Selected Poems - 1998 - Tom Miller

poem about the fishes


oh the fishes

they are so swimming

and in schools are they


many colors and fins

swishing this way and fro

my oh my


how the fishes go

oh the fishes

they are swimming


with their big fish lips

and their lack of hips

we must love them


for swimming

and eating

and catching on a hook


all these things

are fishes good for

and what bad do they do?





The hot summer



The hot summer

has beaten me again


even the songs of

blue jays can not

cool the fire burning


inside my heart


and the phone is



but there is so

much to do


such as sweeping away

the dust


and sitting by the window

looking out on the day


bright sun screaming down

on grass and leaves and

love bugs are on the hunt again


in their green world

as I

in my gray room


try to make sense of things






the silent singers

of the yard


move easily with the

rhythm of wind


going with the flow

as the Chinese say


bending with forces

of nature


yet staying their course


I admire them

through the window



spirit into



to offer perhaps

some meaning

beyond their being


and I have seen flutes

made from bamboo


and have heard




for the perfection of

reaching nothing

being nowhere



a bamboo song

needs only sunshine


and water


it does not need



it does not need




Guide for becoming 1 with the universe




and foremost


don’t worry


let your troubles fall away



cool blue water



take a long deep breath


in through your nose

hold for 4


release for 8


breathe as if smoking

or smoke if possible


if you have debts

forget them


it is not necessary for you

to pay anybody back


true friends

do not loan

they give


simply say

thank you


and live your life


do not attach yourself to

anything you own for


you own nothing


the universe owns everything

everything is on loan to you


the universe is not your friend


love the universe anyway

there is nothing more to do



for a moment

she alights on a tree branch

and is gone too soon



the wind is quiet

the bamboo regard nothing

the wrens have vanished



the raindrops speak spring

summer noon winter nightfall

clouds erase the stars



man’s fear of darkness

time explodes and mountains fall

nothing more in shadow



fireflies’ glowing dance

coy move slowly through water

flower petals close



Everything alive with joy




must be going

to explode today


things are too much in order

the heat is not doing me in


the paddle fan

is a beautiful woman with a palm frauen

and I am eating dried apricots


writing poetry

as the cat snoozes close-by

and there is still


another clove cigarette

and a new bottle of



can it be

this poor spat-upon

tortured and broken-hearted poet


is fine?


of course

there is the thought

of danger


but I will embrace the good for now

and everything alive with joy

until the death


or the screaming

or whatever’s coming

down the road


with my name on it





it is not



I know the name

of white flowers


dancing in the breeze







clean page






the poem



The next feel-good

for Ron Reeb



how do you do it

I asked


escape from all the



He sipped his

decaf coffee

and said


look for the next



for example


when I leave

I’ll go to my truck


turn on the

air conditioning


and that will

feel good



I’ll turn on the stereo


listen to the



and that will

feel good



I’ll go home


maybe I’ll

sit down


and that will

feel good



he got up and

left me a fifty



I said


and what can I

do for you?



he said


just keep on being

tom miller


and for the first time

in weeks


I thought



There is hope

after all


I smoked a

shepherd’s hotel


and that

felt good


I wrote

this poem


and that

felt good


I read some



and that

felt good


so much joy

the money hardly mattered


there would be

the summer breeze


a walk down

red brick roads


a child in

a yellow daisy dress



and hot tea


one dark cloud

in the blue sky


or maybe even

a few minutes









the world is busy

look up her dress

when her back is turned



I am a pig

I am a worm

I am a diamond


all these things

in the mud

am I



false friends

you have all

abandoned me

when the money

was gone


for this

I am grateful



trees have leaves

people have needs



need you all


leave me alone



death comes

even as you

fix your hair

so someone will

stick their dick in you



people are brick

and mortar


buildings flesh


and still the rain comes



a dead sparrow


in the broken hearts

of children



if you take

the sunrise for granted


the sunrise

will take you for granted



love friends

who love you

despite your faults


love friends

who will sacrifice for you


sacrifice for them


love friends

who do not have to say


I love you


then shoot them


The poet always has a place to stay



the poet always has a place to stay


always has a drink

always has a meal

always has a poem


the poet always has a poem


always has a lover

always has a love end

always has another drink


the poet always has another drink


always has an idea

always has something to say

always has nothing to say


the poet always has nothing to say


always has another drink

always has another poem

always has another place to stay


the poet always has


a drink

a meal

a love

no love

another drink

an idea

something to say

nothing to say


the poet is invisible

the poet is forever

the poet is the bottom

the poet is the soul

the poet is a lion

the poet is lying

the poet is truth

the poet is an eagle

the poet is the devil

the poet is god


the poet always has a place to stay


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