The time it takes

The time it takes lets me down gently.
With fistfuls of lanolin and pocket knives.
There’s something to it, in the way
it moves me left to right then slightly left
before the next day’s dawn uprooting data.

Rockstar goes down virtually and easier.
The neck stifles its coughs with greater expertise.

Somewhere along the line is the sum
of our increasingly varied parts.
But this is a nonentity. Or perhaps a phantom
passing gas to other phantoms and then
laughing all the way to the bank of flowers
some artist put here during the ’90’s.
A firestorm in tow. I’d go where you went
but just to watch you leave in replay,
because I lack what’s called “balls.”
Other issues now presiding.

The kids all process leeches.

-r. miller


Well, if you must know…

To the tune of six hundred American dollars,
they spun and turned their collars up, the parlor junkies.
They wore on their feet shoes so clunky
that one almost felt sorry.
How, after all, can such tragedies
be allowed in this, the best of all possible worlds?

Wind came a-churnin’ like a churlish beggar
in baggy pants. The dance continued,
as did the sale of liquor on Sundays,
much to the chagrin of the churchgoing crowd.
They squalled so loudly that they garbled
the content of their message.
They may as well have been pulling steel wool
from their mouths.

A crowd was gathered in the ballroom,
all of them brandishing hot irons
and cynical cartoons. Some called it a boon.
Others took to their hot air balloons
and were never seen or heard from again.
I was already wending my way through
the labyrinthine halls of that piping hot palace,
seeking the solace of someone or other’s bedchambers.

Clamor covered and smothered the event.
‘Twas a fine time to repent,
though nobody could quite remember
the protocol for that. All was overkill,
spilled guilt and hot flashes.
Splashes of a wounded sunset
crept through the window.
Of these, none took notice.

-r. miller

Free hugs

They called us backwash babies.
Better sense inducted us
to a more mythic plane.
With that, the sane stayed satisfied
and the pied piper threw himself into the river,
his last words being “Stick the pension up your ass!”

Truly, it was either high time or high tide,
with a rucksack stuck to a crucifix
pressing its judgment into a puree.
Life indeed moves at a different speed here,
so different it’s excruciating, like,
everybody feels like they’re waiting constantly,
but know not what they’re waiting for.
On and on the litany goes, but
knows not what it names.

A violet shame induced a fever
like a wrecking ball made of sunshine,
made every straight line of dialogue wavy
and saved us all the burden
of holding on to corpses.
Outside, the four horsemen
were offering free hugs.

-r. miller

Nothing to chance


Bitter herbs. The taste of aluminum.
Last night’s sentimental discharge
had me heaving.

It’s the quiet that gets you in the end.
Sometimes, it’s as if I’m a papier mâché
sculpture of a human skull,
hollow and burlesque.
Sometimes, it’s as if I’m tap dancing
over an abyss with a pillow case over my head.
It’s never been like this, though.

There’s a thimble of whiskey
in my heart with your name on it,
etched in an impeccable font.

The forest has taken us farther
from safety than we
ever could have imagined.
The bits of change and receipts
we’d left as a trail to lead us back
have conveniently gone missing.

You called me your human disaster,
so I’m returning the favor
in the form of an anonymous
brown package. What it contains
is up to you – caustic twine.
Allusions to Barbara Guest.
Tools for hunting and gathering.

You’re capable of conceptualizing, oui?

A ménage à trois has developed
between the facets of my personality,
and it’s only a matter of time
before someone plays favorites.
Chatter from the street punctures
a lung in the clouds.

Now, we leave nothing to chance.

-r. miller



By the fireside

The stark beacons wave
their fingers just a bit too high.
Do they intend to poke the sky’s eyes,
or what? Sometimes,
you have to roll on over and take it,
that’s what the Zeitgeist says.
Well, I have some things of my own
to say to the Zeitgeist.
And a pair of brass knuckles
to say them with. So
how about those spritzers?
Or the crab cake walk?
And the talk of blustery citizens
in the agora of our fantasies?
There’s snow atop the roads tonight,
and a silver breeze is humming.
I’d like to dumb things down,
but how down do you have to be?
Your lips are saying “No,” but also
“Go fuck yourself.”

-r. miller

The last of us

The solace – ribbons of pure silk – vexed the waterways – borne of motors – flexing – attuned to the tune of a sunrise – marginal – thought production – we geld the welter with waxen hands – and the wicked sands – we’re sinking – folded coup – lift wails to arms’ reach – a length on her stand – graft aches – skin witch – slumber of babes debased in winter – muttering incoherent fables to the statuesque virgin – heat in head – dreary spaces –

-r. miller

Just deserts and after-dinner mints

we got the comeuppance of a lifetime
in standard meter and wicked rhyme
and the tricks we turned
turned back in on themselves

how did it come to pass
that we’d burned out on sleeping
weeping creepers in our malady
and a soup bone in our melody

the lucid sound of bells
threw us off our axis
but we’d been practicing for this
since the day we gave up lurking

twerking in the alleys
sallying forth into the wilderness
our own hearts had constructed
to hide us from what leers

peers were less than forthcoming
with the evidence we’d been seeking
they tweaking on a silence
that we could only hope to lease

and in the creases of a nightmare
we fell into submission
superstition cradling us
in our heavy suits of teeth

-r. miller