Monday, June 13, 2011

Joe Milford: Three Poems

time to rob a city of its lights

what I have always wanted to steal from you is your oblivion, fair city.
authentic city, you are my chaos of restaurants.  I slaketh you to lie down
in red and green traffic lights.  you are the Golgotha of my compression
and coercion of immersion ethnic brothels huddled-up in elevators with cudgels
and I guess that the best invention was glass until the window-washer came
but I would like to parachute through your illegal airspace tonight
for you have drugged me into driving to the edges of everything for drugs
and this final epochpolis of wondrous apocalypse written on every face of grit
and on every vendor’s shirt and every marquis as your diaspora of lights
crashes up into its spread womb of a sky and I see the last lamp shoot up
into her universe seconds before my own impact with stealing the wrong light

my theory on going to bars

take twenty dollars worth of quarters
go to a place with at least two payphones
and one jukebox

you go in weighed down and loud
wear pants twice your size, at least
don’t adjust your belt and drink a pitcher

of Newcastle, you won’t have many quarters
left, but, on the jukebox play the Pretenders,
Social Distortion, the Clash, and get rid
of your twenty dollar lodestone

it is a dollar for a game of pool
or for a bowl of popcorn and you make two
calls you shouldn’t have and then
you are weaseled, bamboozled, or muscled out

then you slink home lithely, weightlessly
under the buzzing of an Iowa sky, steeples,
the skyline, the street guitarists, the closed
and locked-down bratwurst carts, and the train

is crossing the road two blocks
from your front door
as you watch it roar
and roar inside

juggler’s wish

                        I can hold all
                        of my desires in
                        one hand, and
                                    when it comes to this
                                    I am the juggler’s wish.

                        There are two bubbles
                        there, cast inside
                        the marble, or two lovers
                                    captured forever
                                    in exquisite oil paints.
                        I want to know
                        the Rosetta stone
                        in the center of every bone.
                        The lore of every pore.
                                    Your maddening core.
                                    I bind myself to you.

                        With Rimbaud’s ribbons
                        and screaming gibbons
                        with lightning and squalls
                                    I will hold onto
                                    The sinking anchor you.

                        Fold me away
                        keep me in your dry reply
                        lie me down in the crease
                                    between two pages
                                    where your perfect poem is.

                        Place me
                        in the hope-chest
                        the top drawer
                                    I will stay wrapped in
                                    your blue negligee’ skin.

                        Harlequin end this ceaseless
                        juggling.  I am no hooligan;
                        you are not a nunnery begotten.
                                    We should settle-up.
                                    A slut deserves a slut.

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