All posts by Christopher L Miller

Daily Fortune

Monday’s child watches football at night

Tuesday’s child eats tacos done right

Wednesday’s child has Pugsly for an uncle

Thursday’s child is thirsty for trouble

Fridays child likes to party and dance

Saturday’s child wants to give peace a chance

As for the child that is born on a Sunday

They won’t be delivered ’til two o’clock Monday

Southbound

Spring, spring.

Like fools we do sing?

Like Dionysus Zagreus,[i]

from the heart do we sing?

Nay, that four-chambered war drum

is too dark to let sing.

A heart like Persephone’s

six months before spring.[ii]

“The horror, the horror,”[iii]

the forlornness in spring.

The despair of Theseus

amidst a labyrinth of string[iv]

while the minotaur keeps charging,

charging…

its smart phone,

of all things.[v]


[i] Mark Morford and Robert J. Lenardon. Classical Mythology. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), 223-224. Hera, out of jealousy, convinces the Titans to devour the child born to Zeus and Persephone, and save the heart which is secretly returned. Zeus swallows this heart and Dionysus is reborn. Zeus then hurls a lightning bolt at the Titans, turning them to ash. Humans are said to have originated from this evil ash.

[ii] Ovid, Metamorphoses, translated by Mary M. Innes, (London, England: Penguin Group, 1955), 127-131. Persephone (Proserpine) is condemned to spend 6 months of the year, starting in Autumn, in the underworld with Hades. Logically, Persephone’s heart would be the saddest/darkest once autumn arrives, 6 months before spring.

[iii] Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness. (Kindle Edition, 2012). Kurtz utters this as his last earthly phrase which is rumored to represent Kurtz’s acquired disdain for and perceived meaninglessness of life. The utterance may also be viewed as a condemnation of the pure evil that lurks within the hearts of humanity.

[iv] Ovid, “The Cretan Labyrinth,” Metamorphoses. 183. Theseus uses a spool of string to mark the way to the labyrinth’s exit. Consider the frustration and confusion one might feel when trying to find the way out of a maze in which one’s line to the outside world blends together with the walls of the maze. Such a situation might leave one to feel unable to ‘pull the right strings’ – a trope that refers to being able to exert one’s influence for a beneficial gain – and make an exit.

[v] Albert Camus. The Myth of Sisyphus and other essays. Translated by Justin O’Brian. (New York, NY: Vintage Int’l, 1991), 157. Camus begins his essay “The Minotaur”: “There are no more deserts. There are no more islands. Yet there is a need for them…in order to serve [folks] better, one has to hold them at a distance for a time.” Smartphones, social media, and instant news access have given humanity the ability to, seemingly, hold one another at bay. Will this result in the betterment of humanity or an increase in social isolation and depression?

First in Flight

Kardi zipped out the door while humming a tune
her antennae picked up from the local airwaves.
Good vibrations, it seems, was this station’s theme.
The announcer’s voice, smooth royal jelly.

She’d spent last night inside that snug, crowded hive
working her last shift at Queen’s Pollen Packing.
Often, she’d nap after filling her cells,
but this time, rest gave way to excitement.

Kardi tried catching z’s, tried numbering sheep,
but those sheep that came didn’t hop fences.
Instead, they wore bee suits, cute headband antennas,
kept sleep at bay with sheep-wiggle-bee-waggle-dances.

She’d been fast-tracked from packing to foraging flowers
without having to stand hive entrance guard duty.
Today, oh, today! She’d get to sip fresh nectar,
stuff her new leg-mounted pollen baskets.

Thought with elation she’d burst
if she wasn’t first to lift off from the beehive hangar.
While the other girls dozed, Kardi skedaddled
from her six-sided room to the staging area.

All systems were go once the sun’s melted gold
poured over the flower-dotted hillside.
With her audio tuned to Beach Boys on KBUZZ,
out Kardi zoomed before her sisters.

– Christopher Miller

Soup Curling

“The Sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send soup back at a deli” – George Costanza in “The Marine Biologist” episode of Seinfeld.

While George may not be the most insightful guy in the world, he does wax eloquent on occasion. Just look at the depth of this statement.

