featured in the poetry forum October 5, 2022  :: 0 comments

You were never the winner nor the runner up, you were bronze.
You were the finalist child pianist prodigy (regional)
You were the County champion who gave it all up
You were the nearly took a Master’s degree
You were the face on the inside, not the cover of the NME
You were the one that could have had a doctorate
You were your mother’s only son except you weren’t
You were the flu that was only a cold
You were bronze.

You were gorgeous until they knew you better and laughed at you
You were charming until you were unmasked inevitably as a bore
You took out patents for the things we never even knew we needed
You followed the complicated recipe, but it never ever did taste good
You were the lover extreme you thought, but you were just needy
Your band was the romo-ist of the romos on the day that music changed
You were bronze.

You were yesterday’s man, the also-ran, the flash in the pan, the house built on sand
You were numbers one to eight on a ten-point plan
You were the poemless poet, the easily led, the gutless hero, the Procrastinator General.
You were not the Bradley Wiggins nor the pinnacle of perfection
And your bike ride revolutions will not be televised
You did like green eggs and ham and were not Sam I am
You were not a Jeepster for my love
Nor were you any type of victim when you dumped me
It was not some enchanted evening nor a tragic B-side tale from the beloved Smiths.
You were not ol’ blue eyes, Johnny Thunders, Albert Einstein, nor Garbo.
You were not writ large upon the firmament of fame.
You were bronze.

– Karen Withecomb

editors note:

Even though you place, you’ll leave no trace. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 29, 2022  :: 0 comments

It is a loop.
We suffer from rage and
Being impressed with ourselves
And so expand our chests, expand
Our chimeral wealth, expand
Our tribal reach and so commit
Unspeakable violence, sing
Of self, discord and domination.
Then we defeat ourselves, look back,
See we have accomplished nothing,
Push forward our sincere regrets.
We redefine wealth, offer homage
To humility, subdue the worship
Of self, learn the lattices of cooperation.
In twenty years we have forgotten,
And enter the cycle again. Perhaps
If we go around enough, we get a prize.

– Ken Poyner

editors note:

You’d think we would, at least, get dizzy. – mh clay

I Am Not the Jealous Type but It Still Strikes Me

featured in the poetry forum September 21, 2022  :: 0 comments

I take my lunch to work in a plastic bag
marked from the local liquor store
In a hurry, I don’t notice
but someone does and
I start thinking about the dead bird
I passed walking to work that day
I named it Lucky and now, it’s
singing to me in surround sound
Harder to focus
on the small talk-sword in my stomach

I’m nowhere and
Lucky is everywhere

– Casey Renee Kiser

editors note:

Paper or plastic; it takes some luck to stab your way out. – mh clay

Up from Calumet

featured in the poetry forum September 19, 2022  :: 0 comments

Up from angled roads paved on top of ancient beach ridges
that were once the trails of indigenous people
from sedge meadows, calcareous prairies
too sandy, too wet, to plow
where sand was mined to build the railroads and highways
where king rails fish in greenish yellow slag leached marshes

Up 294 North, 80 West from Calumet
past Thornton Quarry, past Ford Motor Company
past the pig services plants
past metal scrap yards
and the Old Indian Boundary Line

past the Alsip water tower and the Swap-O-Rama red white and blue

past billboards that advertise
fireworks just over the border,
a showcase of all the local injury lawyers
who will get you the money the world owes you

past backhoes and cranes
and rows and rows of jersey barriers
past dump trucks filled with gravel to make new things
and others filled with broken pieces of old roads
to be taken away, but not very far
to join a hundred years of spoil piles
that riddle the South Side
as sure as air raid sirens will be tested on Tuesday mornings
and the coyotes will howl back at them from forest preserves
where they live unnoticed by their human neighbors
or occasionally are mistaken for dogs

The cars and semi-trucks speed directly at me
then under me, sitting in the Southland Oasis
above the overpass looking through walls
of glass at the traffic
watching the circulation of a giant heartless artery

reflections of beautiful young women moving behind me
float like ghosts in the glass… and disappear
I hear the year’s first red-winged blackbirds
far away; almost drowned out by the sound
of the traffic.

