Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Tattooed Poets Project: Joseph Millar

Today's poem is from tattooed poet is Joseph Millar:


Even the bosses are sleeping late
in the dusty light of September.

The parking lot’s empty and no one cares.
No one unloads a ladder, steps on the gas

or starts up the big machines in the shop,
sanding and grinding, cutting and binding.

No one lays a flat bead of flux over a metal seam
or lowers the steel forks from a tailgate.

Shadows gather inside the sleeve
of the empty thermos beside the sink.

The bells have gone still by the channel buoy,
the wind lies down in the west,

the tuna boats rest on their tie-up lines
rocking a little, this way and that.

Labor Day was previously published in The Normal School and will appear in Joseph's third collection.

Be sure to head over to Tattoosday and see Joseph's tattoo here.

JOSEPH MILLAR is the author of Fortune, from Eastern Washington University Press.

His first collection, Overtime (2001) was finalist for the Oregon Book Award and the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Millar grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Johns Hopkins University and spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay area, working at a variety of jobs, from telephone repairman to commercial fisherman. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including The Southern Review, TriQuarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, DoubleTake, New Letters, Ploughshares, Manoa, and River Styx. His work has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in Poetry, Montalvo Center for the Arts, Oregon Literary Arts and a 2008 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. In 1997 he gave up his job as a telephone installation foreman. He now lives in Raleigh, NC and teaches at Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program in Oregon and yearly at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa has said, “There's a tenderness at the core of Fortune, where the commonplace becomes atypical and fantastical, and each poem possesses a voice that summons and reveals. Joseph Millar is a poet we can believe.” His third collection of poems will be published in fall of 2011 by Carnegie Mellon Press.

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