For my second week curating this space, I'd like to introduce two poems by Bryce Milligan: poet, defender of the written word, singer/songwriter, book designer, editor and publisher, and one-time luthier . . . to list just a few of his talents. Bryce lives in San Antonio, Texas, but is well-known to our city from frequent visits over the years. A more complete biographical sketch follows his poems:

Reach Out

When the streetlight people
like shadows ebbing
in and out of substance
—more or less tidal
forms of consciousness—
and their fingers graze
your desires
your dreams crazed
like china teacups
you cannot bear either
to shatter
    or simply pitch
into oblivion
(because even shards
carry memories
—yours and theirs—
into the unknown
future where someone
no doubt will know
who you
really were),
before their flickering
fades to static

reach out




“To fly’s to live,” she often said
at fifteen, showing the sling
with the broken arm that would
not be her wing.

Post cards came, always aerial
scenes or shots of sudden drops —
cliffs or canyons, a skyscraper,
a bell tower.

Then photos of her flying machines:
F-15s then the black wedge,
silent, stealthy, a bat’s shadow
against the stars.

“To fly’s to live,” she often said
at thirty, showing the steel-
plastic-microchip miracles
that were her limbs.

On the impossibly high bridge
above the Rio Grande
she paused, left a pile of post cards,
each stamped and signed:

“To die’s to fly.”





Bryce Milligan is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, fiction, and books for children. He is the editor of several anthologies, mainly of Latina fiction and poetry, and he has been the publisher/editor/designer of Wings Press since 1995, where he creates books so beautiful they make his authors blush and readers grateful. A singer/songwriter, once upon a time he was a working luthier. He has taught English and creative writing at every level, including workshops from California to Prague. Currently he is a master artist/national panelist for the National Young Arts Foundation. He recently received the Gemini Ink “Award for Literary Excellence” (2011) and the St. Mary’s University President’s Peace Commission’s “Art of Peace Award” (2012) for “creating work that enhances human understanding through the arts.”

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Comment by Johnny_Mango on August 10, 2014 at 10:50am

What is said...what is unsaid...Bryce Milligan bridges them both.  I don't think there is a better explanation of why poets write and artists create than his Reach Out.  Thanks.  And Margaret, see you this afternoon at 3:00 for your book launch at Bookworks!

Comment by Dee Cohen on August 11, 2014 at 5:07am

What touching poems, both connected in some way, as if the girl in the second poem also became a streetlight person. Thank you for these. Dee


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