– Dan Spencer

editors note:

What we can watch beside the dotted-white line. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 18, 2022  :: 0 comments

My father and I
beneath the monarch oak
a sapling thrives

fading into the fog
a kayak appears

a lingam melting

– Kashiana Singh

editors note:

In flashes of synapse, we sense the divine. – mh clay

The Last Supper

featured in the poetry forum September 15, 2022  :: 0 comments

Blunt guts discarded
along the kitchen counter

toilet lid busted in half
on the bathroom floor

fire damage in the pantry
next to the refrigerator
tagged with graffiti

and naked pinup posters
cover fist craters
in the hallway walls.

You have the last supper—
a chuck steak cooked to
the temperature of moo

and some boxed red wine
you drink from a styrofoam cup—
before you finally
have to turn over your key.

It’s safe to say
you’re not getting
the security deposit back.

– Cord Moreski

editors note:

It’s the landlord’s loss when you live large. – mh clay

Let’s detestify them!

featured in the poetry forum September 12, 2022  :: 0 comments

Much power
is vested

upon dicks
that believe

wombs are
a part of

that rib bone
an old male

broke off
from them

Why do these
dicks decree

what wombs
must decide

her body, his gun
her body, his choice

– Ankur Jyoti Saikia

editors note:

Can I get an Amen? – mh clay

End of the Affair

featured in the poetry forum September 2, 2022  :: 0 comments

He’s not,
The knife,
Is out,
He can’t,
The bleeding.

– Taylor Dibbert

editors note:

Seeking triage for a troubled soul. – mh clay

The Cardinal

featured in the poetry forum September 1, 2022  :: 0 comments

The morning the cardinal started striking
His reflection like a match
Against the kitchen window
We had walked back from the pool
Through the fields behind
Your apartment
Shoulders peeling
Lips the color of
Fanta grape
We ate honeysuckle along the gate
Kicking anthills in the alley
And our steps exploding in grasshoppers
With socks full of burs
Climbing the stairs,
Burping Dr. Pepper
Your headphones
Playing a cassette
Recorded off the radio

We were sunburned
Smelling like chlorine
Thin freckled and bleached
Seeing halos around the streetlights
And the trees singing with cicadas
A mockingbird echoing in the stairwell
Like a chord in a soundboard

How I loved my body next to you
Held like a heartbeat
Strung like a sentence
Counting afternoons
In cigarette burns on the windowsill

How I loved my body next to you
Pinned under the ceiling fan
Flung on the bed
Like we were clothes
Just pulled from the dryer

How I loved my body next to you ¬¬¬¬
pressing your length against me

We left the clinic with a gauze dried red
Like a blanket flower
We used a payphone to call a friend
To drive us home
And I had a sobbing in my chest,
Stone heavy that didn’t make a sound
Drowning in the mornings
Pointing fingers, counting regrets

You fell asleep against me on the couch.
Listening to the June bugs thumping against the screen
The bottoms of your feet were black from being barefooted
And I could feel the rise of your side
Becoming in time with mine
As we took the air in the room and
Turned it with our breath
Like the apartment was a prayer wheel
And the tip of my tongue was the point of a top
And you, it’s spinning crown

How I loved my body next to you
Held like a heartbeat
strung like a sentence
Counting afternoons
In cigarette burns on the windowsill.

– Corey Johnson

editors note:

Sweet regrets over choices made with a sobbing in the chest. – mh clay

Dark Rests

featured in the poetry forum August 31, 2022  :: 0 comments

Light moves,

Dark rests:

Thick, like scraps
Of wet cloth

That hang heavy

On the back of
the world’s
Wingback chair.

– J.R. Barner

editors note:

Where we are the dream. – mh clay