Mudlark Poster No. 11 (1998)

Errol Miller

Poem For The Lesser Ones
Some Movement That Will Be
On The Delta At Twilight
Some Ripened Fruit
The Yoknapatawpha Connection

“I work with about an ’87 model Franklin computer, Apple-compatible,” Errol Miller writes, “and I use a Bank Street Writer program for my work, which I understand is about like driving a Model T nowadays. I’m 58. I have a B.S. Degree in Social Science from Livingston University in Alabama and an M.A. Degree in Psychotherapy (which I’ve never used except on my wife) from Northeast Louisiana University here in Monroe. I’m semi-retired. I was with State Farm Insurance for 21 years.

“I’ve been writing & publishing since 1972, although I was ‘dormant’ from 1978 to 1986. I call myself ‘The Woolworth Poet Of America’—dusty, shopworn, on the shelf for a while. My work has appeared in lots of magazines since 1972.” Some of those magazines are: AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW, FOUR QUARTERS, CENTENNIAL REVIEW, KANSAS QUARTERLY, NEBRASKA REVIEW, CROSSCONNECT, PAINTED BRIDE QUARTERLY, LAUREL REVIEW, NEW ORLEANS REVIEW, GULF STREAM, OASIS, HALF TONES TO JUBILEE, ATLANTA REVIEW, LOUISIANA LITERATURE, GREENSBORO REVIEW, HIRAM POETRY REVIEW, RHINO, ANOTHER CHICAGO MAGAZINE, etc.

Poem For The Lesser Ones

Let us say a scarcity of meaning an
artificial creation & where are the tongues speaking
fire & brimstone wet with other voices a compelling
transition an unstable bridge two more bodies
discovered in the trenches

On the table an unread Book more opaque dull
poetry on the side another Bird-of-Paradise gone to Texas
& always that exaggerated flirtation with sadness
based on the epic blur of time the dots
& dashes all add up.

Consider the pull of gravity the glow of light as
fog gathers off the coast of Leucadia then heavier versions
of blue & grey the road forks there in that peculiar
madness altered for horizon still one
texture kneeling down

So this is the reference they have unstable
in some other androgynous place where Doomsday ice
descends such navigational misfortune an entire
future severed from being that rebelling
seemingly so unnecessary.

Some Movement That Will Be

Having a statistical ball wish you were
here at liberty clearly understood having nothing
else to do which takes you away from the full measure
of peripherical things a disposition internal conflict
it had begun to rain later a storm only a fraction

They came from Jersey City those terrible people
to better themselves so nice & clean the doctor smiled
& blew away the remaining germs some sort
of childhood curse oddly enough under
an old Northern moon

So beautiful all doped up seeing red to
fly towards another sunset from California textbooks an
idea you can’t forget those spidery young women from
Hollywood’s house dying of loneliness like
from their glance you can tell

Idealization to set “things” straight a
new position looking out upon a minor irritation
unpleasant really that is why we pretend to
be fulfilled pleased to say that
reason is imaginary.

On The Delta At Twilight

Delineation along the alluvial bottomland it
would suggest something wicked on Black Bayou a
river worthy of its salt brackish fingers
of sullen water bleaching skulls faded
natives in withdrawal

Some say the sky is falling most
of the music is within passed on by hand through
the blood that rises from a voodoo sickness long ago do
you prefer examples an August full of crocodiles
perhaps a drink or two

Accordion music maybe the struggle won’t
end well cauldrons of crawfish cold draft beer a
Blue Juanita Bar the heart of cotton country frantically
rowing on to market that constant zigzag route
of drunken men & women

A succession of fine lives lovely lovely stuff
constructed from dreamland fractures projective verse
far from the stale syllables of New Orleans where
logic is seldom chosen to juxtapose the practice
of configuration irrational boundaries.

Some Ripened Fruit

Gulf Coast simmering on horizon where
the story ends goodnight an empty space there
is no jukebox left so many conclusions thousands
of years here’s how it works the rear part
of the body up & about

Surely the crisp wind will blow again in
other medical news a parable of Elizabeth the heroine
from Paris stranded in Hemingway novels she is still
afraid of rain the hills ringing the city a
closed curve like Atlanta long ago

Words come & go the eyelids flicker an
arm a leg to Loveland within the limit of the dream
so sorry about the excessive summer produce a
disability now how fast the green plums
rot the arrow flies

Vulnerable symmetrically it thrills
the bones not happenstance older now a world
of form as language flows the garden fades
away the seed remains around for eons
no doubt protruding from the soil.

The Yoknapatawpha Connection

Those relatives hiding behind skirts when
you’re in Mississippi crazy-headed a kind of
personification personified by a place that trashy
heap of white trash seeking bootleg
whisky in their novels

Not just errant girls & boys with wooden legs
dancing at the Honky-Tonk they never made it up to Memphis
& no report thereafter on the boundaries of denial
from geography to topography perhaps they
went underground to Jefferson.

The rape of Southern sluts during the night as
Southside winds rendered Popeye impotent an unlikely
story the rich folks said an extraordinary event a
natural habit among blue-collar workers eatin’
catfish down at Taylor’s Grocery

So the novel is perverse accepting the defeat
of man on the road to town in summertime turns out
they were simply lost in darkness just one good
reason for their fever or sheer mischance
shaken by the whole experience.

Copyright © Mudlark 1998
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