The Hum of Traffic

poetry from robert c. miller

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It’s November 1st, and National Blog Posting Month–NaBloPoMo–is upon us. Time to put your thinking cap on, fire up the computer, chug some extra coffee, and get a-postin’! Bookmark these resources for days when you need a little something extra, and leave a link to your site in the comments so other NaBloPoMo participants on can find you.

On The Daily Post…

A new writing prompt goes up at The Daily Post every weekday at 11AM EST (we also tweet them out on the @freshly_pressed handle). If you need additional inspiration, head over to Plinky.

Weekly writing and photo challenges give you two more opportunities a week to be part of NaBloPoMo and deepen your participation in the community. Browse past challenges for even more ideas.

Take inspiration from fellow bloggers: you can start by taking a look at our Focus On posts, which highlight blogs and…

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Portrait of a Dead Bluejay


The city hisses

such in and outs

with constancy


that the weightlessness

of the fragile blue



was nothing

to the pounding of the machines

and the grey


of skies

pushing down

his cupped breast.



Against the terrace—stepped

brick in brown and red—

how like a wall to him now, the plantings


along the top, hostas

and a spray of acorns and cedar leaves

withered because—


they were banned

from water in the city; or,

the asphalt took it all


and the jay was dead; or, something unfair

so I took it as a gift,

that the biting air


was early November—preserving

the blue

of the jay



the grey of the dark months

to come.


All this way

to rest for a winter

until the summer


light returns


to take him home

Calvin and Hobbes – Stars and Infinity (Comic Strip) – Karma Jello



New Piece I did about the Georgian Bay and Lakeland Cemetery in Minneapolis

Through Lakes to the River


I was use to being given away

by my clumsiness or deft movement

to the attentions of animals.


When seeing

was accidental, stumbling

more than anything—I had never wished nor dreamt


that clicks of hooves against rock would echo out

to my ears and give away the fearful young buck,

to me.


He was anxious—

an adolescent for a drink and running

reeds to eat, to drape halfway out his mouth, to chew on in thought—


but I was full of knowing what he did not

and stalked forward to prove

my knowledge, and tell a story


that I had was in control. The small river

running into the Bay

laughed at my attempts


and where I had once known of him,

he then knew of me,

along the pebbled shore of the Georgian Bay—



For all the magic, those were…

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Rock model #2

Nine Ways of Looking at the Leaves


The calling of fall

leaves—winding down

stairs, walking out the

front door of her apartment

for the last time




Crumpled and crushed

crunched satisfaction

echoing cyclical





Autumnal yellow and orange

holds down hidden grasses

homogeny of hue

questions on monotony




Eyes divorce

focus Monet





To be—but grass

and feel

the sky falling




Palm to palm


my passed great grandmother’s


lain tenderly

toward a withered

dried out posture




To be young again and wade

in yesterday’s playpool

knee deep in

passing time




As good steward

as any

who yearly feeds thine neighbor

detritus and thanks




To feel victorious

or ashamed

being the final leaf



How Can I be More Like the Sandhill Cranes

who, like me, were also born in the sandy counties

of central Wisconsin, but have a piece of tundra in them.


They were given special lands,

wilderness sanctuaries that allowed them solitude

in their preferred habitat.


I was not.

And find myself envying them

when I feel away from home.


Clutching my binoculars, adjusting to the gentle rock of the boat

I magnified my fascination on a sedge of cranes

in the midst of ancient rites.


Who moved like they knew the land,

and had flown their annual pilgrimage

for this privilege.


(We could have departed on the very same day)


males singing, strutting, and poking at the wet earth

knowing perfectly well what they came for.


another day we caught them in flight

necks stretched outcurved

back and

forward again, dignified and stark

lines compelling me to testify

they know precisely what they are doing here


The cranes attend to the business of living elsewhere,

but once a year follow their cryptochromes

(I believe we all must have some)

home without the guilt of leaving responsibility behind.

Breaking Ice, Back Tomorrow

Through the gusting of the Lake we climbed,

slow waterfalls of rock, choosing the long way,

our hearts quivered and trembled to forget


the coldness of never-knowing through childhood

games and idle adventure. Only to circle back on ourselves,

looking for the darkest corners, hidden


in lake drenched stone. We sacrificed our fingers’ freedom for a chance

to fish pieces of memory froze knowable,

slats, from the water’s surface,


Portraits of the puddles’

faceless faceswe clutched the sheets of ice, barely,

did we understand that in smashing them


down to hear sweet mimicry of glass

shattering on rock, we had lost our way.

What hides in puddled shadows


of eroding rocks and fallen trees and freshwater spray?

To hold names is grasping a truth I cannot know after

breaking ice, back tomorrow.

The Crust of the Earth

Here’s a piece from my Chapbook entitled “the Lost Water fables”



Long ago someone went to work on this land.

Called out, kneading

the crust of the Earth.


Fistful by fistfulred hard folds

and faults. Heavenly loafs

risen in ovens of the epochs


tossed about in beautifully careless dunes

frozen in time.

The trouble they must have gone to,


mixing that dough and measuring

the coarse grain

shoreline by shoreline,


one rocky outcropping at a time.

They rolled out Superior coastline,

Boreal lakebed, Canadian Shield.


Hideouts with names like Artist’s Point.

Stunning recipes

spotted with lead, nickel, and zinc,borrowed


from the lake Superior

who took them from the Glacier

in a story long ago.


The lake floor gathers crumbs over time,

consuming the tales in endless waves

but the crust remains


stale and lasting, hard

in the hardness of the gale winds

and the bone-cold swells.


I’ve seen the bread, bits of it in my hand,

studied fragments of stories unearthed

from the belly of the lake, but what I’d give


to take a mouthful of the heel,

halfway swallowed to the water’s hungry gullet

chew till the wetness is taken from my mouth


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