Had I wished this otherwise,
you’d all be hailstones by now.
Upon the furrowed brow of decency,
a plateau of quivering glass
arises surreptitiously.
They say it gets interesting here,
but you know I have my doubts,
and I distribute them daily
with handfuls of ganja dust.
Just look at the signs, the omens I mean!
What’s that they’re birthing?
If you can’t tell from this angle,
hold your precepts like a rosary
and start praying like hell.
No one owes us any favors,
as is the flavor of the day.
I’m slightly capable of grinding my own bones.
Nationwide disruption.
I wasn’t put here to merely function,
or was I? Lately, the evenings close
with careless chemical spills,
and we’ve come up with a way
to distil the lresidue into a soothing spirit.
Let’s hear it for resourcefulness!
and with a forcefulness
not even death can muster,
we come careening through the cobwebs
to seize history by the throat.

-r. miller


Have I given enough thought?
I sought to pacify the plangency,
ritual elegance undusted,
shifty whispers from a trusted friend.
Nowhere this is ending semi-abruptly
to fixate on badness.
My mouth in a madness utters “One.”
Shutters sideways eyed.
Manic dances descried.
More salt for the devouring wound.

-r. miller


Everywhere and all at once.
Something wonderful
to wonder at. Bleeding, bilked.
Milked derangement
and estrangement of sense perception.
Your tongue is gibberish.
Pollen, pills, and postcards.

Memories arrive in shards
on the doorstep of consciousness.
Be my blanket. My mesmerizing moor.
We float on filibustered rustic roots.
Overhand undermining.
The wetness shining on leathery leaves.
Saves me from falling.

-r. miller

Within Reach

Permanence fails you,
like so many others.
Doubtless this was bound to happen,
but did it have to happen now,
at this moment, when it’s least convenient?
The limits of self prevail
against that once boundless energy
which surged up in a column of fire,
its sights trained on the heavens.
Now everything is moot,
a pointless proposition
which aims at nothing in particular,
save for what is most
within its reach.

-r. miller

The New Romanticism

It’s that time again,
time to grease your grimace.
Time to fleece those finicky fiends
who scheme at the margins.
The barge barges in,
and soon, it’s a cakewalk.
We’re all talk around here.
Gilded gab. Flabbergasted
by ritual and ready to plow.
Judging by the brow on your sweat,
I’d say somebody’s nervous.
Impervious to puzzles,
I abide by the brick.

Is This a Poem?

I am writing this poem
not to convey any specific interior state,
nor to relate a specific experience.
I don’t plan on utilizing any lush imagery.
I don’t intend to display
any verbal acrobatics or dexterity.

I haven’t decided yet
if I even want this to be read as a poem.
It could be read as any number of things.

A dissertation.
A pamphlet.
A road map.

I could perhaps tell you that this is a picture
and rather than using color and brush strokes,
I use the symbols we ordinarily associate
with our language. Meaning,
this isn’t intended to be read at all,
but gazed at from a distance
and admired for its visual qualities,
the shapes of the symbols
and the order they appear in.

I wouldn’t do that of course.
I was merely speculating.

What if I told you
that this is a musical composition
arranged to be sung by a single voice
in a flat monotone?

That could also easily be the case, but again,
I’m merely speculating.

So what is it exactly
that makes this a poem?
Is it the fact that I referenced this as a poem?
Is that even sufficient?
So what if I say that a rock is a poem?
Or a tree? Or a city skyline at sunset?
Or two people arguing in a crowded restaurant?
Are these poems?

Or is it the fact that this piece of writing
is composed of phrases broken up
according to a number of factors,
including but not limited to:
rhythm, meter, the way they guide the eye
and by that token affect the action of the mind?
But I could’ve left the phrases intact
and let them run their natural course as in prose,
and it still would be a poem.

So what is it that makes this a poem?
What about you, the reader?
Is it you who makes this what it is?
Are you reading this as a poem?
Well, are you?
Are you… ?

A Thought Process

I had a thought process once.
Its name was Burbank.
It had a crank case for a heart.
It picked me apart
until there wasn’t anything left to pick.
It had a few tricks up its sleeve.
It was studded with diamonds
and it was also a stud.
It was a dud at budding.
It was suds in a bucket.
When confronted
with unmitigated failure,
it simply said “Fuck it,”
and thrust its hands in its mouth.
It traveled south every winter.
It took shavings for splinters.
It was an unremarkable lay,
but sure played a mean mandolin.
It thought it was a duck.
Or possibly a stuck pig.
I had a thought process once,
but I can’t really be sure.

The Politics of Grieving

Never trust a bladder infection.
I only learned this
upon further inspection
of the dactyl hymns
we’ve been humming since day one.

That was a day of discreet murmuring
and plexiglass palaces poking at prose.
In all but four states,
every rose dropped its thorns
in a casket of steam,
eyes trained on the desperate dream
that had been their sustenance.
We wore our incompetence with pride.
We turned the tides with a trick.

And now it seems
I’m bearing the guilt of that sickness,
staring at the shifting shock patterns
as they play the politics of grieving.
The hollow heaving of history.
It threads my blood with bickering.

-r. miller

The Zeitgeist

A frail pail of turpentine
for your wounded pride, madame.
The drams in the dam keep coming up stone.

Deboned monarchs stand
mystified in the meat packing plant,
ties aslant with wings in their toes.
Just goes to show just what a show goes to.

Everyone everywhere nullified.
Dear readers dreaming of deicide.

Who was it exactly who decided
crows were cows and vice versa?
I’m a victim of a strange sort of inertia
and my fate is blitzed.
Pheromones burn brighter than this.
Listen for the carnivorous calls of the Zeitgeist,
then get all feisty with verbiage.

-r. miller