In our current political and social climate, much-loved poet Jim Miller and his frank observations of a downtrodden society, seem both relevant and important for conversations regarding social reform. In this collection, it is the bonds of love, even through troubled waters, which are offered as solutions to a society currently shying away from a duty of care for one another.
This collection, which addresses addiction, recovery and love in its many forms, reflects the poet’s observations about regression in societal morals. Although these are Miller’s personal viewpoints, his political thinking is relevant against the wider backdrop of the USA, whose divisions threaten to tear its citizens down the centre.
Miller was born in 1970s, in a small town in northern Indiana. His early life was spent between Indiana, Florida and the New York area. After his many years in college, he took to the road and travelled the country in a quest to find himself and some meaning or purpose in life. Poetry helped Miller articulate his emotions. Miller said that he hopes his philosophical and reflective collection, “will bring comfort to readers who currently despair at societal divisions. We need to raise our children with hope and instil a sense of morality.”
Isabelle Kenyon from Fly on the Wall Press said: “Divided into three sections, Miller is unafraid to delve into our current political and social climate in all its flaws, passionate love in all its ups and downs and presents an ode to hope for our future children, that they will learn from our mistakes.”
One thing is for sure, it is the vulnerability in Miller’s writing and his bravery in sharing his deepest thoughts and fears which will win his readers over, as he opens his notepad to journal his observations of society.
Here is a sample poem from his collection
The Phantom I Became
I awoke the other night inundated in my perspiration;
I saw her face where memory awakened,
walking away, her back towards the sun setting along the shoreline,
the golden-red tint of sunrays highlighted
her hair’s natural gold; I traced the silhouette of her face,
drunk in a love abandoned, once upon a distant day.
I cannot justify why still I refuse to remember;
I shake away the temptation,
that foolish urge to call out her name,
that taunting urge to scream, to call out for her.
I refuse to swallow the cyanide of decisions
as a sentence served in a prison of remorse.
A shot of bourbon swallowed to numb;
the other to ease the pain;
another shot for courage
and another, another, another…
wherein the darkness hides a ghost
& aches memory of decisions derived:
this life, that road, the many footsteps taken.
If apologies could bandage the scars
I have induced & the wreckage abandoned,
that she wears as a burden so beautifully flawed,
and could erase the scars embedded,
I would. but I cannot muster the courage
to master meaningless words,
words softly spoken sound so selfishly sincere,
words sadly spoken only so my suffering could dissipate,
evaporate like rain in a desert
to justify the decisions of a child: words that would do nothing
to bandage the wounds they helped create.
Even when reason remained dormant; unknown,
my every footstep made was destined,
delivering yesterday to today.
Still, it’s difficult to justify the emotions defied,
nor the costs or sacrifice.
I cannot fathom the means to forgive,
nor the reasons for the scared child I was
or for phantom I became.