How Scars Bloom Beyond Summer


by Joseph Victor Milford

I am tired tonight beyond all summer wasps.

The sounds of the city let me go back to the horde of uninhibited soul.

Dare I say the word soul? Or the word uninhibited?

Please don’t take my pain away; I justify my pill.

A Prometheus to myself, a gasoline Phoenix Viking firestorm wingbeat

and stones and meteors hurled by it, a comet whose ache defines it.

I have a scar on my right shoulder from barbed-wire, but, I pretend

it was Psyche and her lamp. And I have a scar on my cock; I pretend

it was Pleasure, her daughter. Off of my chin drips quicksilver.

I am still the matador of my own bullshit.

I would joust lightbulbs of streetlamps holding their glowing cries of pain.

A braid of lion’s mane, a ground rhino’s tusk, piles of bottle caps fused,

plastic rockets and toy dinos melted into a clump, tattered postcards,

plum seeds. I have many a thing I’ve years been constructing.

I have a scar below my left thumb. I pretend I am its father.

I will always thrive and escape as the concubine of smoky mirrors.

On a frictionless canvas, a ghast painted lingering in the backstage of stanzas.

I have this particular stride. Slow as bird’s flight, fast as man’s thought.

Maybe I plunge over the edge of myself.

You gave me my life, that cloud of dust, that lotus blooming in reverse.


Joseph Victor Milford is a Professor of English and a Georgia writer who is currently working on his EdD doctoral studies. He was born in Alabama in 1972, and he went on to receive his Bachelors degree from the University of West Georgia, in English and Philosophy, and then his MFA in Poetry from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. His first collection of poems, Cracked Altimeter, was published by BlazeVox Press in 2010, and he is presently composing a collection of poems with Hydeout Press, forthcoming in 2015. He is the host of The Joe Milford Poetry Show, where he has compiled an archive of over 300 interviews and readings with American and Canadian poets. In addition, he is also the editor of RASPUTIN: A Poetry Thread (a literary journal of poetry) and a member of the Southern Collective Experience .


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I am a dreamer, as well as a doer, who lives in the North Georgia mountains. I started my publishing journey August of 2013, have had moderate success, but my utmost passion is my "daytime" job, which is working with adults who are constantly striving to better their lives as they obtain the GED credential.

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