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Clade Song 7


"Love, if you exist
Don't tell anyone."
                        James Galvin

Truth, if you exist
Keep it to yourself.

The sprawl overwhelms
And hinders passengers.

Sails are made to toss
Children—no longer to cross deserts.

Mere prayers notwithstanding—
Small survival fires in trashbins.

Wave or particle-collider, you still
Dust the stillness or perturbate.

I know you are waiting
For me to say (particular) something.

Standing there with a lantern
In endless paintings.

The flask in your coat the chagrin.
The man in your thoughts the poltroon.

In mid-pasquinade, the jokes
Walk to their mailboxes, into them.

Downslope and upwarp and haven
On rain-glisten in glass beacons.

There are no gunshots in hell;
There's just endless ammunition.

You try to death to make the ephemeral
Last. You may as well wear a slip of stars.

Any reference to snow will do here.
Any loss in a forest. Cataract sewn shut.

Knowing this world, these truths,
This exhaustion—dark water, deep quarry.

The poetry—frass from borage.
Tinsel luminescence—foxfires, loons.

Knowledge of what must be said.
Knowledge of what can be measured.

Slowly lowering the precious things
Into boxes lined with velvet.

The wind blows through the house
Like a harmonica. My frame beholden.

Much of this has been the whimper
Of a childlike god in a lingering dream.

This is laughter caught in amber.
This is anger swirled in marble.

This is your forecast blizzard.
This truth, a liquid nitrogen splinter.

No agony beheld or ash scattered.
Just those swaddled and betrothed.

I want to be newfangled.
My psalmody among citadels.

I was wrong about hell;
It's all targets but no ammo.

I was wrong about heaven:
It's all forgets with no closure.

I was right about reality.
It was a nailgun. It soared

At trestles, bridges, and coffins. It was
Best at quick puncture. Not distance.

To crackle-glaze after
Explosions glitter and coagulate.

Existence, if you are truth, or love,
please start acting like it


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Joe Milford Photo

Joseph Victor Milford is a Professor of English and a Georgia writer. His first collection of poems, Cracked Altimeter, was published by BlazeVox Press in 2010. 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. Joe Milford also edits the poetry journal RASPUTIN: A Poetry Thread. His second book, TATTERED SCROLLS AND POSTULATES, VOL 1, is being published by Backlash Press in 2017.