On first listen (or read through), George’s statement reels Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea from the mind’s ocean. Perhaps this is no mistake given that George’s line comes from a story that he tells his friends – the story of how George pulled a golf ball from a whale’s blow hole.

Though, it is worth mentioning that rather than trying to land a marlin, George is lured into rescuing a beached whale because he has lied about being a marine biologist.

A second pass through this line ties the angry sea to the bowl of soup. Imagine the choppy, white-capped waves bumping into one another, stirring up foam as they stagger to the shore.

Now place that hectic scene into a red-lipped porcelain bowl situated on a chipped saucer resting on a faded, mustard-yellow counter-top. Add a wrinkled, liver spotted hand in a sweeping collision course arc that sends saucer, bowl, and soup flying across the counter, and you’ve got one hell of a scene condensed into a single statement.

Throw in a dash of Andy Warhol, and the result might be a blottered psychedelic stew. But, perhaps, that is beyond the scope of George’s statement.

– Christopher Miller

Get your Goat: What’s for Lunch?

Billy: This homework tastes really good. Where’d you get it?


Bubby: Bessie says she got it from mu.


Billy: All Bessie ever says is “mu.”


Bubby: She never claimed to be more than the average cow.


Billy: Why do I eat lunch with you every day?


Bubby: Because you don’t deviate from the norm.


Billy: Ok, no more math homework for you.


Bubby: Kiss my asymptote.


Billy: I’m approaching my threshold.


Bubby: Yeah, but by my calculations, you’ll never reach it.

– Christopher Miller

Allure

Sunday afternoon in the garden
I am graced by your presence
a dozen paces before me.

Your hips are a metronome,
sin in their sway.
Hypnotic. Left, right, left, right.

Orange tiger lilies
watch in envy. Your approach
intended just for me.

Floral patterned, sheer
pastel yellow sundress
hem flutters about your knees.

Polished pink toes,
faux leather sandals.
Footfalls pace my heartbeat.

Beneath dogwood branches,
I am planted, watching you.
My dear, you are hypnotic. Left, right, left right.

Black hair mingles
with gentle fingers of the breeze.
Sunlight is your halo.

Smokey saucers of mocha
beam through clear lenses
and twinkle with a grin.

Butterfly wings tickle
my insides. Breath pauses
in my throat.

Rubenesque curves
strum nature’s melody-
a lust-filled bassline

that brings me to life.
Anticipating your touch,
my temperature spikes.

Wind-swept ember,
you glide into my arms.
We spark. We kindle.

We kiss.
Toe tip to toe tip,
enveloped, both burning.

Collapsed in the grass,
flames lick our skin,
searing green blades beneath us.

– Christopher Miller

Train of thought

At dusk, I open the door, step outside, down the brick steps
To my right, just above the muggy tree-lined horizon,
a waxing crescent moon dipped in crimson hangs
in the evening October sky, soaks up the last rays of natural light
A flickering neon sign of a lone star forces itself into existence

In the distance, a rider winds back on the throttle
A motorcycle engine responds with a throaty gurgle,
bounces sharp crackles off home fronts, propels its rider up the two-lane highway
I dig the lighter out of my front pocket, thumb the flint wheel, and light up a smoke–
a dirty habit that I should probably quit

But quitters never win, I think to myself as the headlight of the growling cyclopean machine illuminates the northern side of our warped mailbox
Angry pistons rock back and forth, expel snarls and snorts, pierce the silence
As the two-wheeled beast careens past our driveway, a tune, faint at first, oscillates toward me

“Hey… ye…eh…”
grows more distinct
“I said hey! What’s going on?”
I take another drag, exhale. Piston beats dance against my skin
“And I try, oh my god do I try”
A steam engine rumbles, disrupts my thoughts, knocks the Fourth Volume of Musical Knowledge from my mental library shelf
“I try all the time, in this institution”
I dig through its overturned contents, look for the chords that tie the song to its artist
“And I pray, oh my god do I pray”
Rock, 90s Alternative
“I pray every single day”
Bands with numbers in their name
“For a revolution”

The taillight spills its faint auburn glow over the white and yellow-lined pavement to be consumed by the stillness
I extinguish my cigarette, turn, climb the steps
4 Non Blondes continues to sing along the country stretch of 421 South
where pine trees and cotton fields wait their turn to listen

– Christopher Miller