Henry Valentine Miller

Because his middle name was Valentine, a V-Day tribute poem to that “boy from Brooklyn,” Mr. Henry Valentine Miller,  from my book Arclight.
Some men rattle their chains and wonder, some sing them.
Then there are others who spray paint their chains rainbow siege
and dance a jig like a peacock on fire, and when someone asks
Isn’t it hard to dance around with those chains weighing you down,
the man laughs heartily and responds—What chains, my dear lad,
these are feathers. Listen to the way they jangle and clink when I dance,
have you ever heard feathers that sound like that? Miraculous and unusual, yes?
You, Henry Miller, were one of those men.
You turned wrought-iron links, Brooklyn-made, into loafer’s foam,
into dreamfaring plumage, unabashed in its frisson and vainglory,
smeared bottom’s up in in deep semen envy, angel’s spit, and stolen honey.
Vagabondage was your claim, but not your master.
Though you did have many teachers—bilious clowns, crowded streets,
torn trousers, children’s capered faces, gateless barbarians,
your mother’s frigid ruler (and how you learned the only thing
worth measuring was love, that which belonged to the immeasurable).
A lusty little scamp at heart, eyes unpopping buttons
and sailing seas of skirts in parks, you were literature’s answer to Charlie Chaplin,
with an unzipped mouth and cracked tower of seismic songs to yawp,
the world needed a Henry Miller, because you said so,
and in cement that remained eternally wet, you signed your name
and sang, Whitmanesque, of yourself, again and again and again,
an explodingly insistent echo,
and the sincerest of forgeries,
because, for those dwelling between lines,
a signature verifying an identity—
I am he, he is me, he is he, I am I, etc.,
never does true justice
to the multitudinous at work
in the playing of one’s self as instrument
upon which God’s deep welling nothingness
meets and mates with one’s youthingness,
and from there, bang.
Just bang and wow and let’s make radical inscrutable love,
music, art, whatever.
You, “Henry Miller,” wink-wink,
gave us your pulsing timepiece of whatever,
and you, Henry Miller, as my Brooklyn soul-chum and compatriot,
separated by age but not spirit,
granted me amnesty
and helped me to unlock my own
bang, wow, and whatever
resounding yes
whatever
yes
yes.

henry miller

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Sylvia

Today, February 11, marks the death-date of the brilliant poet, Sylvia Plath. A tribute piece, from my collection Arclight.
To be a mother, and to double as a dark sorceress, a cleaver of dried bones, could not have been easy. Especially in the 1950s. They burned witches then, as well as reds and blacks and faggots, and other things that didn’t fit the paradigmatic slant. It was a time of burning, though televisions were new, and lawns were green and sprinklered, and men chewed cud while shaving their second faces. Also, they burned witches way back when, and now too, it seems witch-hunts belong to some fraternal order of treason, some moose club with crooked antlers, who knows.
You wrote poems. No, you fevered them. Red-hot blues, peppered shards of black. You held bits of the moon hostage, or she you. You mooned for the world, a she-wolf’s strip-tease, straight to the bone, and also, also there was your death’s head vaudeville act, juggling scythes, gargling ram’s blood and spitting it back out as flames that burned skyward, charring the fluffed bellies of clouds.
Alchemy, vaudeville, burlesque, spells brightening hollowed veins and inflaming corpuscles, spells animating petrified, rotting limbs, Lady Lazarus with a sideways grin, you did it all, Miss Plath, and still had time to make dinner. Still took care of the kids. Doing all these things while crossing the River Styx on a paper boat must not have been easy. But the poems, papered heartbeats, glistening with sap and resin, as if torn directly from dream-womb, and left behind for us to ponder, digest, fill our bathtubs with and swim in.
Your silver, vagabond, winter-kissed drops, pressed between the margins of an unyielding sea, will not be forgotten, for the moon holds the tides accountable for all its parceled beauty.

sylvia I

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Arclight now available

Arclight has officially been released. Available in print and digital editions.

Arclight I

John Biscello is not simply a novelist and poet, but an alchemist of verses. In Arclight, Biscello captains a voyage that transcends the physical world with graceful introspection, and philosophical wonder. His reflective nature invites us to ponder our own life experiences and ideals. Arclight is a true tribute to the human heart. “I always saw the humanity behind his thick-lidded eyes, the small child, begging for a banquet of golden crumbs to appease the motherache churning in his heart and stomach. A thousand lions pitted against a studded chain smoking beer gutted gladiator, I saw that too, he, the lions, the gladiator, the arena, the smoke and booze, all of it…” from, I See Myself
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Review Copies of Arclight

Dear Citizens of the Blogverse:
My debut poetry collection, Arclight, will be released in mid-February by Indie Blu(e) Publishing.
I am offering a limited number of advance digital copies to readers who may be interested in reviewing the book (on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, etc.).
For a digital ARC, message me with your info.
Thanks, cheers & blessings, y’all!
Sample poem from Arclight:
Immigration Laws
We are immigrants in our own skin,
flash-fire refugees
who get by with falsified papers,
fake IDs, and forged signatures.
If caught
and found guilty
of a trespass
or transgression,
we pardon ourselves
in our native tongues,
language a placeholder
for the names
we were forced
to annul.

Arclight I

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Claim for the Meek

Poem from Arclight. Coming this February from Indie Blu(e) Publishing.
I do not want to see
the face of God.
I want to see her mask,
where
and for whom it cracked,
the causal history of lines and fissures,
want to trace,
with blind mute innocence,
the light quartered and drawn
in Braille, its grooves holding,
without strain or regret,
Mercy’s hidden inheritance.

Arclight I

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Arclight

Cover reveal for my debut poetry collection, Arclight. Coming this February by Indie Blu(e) Publishing.

Arclight cover

 

 

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The Natashas

natasha
Review of Yelena Moskovich’s debut novel The Natashas.
“You enter a dark, deserted warehouse on the waterfront. One that smells of cats and kerosene, and whose walls are covered with dusty calendars from bygone eras. Or perhaps you find yourself in the balmy catacombs of an arterial sanctuary. Or, fill-in-the-blank, and create a setting that corresponds with your own resonant sense of dislocation, the flickering rose-light of omen and mystery. Simply, you are there, delegate to enigma, compelled to explore, to scratch an existential itch, which began with a crumb floating in a pool of cirrus: ‘In the boxshaped windowless room, all the girls are named Natasha.’ A simple description and declaration, what could be the textual fade-in to a Samuel Beckett cryptogram, and it is this cinematic ‘teaser’ which has drawn your inner-Philip Marlowe into a Maya Deren filmscape where a sign warns: The dream you are dreaming may not be your own. Welcome to the lucidly baffling world of Yelena Moskovich.”
Read the full review in Riot Material.
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Why I Love the Moon

You, Moon,
told me a secret
when I was a child–
Make wonder
your compass,
your true north,
abide by its magnetic tow,
and you will never get lost,
not truly,
and your soul will make
for warm, favored company.
Moonlight, a Study at Millbank exhibited 1797 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
(Artwork by James MacNeill Whistler)
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In the Company of Words

At times,
the savvy and elaborate architecture
of words,
the stunning and complex
tapestry of language,
its magisterial tunings
to sound,
is, in its beggared haunt
and infancy,
rooted in the unscabbed
core
of a pinking utterance,
a single quiver
airing innocence
to burn–
Ow.
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In Absentia

We are mostly
made from absence,
a light-stitched band
of particles,
aspiring, in concert,
to harmonize daring
feats of love,
or how we dream, in fits,
aligning our nodes
to perish.
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