The Actual Moon

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade August 2001

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From the poems that I have read by Chris Forhan, his work all tends to have a storyteller aspect to it. He pulls this technique off extremely well in that he lures the reader in and allows them to see, feel, hear, and be exactly where he is. His descriptions are distinct and strong, but more importantly they are realistic, and something that many can connect with.

In The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars, Forhan presents a dreamlike quality to the reader as his character awakes as a soul and wanders the night searching for everything and nothing. He allows you to hear the sounds with the "chirrs and clicks," and a man "without breath or breathlessness" which actually sounds breathy. He also uses sound within the words to create images, such as "sweat soaks the sheets," and "whitening a single window." Everything seems to come to life in his poem, the night "tugs at me with its bustle and fuss," his "thoughts flop and twitch," and "bits of gravel scattered/on the blacktop glinting like stars" pull his final thoughts together.

The ghost-like image that Forhan creates gives the reader vivid descriptions of this neighbor hood at night from the "sensor light in the side yard," to "the black/plastic garbage bins/wheeled to the ends of driveways." As his character wanders the night he comes in contact with these real things but they do not come in contact with him. The are also ghost like and only images to him. But the actual moon and the actual stars are bright and predominate in the characters mind and eyes. The moon reflects off of the ground and bottle caps and the stars shine brightly illuminating the sky. These seem to be the only thing that he understands throughout his wanderings; that there will always be the real things in life no matter who you are or where you are.

I think this poem is interesting and seems to flow a lot smoother than From a Shaded Porch. I like his concept of telling stories in his poems, but nothing farfetched- all ideas that the reader can grasp, understand, and experience for themselves. This poem is enlightening to the sense that others do have these wandering dreams and do wonder what's real and what's not.