A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Joe Milazzo

Since it happened, have
you walked the back
of our town, feeling
what you can't afford
feeling? The vulnerable ones
catch rain in their laps. Fences
are dented with bulls-
eyes. Centuries
of somber windows
frame a dovecote's light.
Dispossessed tracts
extend the extent of that
couple of concrete
steps that end up lead-
ing you through
the flimsy descriptions
of marestail and
nettles. A black
land's line connects
a tangent of childless
housewives and mother-
less skulkers. But what
traces your smolder in
the silhouettes of
the dump's wilted
men? What I taste
in the ozone:
images; I know.





You start the chairs around,
assuring them this is how
the merry-making keeps sunrise
from lisping its ABCs. You
coddle the flour beetles and bait
the television news. You ask without
quite asking if I've seen some relic
you liked, as if nothing was ever just
up to your specifications. I try
and remind you that the metaphor
that's been promoted to proverb
is not the same as the puddles
a middling tub can't minister. But
still we ram our bulks over whose
credences are these. To kill my pre-
vailings, or to outlast the ordinary
subterfuges of every last one: which
do you deem exceeding? Whichever's
imprint is more ruddy, that wreathing
can sort a cathedral from a crusade.






WHICH        I       AM 
AGAIN                 NO 






























ALL       JUST
FEELS       SO 


                                             Your new orifice is
a genizah. My new
genizah resembles
my new heart. My
old heart was a cardigan
worn by a hard chair.
My new heart
has the pirouette
of a hatchet, or a
shiv. My old heart
was nothing but one
big set-up, a part of
many bigger parts. My
old heart welcomed everything
with a "How can I, how
can I, how?", not even
balking. My new heart
is maybe not so new, not so
much a tool, but it keeps coming
out, a sun whose every spar
bleeds with some forsaking
from now on. The modicums
daily reunite, the golem
rolls its rock in front of
the looters. My new heart
runs in weeds while your
old heart interrupts itself
with the flog of thorny
dissertations. The new
ghetto is ours to overcrowd,
yours with mine, so long
as its borders are
apocryphal, a place
of flags thumbtacking
"where" to "here,"
like barbarians.



WHICH           A

I wish you could have seen it,
how these smoothnesses somehow
know what a finger feels like, how
now the household's many monocles
collect some nerve from the marvelous
with which they collide. This awe of
love stops everything in its putting
and executes any habit which can't be
convenient. Where's the goosenecked corpse
to miss the ping-pong and clear reception and
divans of its living headquarters? The feet,
the legs have cranked their precincts back
up inside the crown's ziggurat scowl.
Let me press this verdict. No thudding
ever loved you as much as you
were fascinated by the mum of its
saints, the regiments—all identical, all
the snags of their shrapnel mittened—
with which it advertised the worth
of its patently attentive  "What."














FEED           THE





What if you are among the dis-
illusionments? What if yours is
the rescue that everyone is always
saying they're getting the hell
out of? What if your light hobos
as far as that? I need you to under-
stand: you're up to your boots in
happy treasons, whatfors that have
not held since the minute they had
any foreign glow. Let me show you
again and once more what immortal
surely lies at your address. He's a shoo-
in and, when he's your heckler, he's me


If I have never saved enough, I have at least remembered sounds. Resounding is maybe a double memory then, or memory calling to itself across its own vastnesses, looped before it even echoes. When I was 15, I found tucked in a drawer of the family bureau (mahogany; where pens ran dry and the good silver went to tarnish itself) a cassette tape, unlabeled. I played it on my off-brand Walkman (an Aiwa), only to discover it was an audio letter, presumably never sent, made by my mother for her parents in the month or two before I was born. I cannot relate what has since happened to that recording, nor could I recount any particular news encoded in its magnetism. But what I do have a hold on are these sensations of discovery I enjoy periodically handling, the mounting warmth of the headphones' insulated vibrations against my ears, the impression of an arrow under my thumb, the tension of PAUSE, ||, (the head stays attached to the dark silvery ribbon of the tape itself... hit STOP, ☐, and you can feel the entire mechanism clunk back into its recess... but the forward springing of the reel is braked), the dumbness of listening, distant from ideas of anything, the casualness of my preexistence, unwound and not to be rewound, for where after all was it going to end? Except in my asking myself if it ever really happened or did I only just remember it.


Joe Milazzo is the author of The Terraces (Das Arquibancadas) (Little Red Leaves Textile Series, 2012). His writings have appeared in AntennaeEveryday GeniusH_NGM_NThe CollagistDrunken BoatBlack Clock and elsewhere. Along with Janice Lee and Eric Lindley, he edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing] ( Joe lives and works in Dallas, TX, and his virtual location is