Joe Milford



i have been hammered like a precious metal used for battle. my crude utilitarian shapes.
i have drank much marnuwan. i am bleeding verger. the battle was supposed to be mock. i died.
Jesse James was a Virgo. that explains a lot. Yeats was a Gemini like me. that explains a lot.
when i was young i would put Elmer’s glue all over my hands just to peel it off. now sunburns.
orthostats of monstrous genii carved into stone as i place my kilt strategically over my hard-on.
honeybee colonies do not cotton to a migrant lifestyle. they are communists. nectar-suckers.
as a child i had a weiner-dog named Moondog. this came from watching Star Wars. ran away.
shrimps’ molts tied to lunar cycles. the new moon gives them dark place, graver water, to thrive.
the science of mold and how to feed a goat to get a certain fatty consistency to curd your life.
apple cider vinegar plus. nutrient rich enzymes. i can gain soft, radiant skin. or i could age sour.


i was spurned there which is more street-cred than burned and then i sojourned with my gats.
i have had the beartrap snapped on me so many times that i have become a mouse or wolfen.
moon like a diseased grapefruit and you snoring by the hot spring naked—bad omens, portents.
during most days, a crow on the barbed wire fencepost is not an omen of anything, not usually.
the saddest lives were never mine nor were the happiest ones but i enjoyed my cautious dives.
a few times in my life were air-mattress times or Ramen noodle times or both. those were good.
the plastic pool outside full of water got struck by lightning and die-cast toys became diamonds.
cans of coconut milk and curry—sea salt—herb garden sunspot-scorched—we clean the last fish.
sleep Dino, sleep. words are always endangered like a tall brontosaurus who is bulimic. hovers.
an asteroid, like a pear falls, into a grove where we are starving; the buzz of it is pornographic.


with my mouth full of feathers i realize i can’t write myths for farmers. i need shovel-quills.
zippered portraits floodtide—western ballad with your shingles—i lost my driver’s lozenge.
i like ranting. i like manta rays. Manta-esque. sting rays. things that glide. great angels flawed.
a caterpillar creature told me i had a pharmacy to suck up to. i cut that worm in million pieces.
that time of day when the fray is initially over—when you pause, are okay with it. it, its teeth.
i load prayers into slingshots, strapolate them propulsed through soft prey—tearing canvas.
i want orange eyes like the embers of your first campfire when you thought nothing but flame.
the words like corkscrews stuck into the corners of my mouth and i was heavy metal poisoning.
why make me the wolf only to let me age the marmet. amphibious. no trekker of snow deserts.
when i call you raucous you break the lyre and when i call you a liar you rake the haggard yard.


cookies. credit cards. cookies. credit cards. the dark ages. cookies. credit cards. the dark ages.
i have the glacier cellphone ap. i will deploy upon you. my three-year-old just threw up. i’ll call.
parchment is what i was wrapped in and it was also my burial shroud so libraries resurrect me.
your storm in me beginning creating dark seasons to come. damn you Donald Trump Star Trek.
winspan in my chest cavity. that’s a coma stroke embolism aperture. wingspan in my chest cave.
blogs guns and gaga. i will never chop down my tree but my roots are in your fucking mouth.
i am cannibal at flesh carnival. puff pastry roadkill. powdered sugar on my lips. turkey-legs.
the idiot comes in like a tycoon. he finds the penny on heads, and he’s happy. smokes his shit.
then he unleashes his tie. relaxes. he always sleeps with his eyes open. he orders beer for all.
and he can’t pay. and it’s Christmas. he has to walk at least twenty miles. it’s love; understand?


the maw spit vampiral exodus. i was in awe at the gore. destroyed universe. nebulae. thermals.
unlucky conquistadors and concubines unluckier. Apalachee ambush of Black Fridays. holidays.
drinking artillery punch on the isthmus. a throng of admirers sucking syrup from ancient trees.
Thor and Achilles were both crossdressers. so was Sir Edmund. i like thriftshops for dresses, LPs.
no warship wind today, my traitors. no push toward GoldWhoreAldo. just doldrums and sores.
mawspit. chawspit. bowsprit. peachpit. her tits. in the shit. scurvy fits. token misfits. false grit.
egalitarian culprits with diamond-studded brass-knuckles. no nutrition for Cerberus in this hell.
like when he hits that pedal with his foot to make it crunch. God’s gonna play his Fender louder.
with pilgrim’s plight i flee a bedroom to the shower with your bipolar ass screaming dark hexes.
sachem. wigwam. moccasin. scalping. geese flying over bloodsoaked cherry trees bloompulsing.


