Some Poems From Blue Collar Work

In The Houses They Are Dancing

"In the houses
they are dancing."
     Ursala K. LeGuin

Going South on Highway 80,
a hammer in my heart, it's hard,
it's a heartache, misty fog rising
into morning, my darling, I seem
to be lost, lured away from
the happiness of Tara.

A hundred drummers, already done,
another person laughing, some folks crying,
islands of dilapidated junk cars on every side:
what do they do now, over the course of time?
Bring on the bright medusa of yesterday,
glory to last night, drunken comrades
rowing on home to fuss
& fight, I suppose
the Earth goes on turning every day & night,
rhythm, like sacred soldiers on a mission,
revolution, steep hills, deep valleys,
morning glories crawlin'
the smokehouse wall 'till noon.
I had my chances, in the beginning,
now, coming closer
to the truth,
here's to you, my ol' snakeskin friend
from Nineteen 72, I am ashamed
of the lasting peace you never achieved,
so many buzzards swooning above the Lost Highway,
turning left or right or wherever into an
anonymous town caked with red-clay dust full
of VW busses rusting out, gasping Studebakers,
abbreviated institutions of higher learning,
pink & pray adobe huts
from the Nineteen 50's where
supper is almost ready among a circle
of Be-Bop friends with nameless faces
whose blue-suede music seems to
elude them, now.

Refuge From The Elemental Tears

"I seek refuge from the elemental tears…"
     John Logan

Colonnades of contemporary
Gulf Coast tenants, about the author
rowing on to Venice, California, a battered
circus junkyard there.  Many have set forth to explore
the beauty of Island Earth, renting bicycles,
experiencing the easygoing tropical
atmosphere of Now.

A view of the water?
Cheeseburgers for lunch?  Historic lighthouses?
The pace of life is slowing to a period of regret.
Mad storks flap away delirious.  Surreal Sunday, like
the lovely parts of town are bent into bentwood pieces.
Kudzu, entrapped with tombs, dark-colored
skins & slimy fish, where 
worlds collide with the surface
of earth, when tears
fall, when the action
shifts to a pastoral place
outside of Yazoo City…  Each individual,
upon the hill tonight, pain & suffering, gain
& loss, time is spasmodically running out.
The Driver of the Coach has dusty oxfords.
My amazing Father, my cousins,
my aunts & uncles,
smooth faces from the Nineteen 40's,
Mill Hands who have driven Further South
for a cool refreshing drink of water.

I don't know
how I would have wanted it,
the White-Horse streaked with mud.
Accordion music seeps in from the Bayou,
a Cajun fiddle flowers from Delta's edge.
It is a pretty picture painted, painted
for a moment

That Blue Seclusion

That blue seclusion
between here & there, like
lately I am only semi-shy, slightly Beat,
slightly bent, not rose-cheeked, a little chaos,
my life, face, arms, legs, plus a few
pictures from Bill's Dollar Store.

Horace the Hired Hand,
his ass has shrunk tremendously, hair gone, damn
this, damn that, here, in this poem, needing a good
night's sleep the wife says.

Then I arose at daybreak
old as Hell, preserving language in semi-neat
parcels of trivia, almost comatose, that vague concerto
of transformation, groggy Raptures, alternate Eternities,
critical Crossroads, but my mind still lingers
back in Nineteen 56 along another Muddy Bayou
with a circular explanation,
alluvial two-lane highways meandering on to Nowhere, Man...
Port City Blues, from Memphis, Tennessee, that
country, that cantina, that conversion: wheels,
turning, turning, turning, dazed white man on a roll,
Charlie Hipster, Charlie Cool, sufficiently shaken
by all those greasy years passing,
passing, passing.

Errol Miller
Monroe, LA

About The Author & This Book

Errol Miller was born in Montevallo, Alabama, in 1939. He’s lived in Louisiana since 1968. Errol has been published extensively since 1972 in hundreds of literary magazines. He is the co-winner of Spillway Magazine’s 1998 Call And Response Poetry Contest, and he is a featured writer in Poet’s Market 2000. Some of his recent collections are “Blue Rainbow Cafe,” “Literary Junkies,” “Magnolia Hall,” “The Drifter Takes Another Look,” and “4 Runners.”

Errol Miller can be contacted at POB 14693, Monroe, LA 71207


TITLE: Blue Collar Work

AUTHOR: Errol Miller

COPYRIGHT: Errol Miller 2000 (World-wide Rights Reserved)


ISBN: 1-929878-23-0

PRICE: 5 dollars + 1 dollar postage (US) or 3 dollars postage (World)

PUBLISHED: July 2000


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