J. C. Kuehn Miller

Read. Write. Repeat. Aspire to be a Janitor.

Portrait of an Artist as a Dying Man

It’s the sound of cereal being poured into a bowl.
It’s the dancing of the biting flies circling around
the falling, wilted dogwood blossom.
It’s the ten year anniversary of grandfather’s death.
It’s the song of everything being played in our sleeping ears.

My friends say I’m crazy, but I’m the one who
wrote them to say these things.
My friends pray for my salvation, but I’m already in hell.
If there’s meaning in my suffering, then I play the fool.
If there’s meaning in my suffering, I still want it to end.

The armchair philosophers postulate theories of life and God,
but I’m only concerned with making rent, and making love.
The circles under my eyes come at a high price
of tossing in my mat of a bed and turning the pages
in my books filled with pointless circles and lines.

Broken mirrors reflect my doubting eyes showing a lighter side
of my wrenching chest. Sledgehammers pounding shamanistic rhythms;
birds in the trees singing the troubadour’s poetry;
gravedigger’s shovels screaming the undertaker’s dream–
there’s a melody in everything, but I can’t find the key.

Can you blame me for  my outlook when you look into
my room at night and see my sleeping pills and empty beer bottles?
It’s a wonder I can sleep at all with the voices droning on–
talking to each other and completely ignoring my pleas
for a moment’s rest from inner wars and fears and tears.

Scratching and clawing at my skin, the ghosts in my head
call for an end, so if you don’t mind, I’ll take Ophelia’s place
in the water, face down, decorated like a tapestry- ornamented
in floating rose blooms and cradled by the weeping willow’s boughs
lightly pushed along by the soft, sweeping current.

Midday traffic glides with a halting flow, winding around medians
and misplaced pedestrians holding their briefcases and purses tightly.
We’re the little ants scurrying thoughtlessly as the baby Jesus tosses
a small twig in the procession of scavengers and guardians carrying
scraps of Cain’s fruit offering home to our mother- the queen.

And we twirl and we twirl, dervishes dissolved into each other–
my friends are lost within two thin lines on a flattened tree,
disappearing as I look at my worn visage in a mirror,
it’s only me these days– in the flesh, but I still hear faint
giggles and stifled scoffing when everything grows silent.


3 comments on “Portrait of an Artist as a Dying Man

  1. Paul F. Lenzi
    July 18, 2013

    thoroughly enjoyed this –

    • Kuehn Miller
      July 18, 2013

      Thank you very much for stopping by! I’m looking forward to seeing your poetry in my reader.

  2. Everyone
    September 2, 2014

    please stop.

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This entry was posted on July 18, 2013 by in Poetry and tagged , .
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