The Lost Pilgrimage Poems by Joseph D. Milosch

The Lost Pilgrimage Poems

a book of poetry by Joseph D. Milosch

front and back photography by Brandon Cesmat

Published by Poetic Matrix Press
95 pages, price $15.00
ISBN 0-9714003-8-5

Available from

The Book

"The poems of The Lost Pilgrimage are by a man who notices what happens. How rare that kind of listening is. Whether writing about his father, the war in Vietnam, his wife, childhood, work, fishing, faith, illness, silence, or anything else, Joe Milosch hammers dross away and leaves nothing extra. What's left is a hard-won gift and blessing for the reader willing to open this book, enter these poems and join the journey."
—John Fox, CPT author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making

Joe Milosch

Joe Milosch graduated in 1995 with his MFA from San Diego State University. He has published poetry and essays in various magazines over the past ten years. His first chapbook, On the Wing, was published by Barnes and Noble as a regional publication; his second chapbook Father of Boards and Woodwinds, was published by the Inevitable Press for the Launa Poets Series. He was a finalist in the Tennessee Middle State Chapbook contest in 1996 for his chapbook, If I Could Imagine. He won the 1997 Tennessee Middle State Chapbook contest with his chapbook Among Men. In 1999 the Laguna Poets Series published his fourth chapbook Now She Bends Away on Inevitable Press.

His poem "Among Men" was nominated for the Pushcart XXIII, and his poem "Letters from Paul" was nominated for the Pushcart XXII. He received an honorable mention for his poetry in The Chapel Jazz Poetry Contest in the spring of 1999. He received an Excellence in Literature award from Mira Costa College.

He teaches English Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at National University in San Diego.

From The Lost Pilgrimage Poems:

Now She Will Bend Away Wood Bone Blood
for Steven Hawk
Timor mortis conturbat me (William Dunbar)*

Now she will bend away to lift
and shake her skirt. She holds it up
in morning light as if
she looks for holes
a moth might leave or threads
loosened by the movement of her hips.

As bees come to the bottle bush
her song springs in the summer air.
As buzzing breaks my thoughts of death,
she sings a whispered tune
and shakes her skirt again
as if it were an offering to
the solstice sun.

Removing window glaze, I pause
to watch her hanging clothes and rub
my thumb across my putty knife.
I work as if I have no fear
I'll leave this world without my dreams,
which seem as rustic
as the clothes lines bent with weight.

I want to dream that when I die I will
recall her name. She might be bidding me
a mock farewell, standing alone among
the lemon shadows of the grass and trees.
I know that corn is cob and stalk,
and from the mountain's melting ice
come flashing fish.

She bends away to lift and snap a pillow slip.

* Timor mortis conturbat me (The fear of death confounds me)
Dragging my palm along the table's edge.
I slide my hand against the grain.

A sliver breaks beneath my skin.
"What have you learned from your mistake?"

Look at the damage you've done by
moving before you think,"
Dad points out a crack
wide as a sunfish bone.

"Never go against the grain," he says,
taking a needle from the cloth
he'd stapled to his bench.

He strikes a match, begins to tell
about the buck he found three days dead
with its lower jaw shot off.

I want to shut my eyes and hide my fear,
but my eyes are held in the tender gaze
of his finger's shadow.

I watch him heat the needles' point, "Don't jerk,"
he says before he pricks my hand.
The trick is trusting his touch.

Focused on my hand, he talks
of that starved deer,
its tongue touching the grass.

He says, "If you wound an animal,
track it, find it,
put it out of its misery."

Finding the sliver's tip, he pulls it.
I bleed. He says, "Lick it,
a little pain never hurts."

Replacing his needle, he returns
to his work, his shadow
sliding across the table.

The scratch of sandpaper
bears witness to the even grain.
A bead of my blood grows.
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