Head Space I still know my childhood best friend's telephone number even though I'll never dial it again. I've taught certain poems so many times I can recite them on demand, yet some claim that has no practical application. Most find my ability to name the American presidents by years in office amusing before urging me to remember “something important” (like last night's winning Powerball numbers?). I embrace my savant-esque ability to rattle off every Bob Dylan album and the songs featured on them. I prefer not to cram my head with empty crap on the radio and celebrity gossip, thank you very much. Want something proofread, I'm the resident grammarian, but if it's scores to last night's game, I suggest turning on ESPN. I've actually read the whole Constitution, not cherry-picked excerpts. Ditto the Declaration of Independence, the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights, the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita. Although not identifying as Buddhist anymore, I still adhere to the Noble Truths while traveling the Eightfold Path. Now that you know where I'm coming from I trust you'll understand when I forget where I've left the car keys or what you needed me to pick up from the grocery store on my way home. There's only so much RAM to go around. The Bottom of My Heart Please trust only what comes from the bottom of my heart. Believe me, not even I listen to the other parts. The top, for example, is known for cupidity, so it's prone to utter just about anything. The middle is nice but fickle; it has a hard time accepting the middle. The sides are always picking fights like fraternal twins at dinner. One's conservative, the other liberal. This leaves the bottom, dark and deep. You'll have no problems falling asleep knowing what it says is what it believes, and when wounded, actually bleeds. So don't pack your bags until you hear all sides. Then if you choose to leave, fine. Real gods require blood (golden shovel form based on an excerpt from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston) Please don't give me it all. Half is enough for me. Reserve the rest for the gods, for that is where the worshippers are. Here are only the idle worshipped who don't understand the mess they're in. Sitting around with old wine in new bottles, a buffet, and a bouquet of flowers doesn't get us any closer to real spiritual fulfillment. The gods I need, what I really require, are unattainable without blood. Past Lives --for Lydia Your eyes remind me of a goddess I used to worship eons ago, when my family paid the Pharaoh for permission to pray. Your hair takes me back to a mountain in Outer Mongolia, where in another life I used to weave secret silk for the emperor’s mistress. Perhaps we were the first Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed, ill-timed, traversing history for the most recent juncture to inevitably unite us. Til the Cows Come Home They're apparently the demarcation line, the 38th parallel, the proverbial point of no return. I'm not sure what they'll bring us (except some milk and maybe anthrax), or what's supposed to be different once they've arrived. All I know is, since you told me you'd love me until then, I can't stop watching the horizon, listening for lowing. Selfie Face This is apparently how we smile now; at least that’s what posterity might assume after we’ve passed on to it our clouds and timelines. Gone are the albums full of cheezy grins, occasional dazzlers captured in the perfect light, peace signs behind unassuming relatives’ heads. We’ve all become ducks now, jutting out pursed lips as if outside the frames above us hang guillotines of mistletoe threatening kisses that never come.
Ted Millar teaches English at Mahopac High School. His work has appeared in Little Somethings Press, Grand Little Things, Words and Whispers, Fleas on the Dog, Better Than Starbucks, Straight Forward Poetry, Reflecting Pool: Poets and the Creative Process (Codhill Press, 2018), Crossways, Caesura, Circle Show, The Broke Bohemian, The Voices Project, Third Wednesday, Tiny Poetry: Macropoetics, Scintilla, GFT Press, Inklette, The Grief Diaries, Cactus Heart, Aji, Wordpool Press, The Artistic Muse, Chronogram, Brickplight and Inkwell. He was among 65 poets to have work accepted for the 2018 Arts Mid-Hudson exhibit Artists Respond to Poetry.
He lives in the heart of apple and wine country in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife and two children.