Other Poems by:

Joe Miller

Concrete Doesn't Burn

There's no reason for 
the wind to hide behind 
secret curtains and glass 
reflecting false images 
on a hollow wall. 
We're blasted by the unbiased truth. 

My hands look like my fathers
my legs feel like stone.
Weather hangs like smoke on a ceiling
over the window-framed garden.

Before the night turns in her poison
play a mortal melody, 
a swan song for the ages, 
a slow, driving blues
about a west-Texas highway
and the dimmest regions of hope.  

You said concrete doesn't burn, 
but I can smell the rain, so play
a mortal melody before my 
concrete face is washed away. 

Robert Allan's Mid-life Blues


I thought it'd be more dramatic. Although 
the closest I've ever been is a TV screen. 
But even funerals have a choir, 
or a bad Christian-rock band.
All I hear are sounds from the street. 

No, it's been more routine.
Like getting up to brush my teeth or 
out-running the sprinkler to my car. 
Fluoride and wet grass are more lenient, though.  

At least the smell of fall is sentimentally enhanced. 
The unwavering cry of cicadas reminds me 
of a ten-year old, future NFL star, but that's a
shell that crumbled on a dead leaf last spring. 

I swore I saw it on the window panes.
I dusted it off like a bad fall in a long dream.  
I forgot it this morning. 

My eyes will have to wait, if it'll ever happen anyway, 
until the leaves are blown from my street
and the days are long again.
Then I'll see if I'll ever break from my routine. 

One-handed Sol

Every evening as lamp posts start 
singing in minor keys 
and the sun starts gargling green-tea, 

my neighbor sits on his front porch 
alone, playing one-handed sol and 
smoking to classical music. 

He's an old, bald asian man; 
black socks and khaki shorts. 
He's never uttered a word to me. 

Sometimes I wonder if I should go 
talk to him, or set a deck of cards 
so that he'd win for once, but I don't. 

I think he's aware of the odds. 
I think he's aware of the solitude. 
And I think he prefers it that way. 
**Copyright 2008 Joe Miller, all rights reserved Send us your comments on this article
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