Sand Dollar

featured in the poetry forum July 7, 2016  :: 0 comments

I have no power in my name,
no confidence of position,
no money in my house,
no clothes of personal cut.
My love should be poor,
but my love is not.

We were made
in a world without intrusion.
We heard no radio,
listened to no voices,
felt no other’s feelings.
We walked on a strand of white
between a grey, foaming deep
and a forest quietly singing.

We found a dollar and called ourselves rich.
We were warm and it was raining.

editors note: The uncountable currency of companionship. - mh clay

Sprinklers

featured in the poetry forum February 1, 2016  :: 0 comments

I heard it from the narrow alley
along our house, water hissing
through the tightly clenched mouths
of my neighbor’s sprinklers.

I peeked over the fence. His lawn
glistened faintly in the full moon.
Yellow grass glowed more distinctly
pale than his few clumps of green.

What a long winter. What a long, dry winter
of ugly shapes dark, cold and cracked.
I saw them piled up on his lawn,
all those fear-fraught things, as if begging

for a mercy cast out of the sky —
begging me, mind you, for something
that is not mine to own that I should give it.

And when I returned within she was still hiding
inside the plea of hunted animal eyes.

editors note: We would wash away winter fear, but water reaches not within. - mh clay

A Boy’s Face in Repose

featured in the poetry forum November 12, 2014  :: 0 comments

With his face still and his eyes closed,
with his face still and his chest rising and falling
at the reigns of some wild dream driving him reckless,
with his face still and his mouth clamped down
on the tattered skirt of his stuffed animal companion,
with his face still and his arm crooked back
over his head, fingers tangled in mopped strands
of hair still damp from the shower,
with his face still, with his face finally so still
you notice where his cheekbones rest,
notice the small freckles slowly over the years
marking the degrees of his smile,
with his face still
who can tell what will be?

What old buildings will find him?
Brick walls, bouncers of a thousand voices before him,
chairs scraping floor back through the decades
and forward into unseeable distance,
and friends laughing into formulas of life
as if they invented this place.
But who am I to say they didn’t, or he won’t?
No air has passed over chords
like it has over his, no corners
of mouth have turned precisely the angles
his lips swell into, no eyes take the pigment
of any other soul and give it to the open spaces
as his, perhaps to be received, perhaps to be judged,
perhaps to be loved, perhaps to be preyed on,
perhaps to be shut out entirely.
With his face so still
is there no other desire but to hold in stasis?
Or must I always let go and watch him away?

editors note: Alas, we must let go. Though we'd like to give them answers, they must formulate their own questions. - mh

Cell Service

featured in the poetry forum June 9, 2014  :: 0 comments

There is still a place connections of towers do not reach.
Down the mountains and into the canyon
the road cuts and the road crumbles, narrow, heart beating

on turns in trees where blindness
is blind yet sometimes sees. Ghosts of rock
rise through passing trunks like figures
walking in a flip book. So it must have seemed

one hundred years ago when the last of them appeared.
They were spirits with skin—their battles
fought and lost, their lives hidden in empty space—
stumbling on a world beginning the race

to catch itself.

editors note: That rotoscope reality is unrealized by we who never look behind. - mh

The Healing

April 5, 2014  :: 0 comments

Start on a gurney’s white starched sheets and lay
how he says and show what he asks and then
his finger through tissue and fat digs
to tension and hurt the pressure of healing.

End to a world tilted off.
Every sitting is how to sit?
Every standing is how to stand?
But joints can neither find comfort nor return.

Pray to pollutions
to block the bent structures of body
through faith in water acid alchemy.
Swallow, yet it scrapes the proud pleasure.

Start on starched-white sheets
and wait for the healing to come.
The healing comes and the pain does not go.

End to a world tilted off,
not able anymore to accommodate its slouch.
Stand at a slant, hip pinches straight.
Sit at a slump, leg pains to walk.
Walk head down passing the hidden
in cowering formation of chemical ignoring
while numbness spreads from the crimping spine.
His finger is pointing.
Raise knowledge and pull straight strength
stabbed out of groveling
as if all these were merely flesh and bone.

Cane in Hand

featured in the poetry forum April 5, 2014  :: 0 comments

Cane in hand and bald head pale,
he slurs for devices to crack
the hollow crust of pain.
The plate of food is picked at
on pillowed knee and he stares
at the window’s painted movement.

Day collages dark cast and enlightened mist.

He says, He’s just not like he was before,
to the gifted copy singing through speakers on the floor.
The true moment long passed, the gift still circles
again and again for rebirth in willing imaginations.
Perhaps the truth was too conscious of the old man listening.

Rain drapes the ever streets of our routed motions.

The old man stares, but at ocean breath
and sun-baked skin. His own truth calls.
Cane taps the death (a crack in the pain)
and I wonder: what listening voice was it
plumbed the depths of his fragile ear
where his own giving lay disguised?

editors note: That cane is all that's left to hold back earth which will swallow us home. Eventually... - mh

To Gerry Mulligan

featured in the poetry forum December 15, 2013  :: 0 comments

Happiness cannot be expressed
because we all think it’s phony.
Thank you, Gerry Mulligan, the Irishman

playing blues in New York, putting
bebop into dixie—or was it the other way round?
In that case you really were kind.

Let your humming baritone be
the voice of a sudden friend
in the middle of Los Angeles

or clouds breaking over the coastline
where Highway 1 shines like a string
gone slack out of the basin.

Whatever it was you found there
I hope to God it still exists. We could all
use a little happiness without the ubiquitous

irony of eyes not seeing eyes,
sincere expressions of insincerity,
and a new track mark to conceal.

editors note: Music to give feelings a face we can look in the eye and speak the truth. - mh

Two Trees

featured in the poetry forum September 27, 2013  :: 0 comments

Two dead trees stripped of leaves
and all branches but the mains
open skyward to hold the distance.

In their holding three peaks trace
the horns of the devil’s crown.
His brow will yet be under proud feet,

but what weight to carry the liberty of ascension
back to two trees sunken in the ground
like hands tied and desperate fingers reaching.

editors note: Devil and Divinity, earth and sky; a bruised heel and a will to fly. There go you and there go I. - mh