The word not said after 4 dry weeks

featured in the poetry forum August 1, 2019  :: 0 comments

I knew the drain brain strain
the sssiss of tires on wet streets
the highway seems half volume or twice as far
wading birds, fishing birds, birds that can drink a gallon at a time
eyes like aquariums, ponds of something thicker than water
with the busiest possible complexion

If I let my hands out in it they might not want to come in
till they lost all sense of direction and body temp
a sky so thick it begins to show cracks, loss of cohesion
even in times of surplus there’s no fair distribution

Do I dry my hair or my feet first,
these rare days my arm pits stay dry
times when looking up is losing focus, increased risk
no matter how regular the surface,
times when the smoothest are the biggest threat
not a time for dancing shoes, breathable shoes, exposed socks

When our driveway becomes lake country
when people move quickly with tunnel vision
mornings I’m unsure where I am or how I got here

editors note:

In a drought dither; hair or feet, no matter. Hydrate when you can. – mh clay

In a Beginning

featured in the poetry forum February 7, 2019  :: 0 comments

No matter how many trees we peel, how many cars
we turn into mosaics, i know this isn’t my city
though there’s a house with my name on it
overcoats for curtains, faded maps of imaginary nations for floors
how do you hang a one-way door
no matter how many mouths i open water refuses to enter me

First the scab, then the lake
still water brings algae brings fish brings birds
brings a sky to fly in, clouds for nightly shelter
we have no word for sun, no word for walking—
i either fly or run, with or against the ever wind
the traffic in my mind looking for places to work or eat
listening for a name i heard only once,
an accent no song can contain

Once let in
once without rain
the first fire can’t be stopped

editors note:

Home-boy or stranger, there’s fire in the danger. Get out while you can! – mh clay

Floor Drum

featured in the poetry forum October 8, 2018  :: 0 comments

As if on the floor, surrounded by things to hit time with,
smiling up toward the light, hundreds of sensors
on the bottoms of our legs and butts
reading the earth, feeding the street
aching to flood like a dog at the door,

What comes to my house not my house, space i borrow,
time i’m eaten by, ignoring how the house declines,
becoming more transparent, like 85 year old skin
still attached but increasingly scripture.

How paper can sometimes take human form, any form it wishes
when properly given the blues, when swimming beneath
the red horizon, flying like a star made from a paper cup—
a way to fold space and make it solid

As some napkins have bones, some whale bones
got wrapped around my body as if i was a ship
taking how many to what they weren’t ready for

A knock, a thrum, a semi going through a phone pole
so much held in we get deep enough for neutrinos
so far from home, so ready to dissipate our om, our back-beat:
if music   then dance   & other dancers

editors note: A different beat requires a different drum; so long as you can dance to it. (We welcome Dan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Waiting for the Dna Test

featured in the poetry forum May 1, 2018  :: 0 comments

Could i count the black dogs in the field if they stopped moving
or is it just 2 or 3 dogs displaying simultaneously all the places
they’ve been & will be there, chasing the ball of the sun,
playing tug of war with a hank of river

The crows near the homeless camp know me
breaking open a plastic bag of rain-soaked bagels & pastry
so more could eat, as more fly in

And what of our oak tormented by squirrels
strip-searched, gnawed, then expected to provide shelter
in a hole or crotch—who else is living there
not counting the moss machines, the insect processes

But i don’t mean bees, more functional & intelligent
than we could ever, no matter how we choose to miniaturize,
to export natural functions to devices we can never fix, only upgrade

Is there a mammal whose skin no one ever wore
a bird whose feathers didn’t decorate some body
the tree my door came from, the ice that became my window.

When a dogs tail is wagging. where are his teeth,
when i think it’s night but my windows are covered with crows,
as flesh is a veil, as clothes announce our sadness
at having so little fur and no feathers at all
just these thick bones to withstand small collisions
and keep us chained to the earth
we seldom rise from, seldom run across full speed
trailing slobber, dust and fleas of random memory.

I drive a mile to the Thirsty Dog; the bartender asks
if i’m a service animal, or might i be in season.

editors note:

To bee or not to be; not even the question when the answers are multiple choice. – mh clay

Here We Go Again

featured in the poetry forum August 4, 2016  :: 0 comments

Most years January doesn’t have to do much — its reputation’s enough, every day
in the 30s, rain with 20 mile wind from whatever direction you’re walking;
sometimes the rain polymers branches, cars and streets in cold hard transparency,
soaked soil and juggernaut wind bringing down trees and lines, increasing the darkness
that should be diminishing: the sun’s been up for hours but January wont let it out,

Jan doesn’t look at us at all, knows what we’re waiting for, so becomes 2 weeks longer —
February won’t mind, having been the shortest all its life, knows what complaining brings,
its only reward an extra day every 4 years like a gold star that won’t stick to its forehead,
February’s that long car ride, soon as it begins we’re asking, is it March yet?

March marches, Mars the god of war showing off its new but familiar uniforms,
this month of sideways rain, month of flowers teased into blossoming then frosted brown
by northern winds tromping the calendar line claiming Winter’s over

March has no idea how April got here or who let it in, April so caught
in its fashionable reflection, intoxicated by its own promise,
it seldom looks outside — why are you complaining, it’s April? –
put on your shorts, dust off your bike and celebrate your way to a terrible cold.

editors note:

Seized in the seasons, pulled by the politics of  passing time. – mh clay