"Tat Tvam Asi = Thou Art That" - Jonathan Brown

"Tat Tvam Asi = Thou Art That" - Jonathan Brown

Seeing the god light
squeaking through the grey
clouds after the rain shower

reminds me how
when you die
you lose your body
but keep your soul,
and your soul is older
than all the oak trees,
but only the acorns know
how the elegy goes.

Last night is a past life.
Thou art that.
You used to be
a blade of grass
but then a cow
moseyed in
and grazed on you
and later
in the maze of truth
you turned around
and ate a steak.

You can count how many
seeds make up an apple.
But can you count the apples
in an apple seed?


We beg the infinite
to be consistent
as if time were listening.
We are made of god,
god light, light, water
and time; but time is man

and manmade. Seasons
don’t chase each other
because nature doesn't
get impatient. But we do.

Is it C’est La Vie or Déjà vu
or neither or some
variation of the two
when whatever we focus on expands?

You go places.
Places disappear.
You’ve been the plane
and the tarmac.
You’ve been the bus boy,

the bell hop, and the bar back.
You’ve been the market crash
and the Arby’s bag. You’ve been

apart yet been a part of all that.
You’ve been thirty and twelve
and seventy years old.
You’ve been told and you’ve told

and you’ve been told again.
You’ve dictated and you’ve been awaiting
instructions from something greater
than yourself but somehow
you still feel separate
as if there was such no such thing
as everybody else.

"my theory on going to bars" - Joe Milford


"my theory on going to bars" - Joe Milford

take twenty dollars worth of quarters
go to a place with at least two payphones
and one jukebox

you go in weighed down and loud
wear pants twice your size, at least
don’t adjust your belt and drink a pitcher

of Newcastle, you won’t have many quarters
left, but, on the jukebox play the Pretenders,
Social Distortion, the Clash, and get rid
of your twenty dollar lodestone

it is a dollar for a game of pool
or for a bowl of popcorn and you make two
calls you shouldn’t have and then
you are weaseled, bamboozled, or muscled out

then you slink home lithely, weightlessly
under the buzzing of an Iowa sky, steeples,
the skyline, the street guitarists, the closed
and locked-down bratwurst carts, and the train

is crossing the road two blocks
from your front door
as you watch it roar
and roar inside

"The Degradation" - Joe Milford

"The Degradation" - Joe Milford

Waffle House, also known by the retired police officer son of the confederacy gun aficionado I currently live with in a haunted house as “awful waffle,” and in walks this guy, gaunt one, lanky, gruff, long-faced, an iggy pop-type if iggy had ever been a trucker and iggy at one point probably was, a gibby haynes type, a jesus lizard/david yow type, a ribcage and socket set kind of character, a tom waits jacket sleeve, etc. he crosses the grease and bleach brick floors of the establishment towards his niche at the grill and shortly after, no kidding, johnny cash finished playing, the relative easiness in playing a cash song, and he walks in and says, “here comes the degradation,” and he is wearing this please-don’t-shoot-me-I-am-not-venison blindingly orange hat and he fires up the grill and I realize he is bringing the degradation—I know I am about to eat the best goddamn hash browns of my entire life and in the local paper here in Moreland—the home of THE LEWIS GRIZZARD MUSEUM and the ancient towtruck parked in front of it—they have a spot where they transcribe witty exchanges on CB frequencies—so, with great enthusiasm out unto every airwave,  I say, “bring the degradation”—let it come scattered like stars, covered like atmospheric pressure, smothered like a dead moon, chunked like an asteroid belt—bring the degradation grease monkeys, bloodshot hellions with spatulas—yes—bring the degradation.—it’s about time the penalties of the known cosmos were brought forth by 135-pound shaven rusty-shears grill chefs—it was only inevitable—as good degradation should be.  bring it down like antifreeze suicide.  bring it down like acid rain southern rock festival.  bring it down like a demolition-derby tornado.  bring that degradation.  yep.