MANIA POEM #1, James Moran

Mania Poem #1
by James Moran

You’re running through the fire,
burning in the fire.

Everything about you, around you
burns – wild.

You have all the water 
you could ever need, 
enough to put out the flames.

But you drink the water, 
keep drinking,
even though you’re not thirsty.

You believe that you’re the fire.


by James Moran

When your body collapses onto mine,
I expect you to make me feel small:
smaller than the head of a burned matchstick;
a promise tucked beneath a whisper;
cavity in a tooth.

When it’s over I’ll be a broken-winged sparrow 
in your hands, a shattered compact mirror; 
clod of dirt you mistook for a rock, 
now clay and ash slipping through your fingers 
in a stream of dust.

Whether you like it or not,
you’ll make me into these things 
because I’m willing to become them. 
And when you come inside, 
nothing can prepare you 

for what I’ll become next,  
what I end up becoming.


A Night in Your City
by James Moran

After the concert, we leave the club 
and run to the parking deck, past 
insurance banks and law firm buildings, 
large and ornate as Gothic cathedrals. 
When we stop halfway, we laugh and gasp 
until clouds burst and vanish around our 
flushed faces, our parted lips on the brink 
of chapped. Your tongue flicks out,
but only to snag the snakebite piercing 
back in place. The vault of my jaw snaps shut. 
As I try to forget how my eyes caught 
that flesh-colored eel darting between your teeth, 
I turn to the city wrapped in its gray veil, 
its buildings too tall to fathom—too rigid, too steel,
cold as their countless windows, closed and unlit.
James Moran is a current MFA candidate in poetry at North Carolina State University. His writing has appeared in Semaphore Magazine, and his poetry has been nominated for the 2016 AWP Intro Journals Project. He lives in Sanford, NC.