New Willow Springs

The current issue of Willow Springs has two new poems by Joseph Millar, and their website (here's a link) is currently featuring both poems, as well as a statement by Joe about the originations and craft approach of each poem and a note on what he's reading. Here's one of the poems, and be sure you check out the Willow Springs website to read the other.


I’m writing this down with a pen from Rite Aid
which no one gave me and I did not steal,
my hand curved over itself
like the claw of a possum
following the late November light
into the woods where Tolstoy was buried.

Me and James Wright sit down by a red pine,
watching a wiry dog chase the crows
and hoping the rain will hold off.

We speak of the smell of certain saloons,
the bar lit gold by glasses of beer,
the dartboard and shuffleboard,
the mirrors and coats and the women’s dark hair.

We talk of the high school field’s cut grass,
the tough skin of the tackling dummy—
stopping every so often
to take a swallow of water and lime—
the fresh landscape of a woman’s back,
the Ohio River sucking its banks.

We talk of Li Po and Vallejo,
of telling the critics to stick the shield
of irony up their ass
and the three policemen
who appeared at Tolstoy’s funeral
whom the crowd forced to show
respect for the dead,
who took off their hats
and knelt down in the leaves.

Joseph Millar
from Willow Springs, Issue 66

Links to some of the other poems by Joseph Millar posted at Against Oblivion:

"At Bay Meadows with Robert Herrick" from Overtime
"Love Pirates" from Overtime
"Dark Harvest" from Overtime
"Feeding Tristam's Snake" from Fortune
"Fall Night" and "Caroling" from Fortune
"Lyrical" from Fortune