in my sloop in the shallows. longboats slip by with hooded shankers. i see those hillbillies good.
there’s no regiment here. always jerkey at the quiktrips. always crystalmeth at thanksgivings.
i feel i am always in musket range of some sharpshooter and this is not paranoid is my red tattoo.
for years i thought that the Vatican was something held the porch up. then i met that plaid skirt.
guerilla squirmish for the last of the scrambled eggs. i bastion with the bacon. stop laughing you.
if i am a sawed-off then you are a derringer and if i am a colt then you are a howitzer. ok? now?
we made crop circles with our Harleys. blaspheming American barley. crashing into churches.
sinister entrepot of the subconscious. Dybbuk box of subconscious. Minotaur-maze of energies.
the Mohegans had made allies with our enemies. they are excellent scouts. remain cautious.
under a hissing snowstorm the golden lab puppies were born with tin roof rattling a racket.


enjoying reading forgeries—Necronomicon, Oera Linda, documents of Constantinople. frauds.
you thought pine needle beds romantic. made adultery there. came home covered in deerticks.
copperheads and water moccasins tattooed all over your back writhing under my hard hands.
Santa Anna was a Scottish Rite Freemason. many times was his life spared with distress sign.
every night is Samhain here. Sage burning. Eye of Horus. spirits walk in and swirl in coffee.
maybe you under-estimate a pair of brass knuckles and the need to get this whiskey homebound.
there are many folk devils and moral panics here. none sufficient enough to make crackers vote.
Wand. Cup. Dagger. Coin. Wheel. Axle. Altar. Staff. Spiral. Windfall. Tempest. Artifact. Chant.
Lemurians. Atlanteans. Alabamians, you laugh. how could any of us be from a more lost land?
they categorized my blood as Appalachian. i wasn’t proud of this for years. now i’m changing.


Muddy Waters John Lee Hooker Buddy Guy Howlin Wolf ride the Mississippi up get to Chicago.
American ships stocked with cranberries to fight scurvy. Vodka is the Russian word for water.
the Spartans made their coinage too large and heavy for the citizens to effectively steal. good.
ablutions. four showers a day. sulphuric amalgamations. nothing can be stripped from flesh.
New York hurt my liver. Nashville hurt my heart. New Orleans hurt my soul. Atlanta does rot.
you must even have protection against songstress snakes in the underworld. learn your spells.
i’m a man of no means by every deed and am kingfisher of the brood. hobo-cults gathering.
in my dreams i fly over Georgia landscapes with helicopter POV. is this TV residue or astral?
Palace Brothers Will Oldham Bonnie Prince Billy The Pretender The Wolf Brother. campfires.
clarion calls tonight. lady of the water’s arm extends from West Point Lake holding a fiddle bow.


the narrative not too painful but too mundane to be encyclopedic. here be ragtag esoterica.
the jagermeister must place the evergreen sprig in the dead buck’s mouth to complete the kill.
to kill the albino buck will bring generations of curse upon your bloodline. now i sure know it.
bushmen chase the deer to death—Kalahari runners—we have beer bellies and rifles. arrows.
i have been lying to you for 705 lines now or have i? there’s a creek in Sewanee that if you follow
a deer over it into the thicket you will become a deer yourself. our parents sent us to the far bank
to collect pocketknives, compasses, rifles, maps, wallets, deermusk & sunglasses dropped there.
we need more good gris-gris here. the Devil is vain; hang mirrors where you want to slow him.
do not follow the fifolet into the marsh. the treasure will be there in the morning. patience you.
don’t count the fish while you are catching them or you’ll catch no more that day. the narrative.

Joseph Victor Milford is a Professor of English and a Georgia writer who is currently working on his EdD doctoral studies. 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 and he is co-founder and poetry editor of BACKLASH PRESS.
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