featured in the poetry forum July 5, 2020  :: 0 comments

Love needs a reno. Not just a lick of paint.
Strip the walls like bedsheets. Sand the floor.
Knock holes, not boots. Disinfect old stains.
Raze the outhouse, keep the shit out there.
Uproot old memories. Print a new blue plan.
Air out every room and start again.

– Daragh Byrne

editors note:

Let’s get to fixin’… – mh clay

The dream pandemic

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

Faces in the water,
My dreams
Fire caressing my heart with long flames
Love in pandemic times
Illusionary infatuation to pass the time
Voluntary contamination with daydreaming
A form of depression?
An immersion in fairy tales to survive the bleak reality?
Could be this the antidote?
Faces in the water, my dreams
Crowded with people
Empty streets in the morning
Not a single soul, just chirping birds
No line to be crossed between dream and daylight
Not sure that I need that distinction anymore
I sunk my face into the waters by now

– Iulia Gherghei

editors note:

Sometimes, gotta take a dive, just to stay afloat. – mh clay

One Crooked Moment

featured in the poetry forum June 29, 2020  :: 2 comments

a loose brain
in a lukewarm bath

circling ever further
total madness

the juices of my flesh
run clearer
but not

I’ve got a cold
that will not end
that suffocates me
while I eat
and think
and drink

the weight of everything
leans on my shoulders
like a perverse relative
whom I wish to forget

and grins at me
like a skull
my own skull
time’s skull

of sand
no one will ever

– Harris Coverley

editors note:

Get a grin? Feel the grin. That’s somethin’! – mh clay

Old School

featured in the poetry forum June 26, 2020  :: 0 comments

Old School #2 we called him
6 feet, salt n’ pepper mini fro, knife-long yellow fingernails
Thick vein straight down his toothpick bicep
6 teeth he had, maybe 8
Swear to God wettest jumper I’ve seen
Ugly like Magic Johnson’s
“Practice!” he used to shout
One night in between games, I asked him,
“How old are you?”
He relaced his black-and-red Jordan Ones
Then he answered, “Sheeeit”
One time he blew past me, so I fouled him hard
Bumped him midair
He spun then landed softly, somehow, on his ass
“My bad,” I told him, feeling awful
“Sheeeit,” he said, fist-bumping me, flashing lonely island teeth
“That was a three-muthafucking-sixty!”
This was the Summer of the Call Center
Cancer patients raging through headsets
Late fees, interest rates, screw your evil company policy
Yessir, yes ma’am, I’m happy to cancel your account, right on it
Late after work, my friend and I would drive to Gold’s Gym
Old School #2 & crew already hooping
I remember thinking, I’m 20 years old
How much longer’s this shit gonna last?
One night in between games, I asked him,
“Why they call you Old School #2?”
Then, “Where’s #1 at?”
He brushed the bottoms of his Jordans
Scratched his fro and said, “Used to be two of us but
The other guy’s dead, so it’s only me now.
Crazy muthafucking world!”
I scanned the court
Half the young dudes from the Big Red warehouse, H-E-B plant
Paychecks dumped on skull tattoos, praying hands
Right then I knew, with relief (remorse)—
I wouldn’t be next in line.

– Alex Salinas

editors note:

OK, a a little longer, so long as we stand down the line. “Sheeeit!” – mh clay

Resurgence of the Tumor

featured in the poetry forum June 21, 2020  :: 0 comments

The tumor was lessened,
held somewhat at bay
for a period of eight years,
but now the loud echoes
of a familiar fatalism
are running rampant as ever
throughout the corridors
of the White House
just like the bile
that runs through the veins
of the dictator
who violently calls for
attacks against peaceful protesters.

That old tumor has begun a full-fledged resurgence
as deceit falls like Fascist hail upon the sometimes-murdered masses.

