In the Library at Poet’s House, NYC

This room, filled with chapbooks,
full-lengths, journals, analyses,
a million hours of concentrated work—
this room listens—
each tap, stroke, page turn.

The poets surrounding me do not.

He writes about lost opportunities,
she, damaged relationships,
this one, how the media filters and fragments him,
that one, daily grocery lists and candy wrappers.

I write of the here and now.

If I bang the keyboard,
they would startle—
might they then think of poetry’s roots,
a throat’s voice, sounded words,
hands moving for eyes and not paper,
how spoken volume interacts with pacing and rhythm?

How can you (yes, you) shout a rage-poem on stage,
yet casually write that same performance
as if pouring cream into coffee?

This is my offer.
Think about the unexpressed sounds in this room,
listening as the room itself does,
in exchange for this poem.

Apparently, and disappointingly,
with your casual acceptance of the ‘quiet’,
you have declined my offer.

No deal. Please put down the page.

————————————————-
(This poem was on a coffee table at Poet’s House)

Direction

My grandfather’s eldest brother, Sam,
a widower with three daughters,
had little understanding of girls.

The youngest was keeping company
with a boy for too long. My grandmother
asked them both to dinner.

During dessert, she asked his daughter,
So, you love him? You want to marry him?

Yes.

She asked the boyfriend,
So, you love her? You want to marry her?

Yes.

She picked up a calendar and placed it in front of them.
Pick a date.

— Published in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow #7 (2014)

Three Seventy

They boarded a midnight flight
without thinking beyond
the seatback movie,
the car service had better be there,
hope the hotel has my reservation
.

Others awoke at first light
expecting to see a text—
Riding to the office, will email later.

No one feels like a gambler
when sunrise is a sure thing.

There are no cards to play,
no dice to roll, no horses to bet,

only small choices— do I take 360 or 370,
ok, that one is a little more, but I save a night in a hotel
,
type your details, click ok, credit card please.

We look at a clock and never see
the little wheel behind the second hand,
double zero ending the game.

— Published in LIPS #42/43 (2015)

Dig

I dug a hole in the ground to bury my doubts
near thin yellow bushes that die after five years.

Standing over my open pit, I shout questions.
They settle. I hear no response and cover them.

My fears are ten feet away, interred last weekend,
where the weeds are dense, bramble with long silver thorns.

I start to stack my sorrows for next week’s labor
beside brittle vines choking the memory stone.

— Published in “Narrative Northeast″

http://www.narrativenortheast.com/?p=1279

Chocolate

We walked to Brooklyn Flea—
the ramps are in season.

You bought the local chocolate,
a balance of salt and pungent,
but I like the blue tin,
bitter with chili oil.

Tasting,
its like pressing
your fingernails
into your palm
as a nurse draws blood—

the bitterness flows quickly on top of the heat.

I’ll buy some for next month.
 

— Published in “Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow # 7” (September 2014)

2014 sneaks up on you

It’s been a while since my last post. Lots going on.

I have a new Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/wayne.miller.3532507

I co-manage social media for the Red Wheelbarrow poetry group in Rutherford – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets, http://redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com/, https://twitter.com/rwbpoets, http://www.youtube.com/rwbpoets

I’m taking poetry classes at the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center, and writing two poems a week – http://writerscenter.org/

I attend slams and open mics with the Suffern Poetry group – https://www.facebook.com/suffernpoetry

I’ve had a few poems published this year, and one short story (details on my Facebook timeline).

When I have a sufficient number of poems published, I want to create a chapbook and enter it into contests. I already have ideas for themes, designs, and photos.

I want to someday finish writing the short story that I keep picking up and putting down.

And, lastly, the Stone Soup Poetry video of my feature was eventually shown on cable in both Lowell and Cambridge. I have the video files and may do something with them.

Stone Soup Poetry reading

My last post was more than seven months ago. A lot has happened in my writing life since then, including publications, classes, workshops, slam judging, open mics, writing (of course), and twice standing on a street during a festival for three hours with other poets, surrounded by chalk sidewalk drawings and poems, reading poetry to interested passersbys.

I’m on the road now, so this will be a short update, but I’m planning a longer post once I get home.

On July 29th, I was the featured poet at Stone Soup Poetry in Cambridge, MA. I’ll write more about them later, but I had a great time and I was honored to become a part of their very long history.

I read several poems previously posted on this blog, as well as some new work. Most of the time, though, I was in the audience, enjoying a very wide variety of talent.

Each Monday evening’s session is taped, edited, and shown on two different local cable networks, each also simultaneously available on the web. The July 29th session was shown last night (8/21), and should be should be on again Friday 8/23 at 10pm on the Lowell, MA cable network, channel 8 – http://ltc.org/content/ltc-8. It will also hopefully be shown on the Cambridge, MA cable network on the same night (8/23) at 11:59pm, channel 8 – http://www.cctvcambridge.org/.

I say ‘should’ and ‘hopefully’ because the 7/29 session was supposed to be shown two weeks ago but was preempted, and last week’s show was from the 8/5 session.

More later…

Under The Rock

Rock_2

There is nothing under the rock
Empty

Just some dust

Synthesized in a supernova crushing a cloud of gas into a new star
Five billion years ago

Fossilized shell remnants from a nautilus
Five hundred million years ago

Flakes cleaved off of a boulder when a pebble hit it during a hurricane
Fifty million years ago

Gastroliths from a crocodile eating nearby
Five million years ago

Colored pebbles gathered by a bowerbird displaying for a mate
Five hundred thousand years ago

Hills ground down from the ice covering the continent
Fifty thousand years ago

Grime dropped from a shoe of a man hunting antelope
Five thousand years ago

Ashes from a fire the wounded men danced around
Five hundred years ago

Coal from a steam train passing nearby
Fifty years ago

Construction debris from building new condominiums
Five years ago

Carpet sweepings from an unhappy home
Five months ago

Smoke from birthday candles for a one hundred year old woman
Five days ago

Sand placed by ants excavating their nest underneath
Five seconds ago

Just look

See

Nothing there

Empty

Just some dust
Under the rock

  

  
(Under The Rock has been accepted by Turtle Island Quarterly for publication)

Wrap Her Voice

Rolled blanket

Up on the stage, she slowly waves her hands over her head
Her ethereal song lifting all those around her
Singing as an angel
An ancient spirit is upon her

Afterwards, the techs wrap her voice
In a large blanket rolled around and around
To tightly fit roadie case #15
For transport to the next venue

Unpacked fifteen minutes before climbing onto the arena stage
She tests her voice and prepares for her call

He said that they should not silence her melody
Her sound should flow as freely as the wind
So she can answer the birds outside
And sing to her children

He begged her to think about her sacrifices
He reminded her that her voice is owned by her and not by her manager

She glanced at him, and he knew, more than if she spoke a thousand words
Her dream and her destiny

On the stage, she looks at him standing in the front row as she sings of love
He looks back, mouthing his response
And she slowly smiles, as a woman, as an angel, as a star

Pastry café

cafe_food_3

Saturday morning
Round white tables
Comfortable seats
Near the window
Almond croissant and coffee
Talk about our day
Touch your hand
College students at the next table
Local couple behind us
Pastry chef kneading dough
Counter workers filling orders
Take home a sandwich for lunch
Biscotti for tonight
Elephant ears for the kids
Fruit tarts for tomorrow’s dinner
Napoleon for the car
Cookies for whenever
Macarons for the holidays
All the colors
Stop by the farmer’s market
Then the library
Saturday afternoon
And be with you in the evening