The Red Grasshopper

featured in the poetry forum September 22, 2020  :: 0 comments

One Day
You heard
your name
in the midst of the crowd:
Somebody was calling you

You turned back
There was neither the crowd
nor the sound

An old woman
with a doll in her tiny hands
stood beside you

She smiled and said –
Nobody called you
It was just an echo
of the rustling leaves
in the silent jungle

You were then
A red grasshopper

– Raja Puniani

editors note:

You are it and it is you and what was that sound, anyway? – mh clay

Child at Dawn

featured in the poetry forum September 20, 2020  :: 0 comments

A child’s hand outstretched; the morning air
Sprawled in among the cabinets; a cat
Paws gentle on the windowsill, a broom
Stood in the corner, glass jars filled with grain
The day will be quite warm, the morning meal
Is hours off; each room is full and still
The carpets lie, the clocks speak on the walls
The burden of the attic shifts, and drops
Fall murmuring; the breezes rise and cease
Each bed but one still weighted, linnet song
Deceives the silence, woodsmell dries the air
The ceilings brighten, all the lamps unlit

I promise to forsake no mote of day
For I have had my decades in the wind
The whirl and flux; I seek the moment whole
And unattached, all spark and sin forgot
The child takes a crayon in his hand
No wind can sweep the vision from his soul
Not though he never draw it out; believe
The cherry blossoms in his outstretched hand

– Alan Cohen

editors note:

Believe it and draw. – mh clay

Parlous Us

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

This is not a romance novel.
It’s a short ending
to a long story
you’ve heard before.
Common, lurid tale
of love and something
This is not a whodunit.
The processor is unreliable,
the data corrupt,
the files no good.
Screen version:
You run a move
he follows and lust
follows and ends.
He runs
a move
on somebody else.
You could call this a thriller
but not for you.
There was an intimacy
to our disorder.
Until he killed it.

– Mickey J. Corrigan

editors note:

How to love, hazardly ever after. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 17, 2020  :: 0 comments

couldn’t take more than we could toke
let me hide myself in you, all i want
is to fall asleep, wake up next to a goddess

the first time i fell in Love

i had a warm Miller high life in my hand
first thing she said to me around the bonfire
after a couple shots of Jameson,
“Would you like a fresh beer?
You’ve probably talked enough for now”
i hadn’t said a word all night except for
Yes, i would love a fresh beer.

did not recognize myself in the mirror
Love changes you in the most horrible ways
while still standing in front of you laughing
naked reminded to brush your teeth

be on my side/be on your side

all women have a favorite wash rag
some for special occasions
men seldom have much use for these things
unless talked into an impossible day of
drag me over your rainbow

I’m used to washing with pine tar roads and bristlecones
hardness sleeps under stars in fields of wheat
covered in sweat and mud a breath away from creation
wash clothes close to a drainage ditch, culvert of sacrifice
please don’t walk away, i need to feel you close
still looking for her eyes through wisps of feral dreams
a bite to know you’re there on neck kiss soft treachery

another pretty face
another chance to dream
guilty of the same old things

stars blink abandonment

beside the old water tower in Denton, NC,
was a trail, road ends you could walk into the woods to an old sawmill when it would snow, dry kindling and sawdust could always be found to build a fire it was one of the most romantic settings frozen branches crashing far off in the distance her body held close hornets nest heart
breath of kerosene take off iron skin and bones raised on Rock and Roll please don’t give up on me. Quite yet.

– Wolf Kevin Martin

editors note:

What can you say better than this, Cyrano? – mh clay

“Good night sweetheart”

featured in the poetry forum September 16, 2020  :: 0 comments

I used to wish that
I had been
named Lullaby

so I could go to bed
with every body,
every night.

I was so silly.

I didn’t even need that name at all!

