To drift in lazily upon
a refusal dressed in calico
would be the last great testament
to an age so thoroughly
in decline. Oh! Whatever else
I choose to undermine
is hardly worth the trouble,
but since I have no other option
than to expend myself quite utterly,
I must admit it’s the trouble that has worth.

-r. miller


Subtlety slides right off of me.
Nervousness is nurtured
by splurges of saintliness.
Yet when my spine surges
with a mellow warmth,
I get a yen for yesterday.
A haymaker in the mold.
Getting old is harder
than it used to be.

-r. miller

Home Improvement

It was out of love for you
that I set my house ablaze.

I stood amazed at what I’d done,
beholding the very structure
of my deepest daze
razed to a charred heap of pillowy soot.
There was tenderness afoot
that night, bright red sashes
dashing right to left and left to right,
as if to spite the dark.
Beneath a pockmarked moon,
I crooned a little lullaby
whose only lyric was your name,
and I smiled unashamed
as I bathed in the luxurious rain
of its melody.

-r. miller

February Drizzle

Wintry pulp of palpitating ions!
I wrecked the tableau.
Murder disguised as a balustrade
prays to the peephole
and when the scolders simmer
they shine like species memory
in the murmuring marsh gas,
miasma of draconian measures.
This and a treasure break the beacon.
Hold it! Snap creation,
punch the patriot in his plums!
Sugar and gum shock!
Yonder socks hold a host of pleasantries –
cut them to the course.

-r. miller


Heavy gazes tend to crush
all they fall upon into a powder.

From memory’s clothesline
hang the lacey wraiths of doubt.

Is it really time
to go out in the world?

Have the stars unfurled
their withered longings?

And what about these people
thronging at the center of town?

The moon lays down
a fine film upon the avenue

and my nervousness
leaps into fifth gear.

Sheer panic, but
what else can I depend on?

-r. miller

String of Lights

Night dark… wine dark…
negligent breeze billowing uptown
atonal hymns swim
in the dimly lit square
“caring is killing”
and other such bilge spilling
this way                that way

I button my coat my trap
my happening mask
evident only eventually

preventative medicine aka Dutch Treat
lingers as a sweet smelling haze
a vapor to savor
the flavor of fir trees
is what’s on my tongue

and what’s on my brain
is a sugarcane crook.

-r. miller


What just came blundering
through the door
was a fiery uncertainty.

May as well take
the remainder of the habitat.
Out of habit, or out of general ennui,

we let the flames keep at it.
It’s just our way
of handling situations.

I’ve these apprehensions,
random samplings
of a tension toiling

underneath my skin.
But they come and go
like holidays…

-r. miller

The aim of these projects
was to reorient the self
toward more transcendental
escapades. We bade farewell
to the waters that birthed us
from kelp and foam,
and set out to find a home
better suited to our spiritual
zeal. Other than the feeling
of constantly falling back
into ourselves as those roused
from dreams to waking
consciousness, what did we
really possess? The best narratives
come together almost by accident.
We keep ourselves pent up
in penthouses we can barely afford,
unsettled scores piling up
around us like the walls of a fortress
with no way in and no way out.

-r. miller

Haven’t We Been Here Before?

The white walls growing whiter
as night flares up in a tousled
tango seem to go in every direction
at once. The dunce of evening
lowers his cap and taps the sky,
quietly shuffling into memory.
These walls are stammering.
We go on, hammering stakes
into the ground to mark our territory,
and the territory which we’re marking
is a stark, darkening square
of tittering air. Nothing fares well
in these parts, even young upstarts
such as we. We whose seas ravage
every shore they reach, beaches
pounded into glass. The impasse
must be cleared, the petty fears
that creep through the floorboards
of the years, and as you sleep, slip
dreary thorns through both of your ears.
Tears of enmity intensify as the sky
pushes farther into nothingness.
Our precepts wrestle
in the wilderness.

-r. miller

Written Alone at Work, 5:00 AM

I’m not sure
          Just how many
More cigarettes
                I can smoke
How much longer I
            Can pace around
The cavernous rooms
              Of this here house
If I can go on
          Inflicting my haggard
Cobwebbed brain
                  With poetry
         To speed
    The terrible crawl
                 Of the clock
      Its interminable
                Ticktock Ticktock
Keeping the beat
           In an orchestra
                                       Of boredom

-r. miller