Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Two Poems

by Pete Miller

American Position  
Summer writhes
a dull barbed green, a skulled crush,
railroad cops trampling through with cameras.
Big Buck back from Work Ethic Camp,
bike chain and bear mace.
Because dying people don’t lock up,
the hospital parking garage lures brighter
than the lean-tos and spidery tents,
a chance that exhaust might mumble dreams
too tall to ever wake,
hardhat pigeons’ metal beaks peeling
manic paint from concrete columns,
bald red apes in miniature escaped
from the transplant wing and charging
those sharks from the NICU flopping on the hood,
full August, the sky 120 degrees, cloudless, a mouth
vacuumed of teeth, flashing
rows of slave-ship blisters, blebs
bejeweling the tiny, tense ocean of cracked
pipe-scorched lips
on which to drift forever to approach that
new hemisphere’s sprawling velour
moraine, never
again God as the sober avatar, bowlful
of artificial chicken porridge
and boredom. No, in the garage, sanity returns
not through steps
but that better, looser fit:
Binge reclining.

When August peaks in chronic uncontrolled uncoping,
this camp in the all-weeds woods still scribbles
unstoppable vines up the bed-sheet tents
and the demolition yard crusher slowly licks
gone another sentimental decade of unionization,
and Les slip-wades steady down that slope awash
as any gallows with regret seepage’s
vials and nuggets, lifts
dainty steps over the Decrepit Duke’s
foundling gasping in the muck,
and finally crouches behind that piss-
dripping ziggurat of shopping carts to pluck
his anguish like a banjo
until it tunes into that little misery spot
that still manages to beat in his heart’s near-clot
enough to confront again his thoughts
and weigh them.
Pete Miller is the author of the chapbook Born Soap. He received his MFA in Poetry from Arizona State University and currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He works as a Community Health Worker at clinic for the homeless.