– Tess Hunt

editors note:

A sweet dream for sweet dreams. – mh clay

Black Canyon Aubade

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

These cottonwoods are giving the canyon its
narrative of whispers, they’re awakening,
creaking and clicking with herd immunity
and like me haven’t fully transcended the
nuisances of camaraderie. Below in the blistering
sky blue heat we’re flunking civilization, every
day sings like an empty street or one of the book
jacket covers for Camus’ “The Plague”. The forest
decodes my every move. The sun glisters through the
thin ranks of lodgepole pine searching for something
it lost, found, and then lost again. On a tree stump
grow dollops of sweet-scented pitch and I can hear
Keats roar:

heard melodies are sweet but those
unheard are sweeter

nice to know
there’s still room for him in my hardboiled mind that
sometimes refuses to listen or whisper or accept
the sound of simple open space. There’s wave
overlapping wave of grim news from down below.
The colloquy among the trees defies even poetry.
Our two nights were bulbous with silence but I wanted
to tear away from it, relearn some of my forgotten
languages, breathe in banned camp smoke,
stand in wonder at who stoked the fire beneath that
pink dawn cloud
– tumble down into the labyrinthine desert
and evaporate, leave my desiccated heart to the quiet that
knows no shadow and why is every poem now harder to resolve?
A rufous hummingbird, my favorite forest fetish,
darts in and out of the slivers of morning sun like a
blister with wings, trills out a journey of two-thousand miles,
enters my spirit like a new language. Told him I learned a
word today – windhovers – told him we were basically a
benign species, some of us were air signs, water signs,
some more attracted to war than others, many were
sweetness and light with a few fires to extinguish
inside now and then a few embers.

– John Macker

editors note:

Learning from nature – levitation above the loonies. – mh clay

Just Another Off-the-Rack Story

featured in the poetry forum September 10, 2020  :: 0 comments

They hang on the mind’s rack,
these ideas of self,
like coats in assorted sizes and brands,
to be tried on for texture and for fit.
It takes a lifetime to decide
which is which, right or wrong,
and too many years have come and gone
while the body tries these garments on–
outerwear for the inner soul.
But be prepared to be controlled
by an extra layer of skin to mold
your every groove, to wrap around
your every move.
Every action is subdued,
down to its hair-root thought.
And once bought and paid for
with your life, there is no return.
Though you’ll stand in long lines.
Though your mind will yearn for its lost treasures.
Though your body will burn for its stolen pleasures.
Every minute of your life will have been measured
by how worse you are for the wear.

– P.C. Scheponik

editors note:

Discount bin or designer win; it’s how you wear it. – mh clay

Do not self-isolate! (your house or your mind)

featured in the poetry forum September 7, 2020  :: 0 comments

From cave to shack to shanty
Luscious forest canopy
Humble abode, tenement slum
Brazilian hillside favelas
60’s high-rise, urban sprawl
90’s, noughties boom and bust
from all of this
our shelters from the storm evolve.

Hearth, once open,
invites only isolation in for tea –
where gadgets talk to satellites
that talk to family.
And strangers alike.
A world of breathless talkers, texters
connected, whatever.
Deaf to each other.

We have retreated inside
tongues tied by stigma,
cut adrift on a commode
of festering demons,
eyes blind
to the interconnectedness of a toilet pot;
that hub of revelation
where popes and poets
politicians and paupers
and the rest of the worst
and the best of us
the burden of stature or status,
succumb to the true nature of things
and come to understand
the great leveler of a toilet lid
in the upright position.

– Frank Phelan

editors note:

As you open your eyes to this, you might want to hold your nose. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 3, 2020  :: 0 comments

Mary… Mary… Virgin Mary
How did the myth of Jesus grow?

“Free fish and bread
And raising the dead

And oh yes,
the Mary,
we didn’t get to know.”

– B. B. Riefner

editors note:

There it is! The crux of the quandary; all whom we don’t get to know. – mh clay

I Do

featured in the poetry forum September 1, 2020  :: 0 comments

I do write.
I do feel.
I do say
what I mean.

I do work.
I do rest.
I do make
my machinery clean.

I do love.
I do hate.
I do pray
for God’s sake.

– Shreesham Pandey

editors note:

Yes, let’s do (for god’s sake). – mh clay