traveling soul

featured in the poetry forum October 18, 2020  :: 0 comments

nyc – if you can picture that 1950’s scene
with larry rivers painting,
david anram on sax,
kerouac writing, allen ginsberg prancing.

the gray buildings, the gray new york,
the creaking dawn, the late-night diner conversations,
burroughs, corso, huncke, gangsters bars

on the west side, jack and bill strolling on 8th avenue only
when they walked on the wild west side
in mad, strange talk.

you wonder about that, sitting here,
the myth of the rainy night of kerouac’s lowell,
that mythic scene and
what it lets you imagine in your head, feel
in your body; the culture of the revolutionary art world
then.

tenor men blowing in abandoned buildings,
shooting junk, mingus, ahmad jamal,
charlie parker,
grady tate, monk, wes, winton kelly and that tinkling piano.
of course, of course it was a crest of culture unparalleled in
many respects anywhere.
it lives today, underground, overground, in my ears this
morning, in my eyes
i can tell you

they were building colossal buildings back there,
pyramids equal to the egyptians, monuments, tombs –
trees that would last forever.

editors note:

Yes, in our ears, too. Listening, building… – mh clay

Desk Time

featured in the poetry forum June 14, 2020  :: 0 comments

i used to try
to kill time
trying to write—
bending the
sentences
back and forth— hoping
to straighten
them out—
but they
would not bend,
pretending
i was meaningfully
doing something—
sweating
grunting
in hot pursuit
of a writing goal—

it eased the
guilt of
spending
meaningless time—
but i wasn’t
really past that—

still it kept me
in the game
blindly slugging
it out with the words—
later i learned
to get out of their way
they seemed to have
an urgency of their own—

they think quite well
as long as i’m there
i didn’t need
to be such a
bully but i did
have to show up

they liked me
giving them space
like most living things.

editors note:

Yes! You gotta show up, then get out of the way. – mh clay

the session began

featured in the poetry forum March 12, 2020  :: 0 comments

i took off from work
one day
for a therapy session

the train took off late
from the station.

it was a winter’s day
and i took off my coat

and i took off
my hat and
i took off my gloves

in his office
and i took off my shoes
(as it was freudian therapy)

and lay on a couch
facing a gray wall

and a clear
window’s view of
apartment houses
in chelsea, new york

and i began
taking off
my mask.

editors note:

A solitary striptease for Sigmund, only. – mh clay

Night Talk

August 24, 2019  :: 0 comments

He’d seen their eyes stare at him when he read, in front of bars and tables. The eyes looked serious and fixed under the night lights, like he was saying something important. John Hynes had experiences like that reading. A musician called John Hynes over one night. They were in a bar. John Hynes knew the guy slightly. “I like …

He Did Not Shoot the Deputy

January 26, 2019  :: 0 comments

The cherry cocktail sticks jumped on the neon sign outside the 114 Lounge. Inside, the singer was singing of these cherry cocktail sticks as part of a tune he had written: The neon cocktail lights a dancin’ invitations so bright… The place, the 114 Lounge, was located at 114 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Hence its unostentatious namesake. The …

the aftermath of a rejection letter

featured in the poetry forum December 17, 2018  :: 1 comment

no gold in the air
stahl’s world of
perpetual darkness.
no fields of dreams
in my backyard today.
I’m a gunshot wound
to the head, a blues song
bleeding from broken
finger tips. I’m a
bukowski man instead
of some others.
…some of the others
with cheerier news.
and
no funny jokes like:
after math is English.
aftermath is only sorrow.

editors note:

Sorrow is how some sums add up. Gotta do your own math… – mh clay

NUMB

September 8, 2018  :: 0 comments

George Tango sat on the L train, on the gray, hard seat. He spotted a Liz Smith gossip column headline in an open News, spread wide by a middle-aged man in a slightly weird, off-green Hamburg hat. George got off the train dulled by the headline of Liz Smith, dulled by the weather, dulled by life. He walked one-half block …

lady with a wart

featured in the poetry forum August 21, 2018  :: 0 comments

you see a lady
in a red bandana
turning a corner
wart on her nose

in a busy
wall street
intersection

you’ve been
through 3
board meetings

and meanwhile
your wife demands
you make a stop
at the cleaners

on the way home
to pick up
a white blouse

two of your kids
are down
with the flu

and there are
bills piling and
weekend visitors expected

and dinner’s ready…

and at midnight
you dream of
that lady.

editors note:

Sometimes, things that matter are masked by those that don’t; or… do they? – mh clay

‘monkey mind’ of natalie goldberg

featured in the poetry forum April 3, 2018  :: 0 comments

it’s not the lack of focus
or the lack of a coherent
statement, like they teach
you in the schools and jobs.
it’s the critic jumping around
moreso; the critic sniping
at you, blaming you for
trying, citing your
incompetence,
demanding propriety,
demanding truth, telling
you to quit, telling you it’s
only right, feeding you
stories on every level:
genetics, societal labeling,
innate talent vs. your lack
and ‘let’s get honest’:
the fairness—and you!
stopping the balance
of the scales which are right.

the norms of the old south,
when all understood who
was who and what was fair:
the voice, and truth—
telling what to do.
close your notebook,
shut your computer.
i mean it speaks with
such vengeance, pull
your paper from the typer
cartridge, if you still
use those— don’t get
so poetic: don’t look
at the sun in the morning.

i still care enough to
write this, breaking all
taboos where you’re
not even supposed to
think the thought.

i’ve already made
a mistake against the tyrant.

editors note:

The worst wrench in your works is you; that tyrant has no teeth. – mh clay

Larry’s Karma

March 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

“Kerouac would have hated the computer.” “And why is that?” “It would be too tempting to change things.” They always got into that. ••••••• The story was good. It was about a fight in a bar which our writer had the pleasure of witnessing, having been then employed as a musician in that bar. The owner, named Nicky Holiday, was …