Thursday, August 9, 2018

Joe Milford Returns!

Tonight I will post several poems by Joe Milford, a number of them being on classical and/or mythical themes.  These poems suit me well while I get ready for the fall semester and its classes.


under the belly of the rancid sheep 
i keep asking myself how the hell 
did I get here—how far from the groves 
of olives and the cliff where I sired 
my first daughter, and now, as I hang 
here under this beast, a barbaric one- 
eyed mongoloid wants to eat me 
and my brethren as I follow a madman 
through his rites of passage—they 
should have never had let him read 
Campbell—I am going to die for his 
new tattoos, his new scars, his new 
sexcapades in foreign lands—that wild 
boar should have killed him as a boy,  
but he was loved by the gods—yet 
the rest of us are not so privileged 
and can’t even pay our union dues 
without these regular suicide voyages 


consciousness is its own rape. 
endless recovery—the fence builder 
fighting the gatekeeper. 
I held the grain of your DNA in my teeth 
and chewed you like papyri. 
we all eventually knelt 
at the factory. tell me how you broke 
your cage—then tell me did you 
make armor or bombs with the scrap? 
I want to be a boy again; I was more 
of a man then. pin a holocaust 
to a constellation. extracting the nails 
from the walls of museums. we fear 
that what could be left is a simpering 
squidesque cthulian moistness underneath 
which has eyes unable to focus. keep  
scribing until our backs are broken. 
heaven is a guitar you can’t break  
and hell is the never ending guitar solo. 
we will have taquitos in Valhalla. 
we will put down our pens, our ink-stained 
feathers so that they can maybe make  
wings again. for now, we keep cutting 
off the heads of the hydra, but no one 
is cauterizing. 

homo xenomorph

mishmash of sundials, weathervanes
historic monoliths, grave pillars and austere
iron gates that the drones fly over
like Orwellian mosquitoes
the two lovers on the beach made of sand
dissipating like the half-life of a radioactive
element the salt that is us all
the white gold alchemical that it is
the ash to come that the feathers
of the peacock will emulsify from
that the fangs of the python will
condensate from and the drones’
batteries failing and they are calling
home calling the laboratories
we are there speaking more robot
than sand, more phosphates and
polymorphs than gastropods or sapiens
monks of the holograms in anti-gravity
bliss above city basins and sprawling
valleys and the two lovers made of
pixels dissipating in phosphorous
filaments quivering under droning
moth volleys and neon breaths
of urban halitosis and salt-lamp halos
illuminating that coast of your plans
and your placements of silverware
during times of war and your salutations
feed the correspondents freeing them
to navigate the cul de sacs to provide
further gunshot reports coming back
with drones lodged in their mouths
you fall like a birdling from the nest
and bubble into pinestraw not lucky
enough to die from the impact
of being spit from the great grid
lying there staring up at the incredible
intricate latticework as shrapnel shatters
marble all around you and the sundials’
shadows splintering across your
hands full of scattering nanobots
like salt or sand that can feel
like a man, like what was human

ancient aliens and history channel 2

if ancient alien reptilian giants
the Annunaki and the Nephilim
planted our DNA here millennia
ago, then their agenda led to
reality TV shows, and so, I really
am not that impressed with
interstellar geneticists

summer affair

she stripped off my armor
and made it into luxuriant furniture
and lounged on it topless
with that knowing smile

later, after kissing her
goodbye, a lizard stares
up from the edge of the oil spot
left by her car
and I try to say

it’s no omen


writing with pencils
made from the splintered ships
of Odysseus

postmodern edit

I can’t read birds or guts
To tell the future.
I’m no polymath.
I can’t remember the last time
I had butterflies in my stomach.
Tolerance is my favorite continent.
Piracy is my favorite city there.
I had a corporate venture last night,
And while all of you slept,
I replaced your hands with pianos
I replaced your eyes with planetariums
I replaced your mouths horns of brass
I replaced your ears with gramophones.
We can’t hear or see each other now,
But I do like our future.

Back to school means that it's time for me to go back to playing Art Blakey while I grade papers.  These songs will feature or at least include musicians born in the 1950s.

On this version of "Moanin'" from 1988, Robin Eubanks (b. 1955) plays trombone: 

This video is of a 1980 performance when Robin Eubanks, his brother Kevin (b. 1957), Bobby Watson (b. 1953), James Williams (1951-2004), and Charles Fambrough (1950-2011) were part of the Jazz Messengers:

Mulgrew Miller (1955-2013) appears on this version of "Tenderly":

I'll finish with a 1986 version of "Little Man" with Charles Fambrough and Donald Brown (b. 1954):


1 comment:

  1. A wonderful cornucopia of top shelf poetry. Much enjoyed, thanks for sharing!