Tattered Scrolls and Postulates, Vol. I, by Joseph Victor Milford, is a polymathic roller-coaster ride into the zeitgeist of Western culture combined with the folklore and mysticism of the American South. It portrays a speaker, an anti-hero, who has inherited or earned an incredible wealth of knowledge, but he is crippled in terms of what to do with it. The speaker of this epic poem is in a Faustian situation, and he is trying to win his soul back from his deal with the devil through his own rituals and resurrections stanza by stanza. As we proceed through the epic, which is preceded by an invocation of shamanic proportions, the anti-hero begins to realize that omniscient knowledge can't save the soul, the mind, the marriage in the book, or the future of the culture, whether it be immediate or global. Another voice enters the text, as we see the plaintive notes at the bottom of each page of the tattered scrolls sequence. The irony of the encyclopedic notes juxtaposed with the pathos of the ritual above them adds even more drama to the text–is this an edited text? And whose voice has now intervened, after the fact, to explain the esoteric and oracular explosions at the papyri of every initial scroll? Is the whole book a cosmic joke to destroy narrative even further? Has our hero even survived his own sequence of invocational rapture? The book finishes up with two epic poems: The Morphnacular, which is an urban excursion into a Vegas-like hallucinatory escape for the speaker, and then the contemplative, "What We Wrote On The City's Walls", which brings the entire lexicon to a close as the anti-hero returns from the journey to leave his legacy like the spent Gilgamesh that he is.
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the ash falling was the closest thing to snowfall this hellpocket was ever going to be blessed with.
it was tenebrous to say the least and it was in the abates and we loathed a coming ritual solstice.
you were always drunk at other men's weddings and never sober at their funerals and a virgin.
there are no inhospitable islands to vanquish sinners on. they become convenience store cashiers.
as we spread lime for next year's tomatoes, the world writhed in endless top ten lists. cuckolds.
crawdads circling like an underwater zodiac as i unhook the catfish from my chickenwire lures.
Ascletario was eaten by dogs when he should have been burned. O, the stars, the stars, the stars.
had i been named Cadillac Williams, not a Protestant Irish moniker, what could have happened?
sea urchins thriving about the planet like the halitosis of your hangover and dust of bad checks.
Algol mer. 6:25 ev. Moon Leo. 35 degrees N. Lat 75 degrees. Long. Sun sets at 5:28. days too short.
Table of Contents
Primordial Vesicle 11
Tattered Scrolls and Postulates, Vol.1 17
The Morphnacular 121
What We Wrote On The City's Walls 153
A Note on the Form of the Prose-Poems of Tattered Scrolls and Postulates 159