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'Aftershock'

Joe Shlabotnik
The Happiest Place On Earth

by Richard O. Moore

Afterward, you look on the world as a happy place
flush from arrival into a new land of not being in pain.
Is there anything forgotten, now that the screaming's stopped?

The voltage doctor has put upon you a happy face.

Coffee stains come and go, echoechoecho.
This can be validated, the night crew cleans up.

A gurney wheels you to damnation sedated, but somebody
pushes... a body...

Name your place or person, it is not a freedom.

Serenity is unearthly,
the hospital staff tests you with the hammer of happiness,
we say each other's names, but also we remember,
we remember

it all     :     and nothing.

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Credit University of California Press
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University of California Press

Richard O. Moore (1920 - 2015) was 90 years old when his collection Writing the Silences was published. that collection included the poem "Quotation." Moore was a poet, filmmaker, and seminal figure in public radio and television. Moore belonged to the San Francisco Renaissance literary circle of Kenneth Rexroth in the 1940s and 1950s, a precursor of the Beat poetry movement.

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at PRX.org and MTPR.org.
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