*Insert Propaganda Here*

“Never Get Yr Hopes Up” Is My Rallying Cry

A spark or two of purity
cracking in the baffling glare
of hindsight – by rights,
this is what is due to me.
Or rather, some fragile vacancy.
The shifting blather banging
in my brain’s feeble helm
cements my dislocation,
and I arrive where expectation

burns out in a shouting match.
I’ve latched on to a few
too many expectations,
and the result is always the same.
Now, I have no one to blame
but myself. Pursuits
are drained with a strangling
purpose, so it goes.
So it goes, et cetera.

-r. miller

He Goes Wherever the Road Leads Him

The desperate lunatic speaks
his piece and moves on
to a warmer clime.
Without a reason to wander,
he’s thrown up his backpack,
whose splattered contents
reveal no glimpse
of his former capacities.
The cavities of his spirit
have grown to an inordinate depth,
and each breath is a last ditch effort
to reclaim his once glorious stature.
Names are a concept
for which he has no use,
having revoked his long ago
like a postal code with no inhabitants.
In fact, he considers
any form of identification
the ego misrepresenting itself.
He goes on his way
like a funeral dirge,
excited by no sudden surge
of concentration, contemplation,
or anything relating
to an interior process.
Onlookers have witnessed
before the spectacle
of his presence,
and his presence is abnegation
in the strictest sense.
Incense fumes
from his ragged feet.
Their march is a march
that reckons the street

-r. miller

That Awkward Moment

Aching to fondle their snatches -
patches of desire pasted
against the fire of obtuse confusion.
I’ m caught in a profusion
of grammatical errors blaring a rage
through my headache,
and where shall it end?
A rending of muscle
to withered tissue
with a lurid kiss.

-r. miller

Dive Bar Montage

The arm emerges from
the shoulder emerges from
the neck emerges from
the head emerges from the mind.
The kind of friend who would
back you up in a brawl,
but that’s all he’s good for.
Stay for more drinks, I implore you,
just so long as you’re able
to drive with minimal risk
of self-destruction.
It’s the process of induction
that allows us to say the sun
is going to come up again
tomorrow, or that there will be
a tomorrow in the first place.
No, is there something on my face?
Grace and wafers wafting
through the tear ducts.
I said it’s induction, you’re thinking
of intercourse, as usual,
you of the coarse mannered jib
with your glib remarks about
human dignity.
Dignity is just one way to die
out of a plethora. I’d die
for pornography, the kind I’ll know
when I see, but who’ll die for me?
Plethora. Loose gums. Overture.
You’ve overloaded the pint glass
with the corrosive battery dust
of my will, and instilled
a horrible mess. Blessed
are the forgetful, Nietzsche said,
and then, he too forgot,
as he tried to save the horse
he thought was mankind
from the lashes of conscience.

-r. miller

This Is Maybe a Story

This is a story in a loose sense. There’s three of us in a car, my car:

I’m at the wheel sucking vapors,

Amy’s in the passenger seat gazing intently at the passage of darkness,

and Mat’s in the back chain smoking and rambling on.

He’s had about 12 beers in all. I had five, but I’ve since sobered up, and Amy, she’s had one to herself and stolen a few sips from mine.

It’s 2:30 in the morning now, and ours is the only car on the road. We’re on our way to Gettysburg to grab a late/early bite at the Lincoln, which is an old style railcar diner. The food is good, but it’s overpriced for the tourists.

I put Ought on the stereo, “The Weather Song”, and Mat digs it, he tells me so in between raving about how the owner of the 7-11 up the street from his house dislikes him to a disturbing degree.

He’s severely inebriated, so he keeps repeating himself over and over, before switching topics to how he almost fucked a girl in the bathroom at the Lincoln, but didn’t go through with it because he was afraid of being caught by the staff.

I tell him they’re probably used to that sort of thing, seeing as how the place is within walking distance from six different bars, and is always swarmed by college kids on the weekends. Amy assures him they wouldn’t care.

She’s returning to college herself in the Fall, to finish up her nursing degree.

Mat and I, we don’t have that sort of ambition, and in fact, this trip is about as ambitious as either of us have been in months.

Mat’s been hung up on his ex, a girl who cheated on him 17 times with the same guy, and had the nerve to tell him about it in detail. He’s also hung up on recently turning 28.

I’m hung up on having to leave California because of financial troubles. I’m also hung up on not having a solid weed connection, and on recently turning 27.

Amy is hung up on her family, but not hung up on being 21.

We arrive at the Lincoln and seat ourselves.

There are three other customers, some students lingering like cigarette smoke at the counter. Two nerdy guys, scarred with acne, and a girl who looks far too attractive to be hanging with them.

We opt for a booth near the bathrooms.

Our waitress is friendly, but has a deadpan and sarcastic manner, which we understand.

Mat orders a coffee and a chicken parm sandwich.

I order a water and a burger.

Amy orders a Pepsi and French fries since she isn’t a carnivore.

Mat is still rambling on, at an unnecessary volume, about his ex-girlfriend, the one who cheated on him 17 times with the same guy and told him about it in detail, and then he starts ranting about the ex before her.

The latter breakup was his fault, he explains, because of his dissatisfaction with a decidedly good thing.

He seems to be down on himself for not being as gentle or kindhearted or supportive or intelligent as this girl’s new beau.

Amy chimes in a says she knows the guy, and that he’s an asshole.

I tell him that from what I’ve seen of this new guy, he’s a certifiable bore, which seems to make Mat feel better.

Nevertheless, he still feels lousy because his most recent of ex-girlfriends cheated on him 17 times with the same guy, and more importantly, he feels lousy because he didn’t do anything about it, since, as he says it, “I’m a fucking pushover.”

Amy and I tell him not to worry, that he’ll find someone else, someone who will be supportive of him and vice versa, and besides, being single isn’t as bad as people make it out to be.

This probably doesn’t mean a great deal since Amy and I are together.

We sit in silence as we finish our food, and the waitress tops off our beverages.

I take care of the bill since I just sold my old car.

On the way home, I put on Archers of Loaf because Mat is in a bad mood, and that band always cheers him up. We both sing along to “Web in Front.”

-r. miller

What I Thought As I Peered Into the Page

Every time I breathe,
the pen in my hand
stammers a little,

and I think maybe
I should get with the century
and do my writing

on a computer.
But then again,
typeface has no personality.

-r. miller

The Unabridged Version of the American Dream

Bundles of glass tapped
with insurgency gripes.
I was never the type
to trip laces for wires.

Formaldehyde fires
in the hypodermic cask
brighten and widen
with residual flair.

Everywhere deepens
with rage, and old age
boggles its terminology.
Then everything is clear again,

clear like a Dasani bottle
throttling the grass.
Come dystopian sheen!
Embalm and lacquer

the deceased manifesto
displayed in the tombs.
Calm the blood
until the blood is like sap,

then sap the blood
until the circulatory system
makes for the unemployment office.
So much for social networking

and your currency jive, motherfucker,
and your chalk dust renderings of beehives
lingering upon the muck,
dissonance fornicating with shadows.

-r. miller


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