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James O'Neill Miller

About the Poet

James O’Neill Miller’s poetry has been published in SIMBAA, the literary journal of Lincoln University, The Broadkill Review, and No Place Like Here: An Anthology of Southern Delaware Poetry and Prose.

He graduated with a MFA in poetry from NYU in May of 2008. While there, he worked with renowned American poets such as Sharon Olds, Philip Levine, and Yusef Komunyakaa.

A recipient of a Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship, 2012, in poetry, he teaches English at the Community College of Philadelphia and at writing workshops throughout Delaware.


Spring 2014 »

angels my mom would say
walking into

Saint Peter’s cold breath.
It was strange to me, the stone floors,
my polished shoes and her heely

steps, how far they’d echo
when angels seemed so close
awake and shining

through stained glass.
revisiting the cathedral

I still hear that walking echo
watching as the windows
seem to pull me

closer to the sun
to the thought of angels.
Mom never told me

when she prayed with shaking hands
hands shaking back the sleeves
of her black dress

how far I’d have to travel
not to hear my feet hit
hard ground―

she just put me in a pew
like this one, let me pray and stare.
She said it was good to see angels.




At night in bed
just a short walk from the ocean
I imagined her dreams, their winds
and where they had led her.
What tide was I?
What weather did I bring?
At dawn she would wake up
walk to the porch and stare.
With birds
I listened to her sing.



In far green fields my thoughts have bloomed
and grown beside a stream of songs
that flows from dawn until the moon
has grouped her stars in dreams along
the summer sky. In sleep my eyes
have then become the water’s way
of constant currents changing tides
to each new world my mind will play
and live within until they break.
The stream still sings when I awake.



black magic

when the songs of her arms and legs
became the call of my future.
She picked me
from the shoes shuffling down the street.
I could have folded and walked away
but I put my money in her hand―
my card was something I had to see.




Mine man will be an island
she said
holding my hand
walking in the city park―
sand that grow up
rising from his mother sea.
But most men
are like tides pulled back by their current
always away from land―

Suddenly I stopped.
I wanted to ask her if she knew
I had a big office
secretaries who wanted to fuck me
that in her eyes I saw a dark horizon
of missed Christmas parties and failed promotions.
Then she squeezed my hand.
I can already see it in you―
I have seen a lot of boys.


James O'Neill Miller ~

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