Stewart Moss

The Book of Forgotten Geniuses
September 22, 2020 Moss Stewart

The Book of Forgotten Geniuses
I can understand why the Egyptians
wanted to be entombed
among the artifacts
of their lived lives –
papyrus etched with a procession of signs
that would never stop intoning
in the silence,
a carved granite ball ready
to be hurled at enemies
in the next world,
and mummified cats hushed
of all but the memories
of their soft murmuring.
But not all were rich, nor am I
and desire only to be buried
with the 3 dollars I got
for shoveling snow
when I was 10 – thus initiating me
into the ancient procession
of capitalists – the obscure poems
I composed with the youthful ferocity
of Mozart, a few amulets of grace
I carried back from the deserts,
and my favorite tome,
The Book of Forgotten Geniuses,
which like the Chronicles,
traces our journey from birth
to the exile from which
we’ve never really escaped,
and I shall gift it to Einstein, who
has rested all these years
among his own relics –
the frayed bow of the violin he played
to scratch out the music of his longings,
and the deflated tire of the bicycle
he pedaled from the beginning
to the end
then back again,
and with his thumbs still dusty
from the chalk he used
to sketch his hieroglyphs about time
onto boards as black
as the endlessness of space,
he will turn the tattered pages,
slap his forehead in disbelief and mutter,
“How come I
never thought of that myself?”

As the former Executive Director of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the largest literary centers in the USA, Stewart Moss helped establish creative writing programs for adult immigrants, and members of the military being treated for neurological and psychological trauma. Moss has essays included in “Retire the Colors: Veterans & Civilians on Iraq & Afghanistan” (Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press, 2016) and Plume Literary Journal, and poetry in the spring ’16 edition of Origins Literary Review. He has also been featured in “The Poet and the Poem” podcasts at The Library of Congress. He was educated at Union College (NY) and Harvard University. A native of Boston, MA he resides in Annapolis, MD. His chapbook For Those Whose Lives Have Seen Themselves: Poems is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.