Volume III (Summer 2008)
ISSN 1934-4324

Barry Miller

Barry Miller is a thirty-five year old Scotsman by birth, now living in Boston, MA. After accepting his own disillusionment within the literature school at the University of Glasgow and returning to the United States, Barry re-married the woman he had divorced five years before and settled on the East Coast after several years in Los Angeles. Years of alcohol abuse, a self inflicted wound, now slowly scabbing over remains evident in almost every aspect of his work and for this, without want of melancholy, melodrama or desolation, no apologies can be made.


The Absent Emptiness


G oodbye’s tearful epidural

L ooms over my withered, weightless transition like

A n Absent Emptiness of almost sad repetition.

S ly, bold creatures, practiced in painful contractions

G reet loved ones and lost ones and prodigal bastard return sons

O n walk ways of maintenance free plastic.

W ithin an umbilical chord of terror proof safety, the

I nexplicably shoeless trot aimlessly toward this womb as I

N estle my solitude and wait the endless wait for the

T hought of being born to yet again disgust me.

E agerness and anticipation in the very walls that house us

R evert the eyes slowly to a moonlit, ash stain, carpet but still

N othing phases the water off of this duck’s back.

A nd the smell is frantic with a faithful familiarity

T hat recognizes the transient birth of my breed.

I have counted cracks in Mediterranean sun tan lotion

O ver Martinis with no one. I am familiar to the

N oiseless, silent, sexual deafening engines as they roar;

A nd the fragrance of the fire and fossil fuel that makes them soar

L oves me and leaves me more and more and more.

A bsent Emptiness envelopes me hangar like and grateful with

I mmunity to the bewilderment of the birthing canal.

R ain smeared steps drag my twitching placenta to asphalt gallows;

P eanuts in miniscule mounds of mockery await me, grinning

O ver extortionate cocktails with limited leg room.

R ow on row of screaming, suckling, hysterical infants invite me

T o take my seat, incubate, feed and leave…….Once again.


From Wilfred Owen to his Mother, France 1918


Fastened frosted muds battle with my being but will these tears mean anything if my resolution has come too late?

Will England’s Green shores ever sigh for me; for those slain here?

The smell of the dew is still sweet on my senseless tongue.

Nothing in this septic land could shave the zest from my skin.


When the gasp of my final breath resounds in silence,

I only hope that I sleep and slip away from the impossibility of understanding what has occurred here.

To fade into my torment and leave the things I love.

Can this be my only contentment when

The canvas I envisioned was so white, the page so blank, so vast?

I only ever pleaded for a chance to fill even the tiniest part.

I want for now only to be gone from here, Dear Mother…..

God, these tears burn my cheeks in this cold,

As if I have been moved into the sun, and I feel I am helpless.


If only my life were the sonnet form of this uncertainty;

My existence I could abolish with the half-rhyme of my knowledge.

For it is law that a sonnet of fifteen lines is no longer a sonnet.

Its very existence has been prolonged beyond definition.

A life form sonnet of thirteen lines has been cut too short,

Gunned down by fate before the indulgence of its own conclusion. France is now a pathetic source of melodramatic monologue.

Trapped without the hidden ear of soliloquy,

Within this surreal Garden of Courtly Love, I am alone.

I can no longer feel the brush of your angel wings as they breeze through No Mans Land, or anywhere on this lonely world-wide shore.

For they have been grabbed to the ground with an unassuming thud by the gravitational pull of bile and death.


And so it comes to this.

To never again hold a thing of beauty in my hand;

To press it gently against my anxious heart.

Is this what I’ve become?

Or to fight on and never speak a word of what has occurred here,

For Dante fell too short in revelation and I am no one to amend.

I have no place here or there and,

In limbo, I will probably die here Mother.

Here with nothing but the burning of my fragile heart to remind me. Earth’s sleep has broken.

Irrevocable, irreplaceable, irresponsible.

But nothing happens.