Friday! And everything that comes with it.

To add to the melancholia of this week, it’s Nicholas’ birthday today; and I can’t remember the exact day, but it was this week four years ago that I lost one of the motherly figures in my life (a manager at work when I was living in Philadelphia, thieving food and living wild) in a car crash. Still no funeral plans for my brother’s godfather, but I’m sure they’ll be on the horizon soon.

I heard this song today for the first time:

The lyrics are just, “(No,) I can’t stop it,” over and over, with a constant heartbeat underneath. But somehow the singer’s voice just seems to soar from hesitant to resigned to mournful to awestruck to exultant to enraged in four short minutes. That seems to echo how I feel about the inertia of this week(/month, really), and I worked those feelings into this piece. There’s something haunting and macabre, but beautiful and peaceful about the whole thing. Form-wise, this is Khara House original, called the settennet, sort of a shadormish form. It’s also for her challenge to coin a word for a feeling that doesn’t have a single word to represent it. So, I offer this, in whatever language will have it:

milagrymos (n) (derivation: milagro, Spanish, “miracle” + lachrymosus, Greek via Latin, “tearful”) — the feeling of being helpless to resist being carried along by the events in one’s life, which all seem to be beautiful and devastating at the same time

I also offered Khara a form in response, so I’ll re-iterate my kyrioum that I made for the poem Botany, Shmotany a while back. It’s a kyrielle/pantoum combo: iambic tetrameter (rare for me!), and the lines go A1A2B1B2 // A2A3B2B3 // A3A4B3B2 // A4A5B2B4 // … // AxA1B2B1 at the end. Check it out, see how it’s constructed, give it a whirl if you’ve a mind to.

After posting this, I’m going to type up my long poem and send it to a few choice people for their feedback. Then I’m going to take every feeling that’s in me right now and pour it into the mould of another poem I’ve been thinking about for Nicholas, for weeks. And a poem of mine is up at Red Fez this issue, so you should check it out!


Who would not want to stop
dead– examine it
the seafloor rocks,
searching for
its venomed barbs, its slow sting?

Who has never balanced
against reason– been
in love with that
raging with wonder and fear?

Who can speak the utter
for it– realizing
this beat,
forward motion,
the long tide
littered with our thousand shells?

Who is seduced by the
thing twice– swept off
their feet
by saltwater,
caught off guard,
dazzled with one perfect tear?

8 thoughts on “Milagrymos

  1. seingraham says:

    Hey Joseph – just saw your poem at Red Fez (thanks to Amy Barlow) – excellent work, as always. I was in their last issue actually and really find them an cool publication except that there’s no place for comments …They do like eclectic work, I find tho’ and that’s refreshing. Congrats!

  2. margo roby says:

    I like the sight play in your word. It may be entirely unintentional, as you don’t mention it, but every time I look at milagrymos, my brain seen angry, not agry. Given the topic, that works.

  3. Khara House says:

    I love it! Thanks for the nod, and sharing your form — I can’t wait to give it a go!

    (BTW: I need to get in touch with you regarding some “treats” from the OLJ Poetry Form Challenge! Shoot me an email at ourlostjungle [at] kharahouse [dot] com when you can!)

  4. kelly says:

    Aren’t we all seduced by just that? I love the sing-song mystery in this…

  5. love the final twist from salt water to tears, which draws your whole theme together beautifully. What would any of us learn, were we to stop the slow undersea crawl of time? Thanks, as always, for your inspiring writing.

  6. brian miller says:

    smiles….i was raising my hand along the way a bit i think….this has a really cool music to it as well…some interesting questions as well….very cool verse tonight…

  7. Sara V says:

    Such a poignant poem, love the new word–it is perfect. And the ending of turning from the salt water to tears, was inspired. As always, really enjoyed your poem.

  8. Tony says:

    Such deep questions – and your words carry them with such deep emotion too.

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