Chapped Lap is Frank Moore's first slim book of poetry, featuring poetry from the 1990s and 2000 (published in 2000). Originally a xeroxed and stapled “chapbook”, as the title suggests, this small collection is dense with pieces that have become classics. Not only did Frank perform these poems for years, but they were also often used in his interactive performances, read by audience members, and read by fellow poets, always adding new levels to the frame in which they were performed. Two of the pieces, “out of isolation” and “wrapping and rocking”, were both written earlier – 1986. These deep evocative pieces are the roots of what would become decades of Frank's evolving performances. “out of isolation” pulled the audience into the universe of a character named Jim, institutionalized and severely disabled, exploring what happens when a nurse, Jane, is assigned to treat him. Frank described it as “a surreal erotic examination of an intimate relationship of need.”
“I only wish I was not the only soft fingers...I wish there was another soft fingers in my universe of the mat...someone to share in the bright colors and sweet sounds...someone I could laugh with, cry with, move with, share good feeling with...someone who would be with me on the mat, touch me not like touching my pillow, not like pulling things out of me or to make me different. But just because we are the only soft fingers in the universe of the mat.”
“wrapping and rocking” in performance gave people the direct experience of oneness and intimacy: “the two nude figures sit in / time and space. / one upon the other. / rocking together. / rocking in their cave. two magic figures / rocking together against time. / rocking back through time. / back and forth. mother rocking her baby. / rocking against sickness and tears. / rocking back into love and peace.”
“wrapping and rocking” is illustrated with great black and white performance photographs, and Chapped Lap is further illustrated with liquid erotic pen & ink drawings by LaBash, a few paintings by Moore, and other photographs.
The poems in this first collection reflect a full spectrum of Moore's passions: exploring and expanding freedom, intimacy and deep human connection beyond the accepted limits, sex and love, play and passion, and exploding the censoring concepts and taboos that fragment and isolate us from each other, from ourselves and from unlimited possibilities. His tribute poems to his mom, Connie, to a student, and to a fellow artist take us deep through the personal into the essence of being human together. And poems like “their cuddling cocoon” and “rings of orgasms” explore the “smallness” of erotic human surrender and intimacy, while opening into the universal “heart of the universe”.
But it is poems such as “i came to play”, “tortures”, “art is a bitch” and “mutation is evolution” that have become “signature” pieces for Moore's lusty way of looking at life, living life, enjoying life, his deep and uncompromising vision of human liberation, and his seeing art/life as a passion, an addiction … about surrendering and following. A lot loaded into a sexy small package!
Frank Moore was an American performance artist, shaman, teacher, poet, essayist, painter, musician, and internet/television personality who experimented in art, performance, ritual, and shamanistic teaching from the late 1960s until his death in 2013 in Berkeley, California.
Moore is well known as one of the NEA-funded artists targeted by Jesse Helms in the early '90s for doing art that was labeled "obscene". He is also well known for long (5-48 hours) ritualistic performances with audience participation, nudity, and eroticism.
Moore coined the word, "eroplay" to describe physical play between adults released from the linear goals of sex and orgasm. He explored this, and similar concepts in performance and ritual as a way for people to break through isolation, and connect on a deep human level beyond the social and cultural expectations and limitations.
Moore was born with cerebral palsy, could not walk or talk, and wrote books, directed plays, made award-winning films, gave poetry readings, played piano, sang in music jams, lead rock bands, and hosted a live variety show on his radical webstation, which he ran for 14 years. Frank's original oil and digital paintings have been shown across the United States and in Canada. Moore communicated using a laser-pointer and a board of letters, numbers, and commonly used words.
From 1991 to 1999 Frank Moore published and edited the acclaimed underground zine, The Cherotic [ r ]Evolutionary. In addition to his books, Cherotic Magic, Art of a Shaman, Chapped Lap, Skin Passion and numerous other self-published pieces, Moore was widely published in magazines and books.
In the 1970s, Frank Moore created the popular cabaret show, the Outrageous Beauty Revue. In the 1980s he became one of the United States' foremost performance artists. In 1992 he was voted Best Performance Artist by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In 2001 he began producing shows for Berkeley's public access channel, and these shows continue today. In 2006, Moore became a write-in candidate for President of the United States in the 2008 election, qualifying in 25 states and receiving votes across the country. Since 2011, he has become internationally known for his performance/video archive on Vimeo.com which has been viewed by over 10 million people worldwide.
Frank Moore performed regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area up until his death.
His students and the people influenced by his life/work continue his vision.
5 - i came to play
8 - tortures
18 - art is a bitch
22 - you ain’t no deer
25 - out of isolation
29 - connie
31 - jesse
32 - wrapping and rocking
37 - rings of orgasms
Poetry Bash, Fort Mason, San Francisco 1988. Photo by Linda Mac.
“Frank, that poem (“Tortures”) is the most outrageously incredibly powerful ode to the body that I have ever read. With all of my power I will make your work available to more hungry for truth souls.”
Linda Montano, artist, teacher
“Frank Moore’s poetry is a beautiful set of contradictions, full of vulnerability and an irresistible strength, a mixture of frailty and titanium will. This new book is a testament by a man not afraid to acknowledge imperfections, both in himself and in the physical world, but still standing by the human soul with an unshakable loyalty. Frank Moore is a wonderful man, and Chapped Lap is a precious gift.”
Robert L. Penick,
Editor Chance Magazine Press
"one of the most heroic poets we've been privileged to know."
Jack Hirschman, poet
“When I read 'i came to play', one of my most favorite poems ever, I looked up and saw smiles on everyone! It was sweet.”
Ava Bird, poet, after reading Frank’s poem
“I Came To Play” at a poetry event
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Copyright 2014 Inter-Relations Last modified April 23, 2015