the gaze. It can even be visualized as neo-gothic in design.

These poems are forward thinking while aching with a past that cannot be forgotten nor its consequences ignored. The last line of the poem reads as if it were a warning above a dark entry way:

“If only the grass would have told me,

that earth too is a refuge for pain,

I could have

used the venom in me,

to be the ink in my pen.”

Moore’s poetry is a building adorned by snarling gargoyles and filled with state of the art atriums, reveling in light while long shadows stretch along hallways connecting past and present.

Once through the embittered entrance, Moore’s poetry takes on a far more tender tone. Each line wraps like the delicate wooden bars of a bird cage entrapping a screaming bird of prey. His words, which study the tenuous nature of fathers and sons and the differing expectations of what it means to be a man, are translated into soft and unspoiled containers of a subject that is far more ferocious.

Moore continues to prove in his writing that “Warhol wasn’t the only one / who loved those Fire Island boys…” He celebrates and mourns these memories of men recalling, “Those were the days of aquatic ecstasy: / steam baths swirling with deep sea divers / trading their handfuls of pearls…” before wishing that he “…could weep / as loud as they laughed and rage as hard / as they loved, maybe the young wouldn’t die / so fast; alone, on the edge of a viral abyss…” His writing slips back and forth between erotic and sorrowful as he pays homage to those who long suffered the devastating spiritual and physical effects of homophobia.

“Freedom is phallic, it fits in your hand,” the speaker seems to whisper, “guiding you to the saline shore, past / the tomb of moral analysis / into the scorching red light. / There, the heart fears nothing…” Through his detailed and delicate construction, Moore has created a place where “Absence worships memory…,” but blinding nostalgia is kept at bay. In Moore’s poetry memory is worshiped “…like a weed eater trimming rocky ground / from a place where they started their engines / at dawn, a cathedral of gnashing teeth.”

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It goes without saying that Boys, which will be published through Duck Lake Books, certainly makes for an interesting read. Though it may initially slip the grasp of a few readers, Moore’s poetry should be shared. “The Fire Island Boys” and “In This Corner” are two of the best pieces in the chapbook. They are both brimming with evocative images and extremely touching as well as attainable to even new poetry fans. His poems are spires, hidden passageways and open air courtyards leading readers to discover a pain they may not have been familiar with before but should be.

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