– Heath Brougher

editors note:

Cut out that thing! – mh clay

‘Own’ the conundrum

featured in the poetry forum June 19, 2020  :: 0 comments

‘Own’ is aimed to keep things in control and ‘owning’ is
the ebbing and crashing waves by the lighthouse in my chest.
Let it come and see my naked body
walking around in this room without a sky
releasing what I believe is the pulse of exhaled sighs
leaving wanting outside this space.

I find it baffled by my choice of understanding ‘the self’ –
some days it understands the continuum of growing organs of loneliness, other days it asks me to follow the clock of conditioning built inside my mind and
submerge wholly in mechanical design of things.
It doesn’t have a name to attach itself to a feeling –
I can call it whatever I desire and comfort my raving mind.

The meditating pigeon in the rain is
the monk who has found it all
accepted the disapproving paths and made peace with it.
Who owns the road to realizing the islands of broken watches?
Everyone sets and reaches some place;
my body is stuck in the stillness of passing through the conundrums.

– Sufia Khatoon

editors note:

In the place between choices, owning or owned. – mh clay

Mother Tongue

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

You know how your mother tongue separates you?
In answering your phone, sitting between your friends
when your brother asks when to pick you up;
in the surprising tone of your colleague who tells you how
your accent is different from those whose language you call your own.

I carry my language in surprise of people’s faces and sometimes in my own,
when I recognize a native smile,
a nod, a curse word intended as a joke
and in the folds of long-forgotten songs.

Yesterday my friends and I sang Sindhi festive songs at a superstore in low voices
while we were in the spice section and giggled
at why these songs never made sense and yet we knew them all.

Sometimes languages aren’t meant to voice opinions,
they’re intended to connect dots,
of people, maps, rivers;
draw lines of love between strangers.

I carry my mother tongue both as a burden and as a privilege,
of knowing all those sounds and words that emanate feelings and emotions
that are not known in other languages.
And yet,
sometimes words are never enough,
it’s the association of language that suffices.

– Paras Abassi

editors note:

Use your language lines to connect. Yes! – mh clay

The Sunset View

featured in the poetry forum June 8, 2020  :: 0 comments

Now I told her not to rush it
The fall would be as natural as death
Her head was too heavy
Like a clogged drain
Thoughts weighing her down
Her mind cracked before the rest of her

I told her, she was out of shape
Crawling through days of classes
And panicking for each person
Remembering the dates
Forgetting the days
It should be no surprise she fell
Falling a 10 story sprint
She fell like it was a marathon
Swinging limbs striving to reach
The sidewalk in the sky

She was wearing a pink sweater
I told her it didn’t go good with crimson
And falling is a pretty girl’s sport
We all look the same dressed in red
It’s a shame she forgot her glasses,
I told her not to

No one ever comments
On a brilliant sunset
When they fall from the sky

– Grace Giska

editors note:

A pragmatist broaches the subject. – mh clay

all the angels sing

featured in the poetry forum May 31, 2020  :: 0 comments

smoke disappears
on a porch
in the rain
and further
leads to
dreams of
could have

– Tohm Bakelas

editors note:

Hold your breath; extend the song… – mh clay

of grave unimportance

featured in the poetry forum May 29, 2020  :: 0 comments

the jobcentre crony
is surprised to see me:
your appointment’s not until later, she says
I’ve a funeral to go to, I explain.
any chance we could do it now?
and she rolls her eyes: well I suppose we can fit you in,
she roots around for a form.

we have some stuff in common:
her collar is white
but she’s working class, like me.
her collar has hung her;
she’s dead, like my friend.
but she does not and she cannot know this,
as she asks me the all-important question:
what jobs have you applied for this week?

and since there aren’t any going, I say:
and my wit, it is a worm
scratching too loud at her coffin lid
and she wakes up angry
as would I
if I died and went to the jobcentre
but it’s cool: they don’t want me here
in this life
or the next
and aw crap, is there really another life to fail at?

– Tanner

editors note:

No worries, focus. Get this life failed right; fail better at the next. – mh clay