S&R Poetry: Five poems from Samantha Milowsky

CATEGORY: LitJournalPoetryUntitled

Send a god symbol
through our daisy-chained heads—
fix the fireflies in our throats, drown
receivers for impending dreams, stammering
the dulcimer, name me kin, gentle
conquest of meat, torrents
of mania, polite chained cameos, unchained
epochs of light roused over and over,
come the shadows between the hours,
falling on the same backseats
that uncoiled make a trapeze of lust,
even the likes of Nashua and Nashville,
say anywhere, on some walls, the devil
is sketched in precarious balance
and isolation, avoiding bedsores,
taxes, deeds taken into account.

* * *


Pompeii narratives continue,
eddy around marble
gods in amphitheaters,
fossilized ash—

Like tulips unearthed
from private hells, we distance them,
how godlike we’ve become,
Prometheans who can’t call ourselves
what we are.

We meet along roads,
relay stories of brutal cultivars
planted by unrecorded peasants,
the relations you guess
by evidence of stature, cheekbones,
unrepentant shoulders.

I was speaking about today
where garlands of logos
collude in temples,
wreathe dusty feet
before torching the sea.

Such a big place, Earth:
flowers, carbon arc,
minor scales.

Middling disasters
circle our tiny heads

* * *

No Age Admitted

There is no age beyond pinochle
or comets beyond to make sky worth gazing.

Just cosmic echo,
a nebula we gulp,
fizz bright
before garbage flow.

Wet under eyes,
birthday knots tied red.

A token under juniper–
hair-thin legs folded in a bottle,
that much is worth killing
then cleaning.

A daughter,
lugging two gallons
of soda,

will do her dance
in a leotard
addled like a teenager.

Families of them,
to say a word then
stand clear of it.

To mime—

It’s not you,
just, all of you.

* * *

Body of War

The mountains demand
you abide by their coterie,
pick sides among
trembling and molten factions.

You see movement in the valleys,
smoke billowing from the seams,
voices that claim a right
losing their language.

As day darkens,
angry finches
fly down throats
and echo at dawn
from the hips of caves.

You should know
how stone is carved,
it is the first border
to protect.

The body is limestone,
terrible at resisting
what rain and trickle
of blood would leach from it.

Where broken
it feels a phantom hand.
In night sweats, speaks
spasmodically to ghosts.

Here is a gun
bending a voice.

Beyond haunting ricochet,
the timeline repeated
from a boy’s signature
to the first morning
of mud-slick boots and bruises
to parachuting from a warplane
like dandelion down
from a fissure breaking the sky.

Look at the sky at war:
just sisterly clouds,
swans floating across a lake
into the frowning peaks.

* * *

Persephone Takes a Lover

offspring of the constellations,
itching to beauty,
fountain to my pebbled feet
on cool powdery ground,
my body a reef
before your white stone,

I reach up to you
so tightly bound
I think I’m choking you,
who keeps us in a half-life
of caves and burning thickets.

Faint stars drift in currents,
grow brighter on instinct,
hell bent to ignite fire
that lives at the bottom of a lake.

Do you want potential futures
to spring from the lake?
the stars?
or the reflection between them?

Be quick, that cherub
has a gun. Disarm him
so he can flit from our sight
or we can do this blind
by taste and touch,
don peacock masks,
their frenzy
feathered in our hair.


Samantha Milowsky is the founder and managing editor of Amethyst Arsenic. Her poems and essays have appeared in 2River View, Lyre Lyre, Revolution House, Sundress/Stirring, VIDA Women Literary Arts – Her Kind, and White Whale Review. She lives in Somerville, MA and works as a software technology consultant.

The poetry of Mary Oliver and other fantasies

I’m late to the Mary Oliver party, I realize. Her first book of poems came out in 1963. By 1984, she was getting love from the Pulitzer committee. In 1992, the National Book Award committee gave her the nod. She’s won a slew of awards, and The New York Times has called her “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.”

I found her, just this autumn, because of some owls.

In my attempt to feed my head full of poetry this semester, I picked up one of Mary Oliver’s many volumes from the bookstore shelf because the title caught my eye: Owls and Other Fantasies. Just the idea that a writer would look at an owl as a fantasy held promise.

Continue reading

Is that a poet in your pocket, or…?

“You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket,” John Adams wrote to his son, John Quincy, in May of 1781.

Today, nearly 230 years later, plenty of people are packing poets in their pockets. It’s national “Poem In Your Pocket” Day.

First celebrated in 2003, “Poem In Your Pocket” Day is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. The basic premise, as you might guess, is for poetry lovers to carry their favorite poem in their pocket for the day. As opportunity presents itself, they can then share those poems with coworkers, friends, family members, and classmates.

Here’s mine: Continue reading

Nota Bene #106: [no title due to budget cuts]

“Working for a major studio can be like trying to have sex with a porcupine. It’s one prick against thousands.” Who said it? Continue reading