Sunday, 9 February 2020

The fifty-first Moon Prize on today's beautiful full moon goes to Lauren Camp's provocatively reimagined creation myth poem "An Old Story."

An Old Story

by Lauren Camp

The moon laughs, but this is an old story,
jam green and fat around the middle,
the burden of proof on one unlucky man
who climbed a tree and touched an apple,
tasted the sugar of distraction. In the beginning,
the man lived in a world without form.

God made the man from dust and thorns.
God gathered particles of heaven and earth
to build a paradise around that man who watched
waters curve into banners and turn ocean.
The man heard sounds he’d never known.
He marveled at the wild beasts.
He lived in the garden with all creeping things
and the fish and fowl. When God gave the man a woman
to play with, the man smelled the woman all over,
and God saw this was good. Man took the woman into him;
he married her. He built a house from wood
he found nearby; he fell asleep in her reliable arms.

Then God gave man another woman.
God was too busy creating light
to pay attention. The man cleaved to the other woman
and her rib bones, the parts lower down that fold and pucker,
and something was severed in his house.
No one talked very loud; there was nothing to say.

God kept working on his world; no time to rest.
He created secrets, then rage and fingernails.
God fermented the plants that grew in the Garden,
and man drank the liquid every day, every night
until strange creatures swam inside the man.

God continued in a bustle of activity. Time was tenuous,
passing—day four, day five. Day six: locks
and cell phones, then God created Xanax, Serax,
Zoloft and Prozac, credit cards and email,
Paxil and headaches, lying and lawyers.
And on the seventh day, God rested.

* * * * *

"An Old Story" was first published in Poetica and is part of Lauren Camp's poetry collection The Dailiness (Edwin E. Smith Publishing, 2013).

Lauren Camp is the author of four books of poems. Her work has been honored with the Dorset Prize, fellowships from Black Earth Institute and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and a finalist citation for the Arab American Book Award. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic.

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