Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Host John Milkereit and Net Poets Society

                                                                        John Milkereit began writing poetry after taking a seminar on the poetry of Billy Collins in 2005 at his local church. His poems have appeared in Harbinger Asylum, Swirl, Poetry Revolt, the Texas Poetry Calendar and has been a juried poet at the Houston Poetry Fest the last three years. He also recorded several of his poems at Taping for the Blind. Pudding House Press published his chapbooks in 2010, and Paying Admissions was a Finalist-of Note in their 2009 chapbook competition. During the day, he is a rotating equipment specialist at a Houston engineering firm.

Come hear host John Milkereit, with poets Erica Lehrer, John E. Rice, Mona Follis, Dede Fox, and Adamarie Fuller at the Friendswood Public Library on Wednesday, April 4 at 7pm.

These nicknamed men,
                                   they aren’t looking for porcelain around Japan.
They aren’t looking for antique bronzes: just one-night jack stands.

They aren’t thinking about their seed on a kimono, or these broken
bits of concrete from the bombed factories.  Their Gucci boots
occupy the front door sleeker than my dogs.

But I was later proved wrong: Blue Bear outbid
the others for my danna.
                                   Cher doux ours bleu—
the truffle that preserved my sunflower oil.  He kept me from eating
charcoaled squid in graveled dirt.  He had tufts of hair
higher than the cliffs at Normandy beach.  He whisked me to his cave—
a farmhouse south of Provence.  We saw movies, Judy Garland,
and I swear he growled at the wicked witch and those flying monkeys.
Who would have thought a geisha could survive in France?
I wore black scarves around the village and caught fish
from the river and carried them to market in town.

Time for me is a jigsaw puzzle, now, years later, pieces scattered
upside down in an unlucky frame, the misfortune of Blue Bear’s
cancerous death is a crooked edge and now this moment,
       this dance back to Kyoto
is a piece of movement that doesn’t fit.
                                                          I’m addicted,
old Japan, to your spiderworts, your pickled sour plums,
                               your eyebrows of cooled paulownia twig,
               your drink of sake fantasy. 
I will nurture my little cub—mon petit ourson bleu—
in your land held by silver thread
                interwoven in a brocade of folded
                     rusts and golds.   

--- John Milkereit

Folk Song                                                                                              
The first note is almost struck.
A string could be picked at any moment.
You aren’t hungry yet.
Think of a guest entering the shadows
in the front room of your house.
This is the minute before midnight
when she turns seventeen.
The dynamite is fused in the coal mine.
The dragon is still asleep in the cave.
The lead singer introduces the piece
with words that tell us about the rise.
We could even have an Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
This is the inkling a war veteran
has to hammer a ring for his wife.
This is the train conductor saying All Aboard!
This is the prelude to your first kiss with her,
your first night with someone else. 
This is the section where the tracks turn green,
where lawn chairs outstretch,
when the lawyers draft your will.

The next part is the layer beneath the upper crust.
The coffee is stirred, the yokes burst on a plate.
Here the singer detours into a Paul Simon riff
or tells us how George Harrison autographed his guitar.
You begin to love a waitress with amnesia.
Photographs develop of you littering in the city dump.
Chris McCandless leaves for the wild.
This is the car driving towards the tornado.
This is the verse that puffs fire or explodes
and suddenly goes quiet.
The developers have re-named the place
after what they’ve torn apart.
The bridge spans thin air, but the oxygen bottles
are 3000 feet below.
This is sitting in the street for justice.
You’ve entered the witness-protection program in Anchorage.
So much of this song is quicksand, so much confusion—
snow in Austin, the break of a string, an appendix swells,
your friend does crack from a Coke can, the first gardenia
blooms, you leave Savannah on Christmas Day—

This is the last trimester.
The Jayco rental is almost over.
The pony is too small to ride.
This is the time to harvest corn,
dry ears in the bin.
The singer belts higher than what she sang before,
she goes down an octave or two, pleads the audience to sing.
Soap bubbles blow from the side stage.
Black sheep flock the front yard
careful not to nibble at the bodies of background vocalists.
Here is the last bit of change for the New Jersey Turnpike,
and your house echoes with haunting laughter.
The final strumming is the grave sounds we imagined.
This is what Arlo Guthrie lived for,
what rhythm we should feel like in the floorboards
before our heads are cut off.
This is the bell chime that begins a funeral
under the blood of stage lights.
This is a raccoon leaving a hollowed tree
outside a blanket of stars,
and above, or maybe inside the ribcages,
we hear the chords of each other’s angels.

---John Milkereit

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