Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Joseph Victor Milford- Three Poems

Joseph Victor Milford is a Professor of English and a Georgia writer who is currently working on his EdD doctoral studies. He was born in Alabama in 1972, and he went on to receive his Bachelors degree from the University of West Georgia, in English and Philosophy, and then his MFA in Poetry from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. His first collection of poems, Cracked Altimeter, was published by BlazeVox Press in 2010, and he is presently composing a collection of poems with Hydeout Press, forthcoming in 2015. He is also the host of The Joe Milford Poetry Show, where he has compiled an archive of over 300 interviews and readings with American and Canadian poets.  He is also a member of the Southern Collective Experience.


I once made a religion
Of firing arrows towards
Places without targets.

I once made a religion
Of being a target
In a place of buried arrows.

I once made a religion
Of being a place
Where all arrows pierced targets.

I once was a place
Or an arrow or a target
I forget—I just know

Things were flying.
Things were morphing.
Things were waiting.

I once made a religion
Of targeting arrow-factories
Nestled, as they are, under golf-courses.

I lied; I never made a damn thing,
Much less religions. I sat there
Under clouds, collecting feathers

Sharper than scalpels, placing
Them between the pages
Of the bibles that cut us all

In the first place. I once made
An arrow—I  positioned it under
A target—aiming it skyward

Through the red eye towards
Infinity—vertical through vortices.
Ready to pierce the celestial orrery.

Pulling the tendon back to my tender ear.

if every bottle is a soldier,


then I must be the war
of sidewalks vs. mirrors
and the sidewalks are mirrors shattered
and I’m in tatters

you drugged me through the underbelly
I caught things in the hooks I have
under  my belly

gleaming horizon teeth my resolve
absolve me from days
as brigades of clocks wipe their faces

with sharp concentric gesticulations of frozen gerundives
the sleeves of a minute’s shirts are tattered

as are my patterns, slow-motion,
I went to accept the keys to the city
the fans all paid their fare pinwheels
I had a city in my hair, fireworks above

they say there is a city on high
that is a glass mountain range
that only takes one ray of light
to cut to its ore, it explains why

that’s me, harlequin and assassin wannabe
just can’t procure a day job, however,
I have learned to juggle, bake bread,
hold liquor, echolocate, divine water, etc.

judge me not like a paycheck
not wearing bullets around my neck
not an albatross or pegasus mane for sale here

no snake oils, no unguents of eternal life
no omens hung around the necks
of buxom beauties or shackled oddities

scattered shards of jukebox parts litter the parks
read the spilt songs like leaves in  paper cups


as I say these things to you
someone is being stabbed to death
as they lie dying they think of saying
inane things to a loved one

the inane things the most important


the viola begins to play.

the way we are disheveling
is a ragged epic, no one’s fault
that the winds have always required
that the sails should be sewn
from previous epics, the shirts of the past
minute lyrics, the rips in the apostasies

and there are Sumo wrestlers with Alzheimer’s
diseased,  grunting in the sun, expressions
of elemental gods personified, wrestling in saltspray
with candorous grace, the object is to take
the weight of the world off of your back
and put it on the back of your opponent

a noble and honorable sport,
an attack upon one’s own self
is a heart.  what is a heart attack then?

sew the epics together
and the wrestlers trample on the sails
making mockery of the wind
circling in slow elliptics, concentrics

the violas continue to play
as we attack?


the surrealist may not interview me
I said to the praying mantis

the camera kills its mates
after clicking fornications

the Dadaist may not interview me
I said to the ceiling fan blade

but, the dumbass over there, the entomologist
is allowed to show me the paintings of his lucid dreams

the ones with the cameras like insects


my muse is sick,
she all inclusive

cacophonous endorphic


a trawl is a large cone shaped net dragged along
the sea bottom for fishing purposes.  like walking
across the ocean floor with your eyes open


I made love to the moon last night, I said.

The man who had just cut down the moon
with a broken lightbulb shard calls me

a braggart,
he then tries to sell me a piece of her


the Sumo wrestler is a stargazer.
the entomologist fills tunnels
with moonlight, and its murderers
will always be here, the epic writers.

I am simply the heart’s braggart,
the heart attacker, the inane war
of sidewalks in tatters, the song
with swagger trawling forward

the song with swagger trawling forward

one month in new south ghetto

I saved the cork from the night I called you.

and in one month was a mugging and a cartheft
my mother’s car, which was my car, but my grandmother’s
car inherited by my mother and used as collateral
to secure a loan to pay off debt
from greyhound tracks, and this is as simple

as we all know it ever gets.  There was a near fatal
asthma attack in a basement, swamp apt., a bike
used as an assault weapon as phones slammed down
into their holsters all across this sample
of a universe, I put in my notice

and all the women in an inch radius of my temple
(none, I am a drama queen, I am all my own women)
slit their throats as I waded through tall grass
and flea colony moats

                        I saw God the Chattahoochee Baptist leave
                        a burning cigar behind

the notches it left were sky niches
and we all testified that a teen did it
another Rimbaud with a bad leg, an attitude

            I held my soulpelt up
            and achieved the rejection again

but the void throws another comet
like a rotten peach pitched across a park blooming

            and these are the fruits of it
            and I am a pickpocket of light
            and I steal light from keyholes

And tonight I wrap the cork I popped when I called you
inside the receipt from the gas I bought

            to drive me to you, from a swamp to a vineyard
like a comet through every city park
like on a Sunday a thrown bottle
            at a wall after a sermon


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