“I Can Give You the Gift of the Moon’s Shine”

featured in the poetry forum August 24, 2018  :: 0 comments

I’ve been in the city bottlenecking
and breathing
slower than the cruisers
who cruise their cars at night.
I play records at the slowest RPM
so the words come out
without sounding uptight.
I hide out
in the dive-down
up to heaven,
come down Lord,
carry me home.
The Bible belt
gets looser on my hips
as I kiss
die-cast aluminum lips.
I spill the salt from my teeth
into the street
where there’s a man
who will lick it from my shoes.
He asks for the time,
but I just hand him the moon’s shine.
I tell him, “Drink this, my friend,
and let the stars in your eyes live.
Let them sparkle
with the city’s tower lights.”

– Kevin Daiss

editors note: Give all you can. There's no city ordinance against moonhandling. - mh clay

Ice Cream

featured in the poetry forum August 20, 2018  :: 0 comments

a maple walnut ice cream cone
at Eileen’s Dairy Bar
where Judy
a teenage waitress
Eileen’s daughter
tall and slender,
“a rose yet to bloom”
I told Johnny Garibaldi
who asked what I thought
of her
the words coming unbidden
from my lips
he blabbed it
all over
and I regretted many times
“a rose yet to bloom”
shouted on the street,
on the school bus,
I stayed away from Eileen’s
until desperate for an ice cream
pistachio, butter pecan, black raspberry
I put my thin dime
into Judy’s hand
and she did not say
“thank you.”

– Wayne Burke

editors note: Ridiculed for context (not held), when all you want is ice cream (with sprinkles, please.) - mh clay

Skin Hunger

featured in the poetry forum August 17, 2018  :: 0 comments

If skin hunger
were a health emergency
recognized by the World Health Organization,
Gillian’s gentle face would be
plastered on depressing posters
prepared to promote awareness.
She hasn’t done the deed since her divorce
was finalized fifteen years ago
and has misplaced the self-esteem to
foray into physical affection,
especially the sort that requires
copious quantities of exposed flesh.
Bleakly bundled up
in the microtundra of Wisteria Park,
she waxes severe before buying
a box of drugstore chocolate drops,
a chaser to the heart-shaped pizza
that will grease her fingertips
til they glisten like De Beers diamonds
during her Valentine’s dinner-for-one
while she devours a dreamy Doris Day romcom
in the king-size bed where later she’ll
promote her pillow to patient lover.

– Adrian Slonaker

editors note: Sadly sustaining. Happiness maybe; pillow for now. - mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 16, 2018  :: 0 comments

Laughter in sad. No joy in moil.
Nix snicker at sob. Nor smile
at a broken heart.
At no time, a peal of tears.
Mirthful melancholy. Mourn merrily.
Unhappy cackle.
Josh a weeper. Joke despair.
Yuk no yew. Paint blue with hilarity.
Not guffaw at awful.
Deign chortle at cry.
Forget hearty grief.
Neither giggle at the grave or die laughing.


– Vern Fein

editors note: Absolutely imperative! Unless, of course... - mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 15, 2018  :: 0 comments

One by one the cliff erodes,
ice bores deeper,
words stop making sense:
abyss, crucify, alliteration—

passion comes in through fog.
Who claims we must remember?
Skin always knows pain.
fingertips happiness, feet satisfaction.

– Michael H. Brownstein

editors note: We can feel the answers. The questions will come, in time. - mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 12, 2018  :: 0 comments

“Optics is the philosophy of extracting daylight from night.” In the eternal gloominess
after the withering of a candle, at last he lifted his hands
so dusty with silver grey. People flocked to the pile of ore
he had dug out. “We make a lock out of it,

so daylight will evaporate no more!” Wolfram remained imperturbable
in a Petri dish, shimmering like an unfolding lotus
rising from sacred relics. He looked outside: the earth had been divided into two
by light and shadow. The Old World
in gauzy pink dusk, while oceans in the New World were surging over
a crescent horizon. Once inside the lock cylinder

restless sounds converted into tranquility, spheres of tungsten wires sank and floated up
in branches of the river of night, purged itself of dross
and shone. “Sleep now! The flames on the eastern ranges
will quench it with more heat and light!” They fell asleep with prayers or totems, none of whom rose early the next day

to witness this reunion. Wolfram, a blind saint, wrapped in rays of light
without knowing it, walked past the cliffs, bumped into the sun
but walked again through it, like what he did
back in savage times, he hesitated a moment
wondering what it was, that he was brushing elbows with

– Xiaoyuan Yin

editors note: Blind blundering; trying not to mistake theory for knowledge. - mh clay

Autumn (Acrostic)

featured in the poetry forum August 10, 2018  :: 0 comments

Under deciduous trees
That shed leaves like heavenly tears
Undone like strings
Memories flutter to the ground
Now all my seasons are cold

~ Rizwan Saleem

editors note: It sucks to be the sap, left with the sap. - mh clay

Here We Are Again

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

We went through things had an upswing
when we believed
in love and goodness,
and the world wasn’t such an unsafe space.

We could ignore the riff raff believe we were
doing good with our small donations our
pity poems, the way we acknowledged the problems.
We drank lattés during meetings we made rules

lost in archives. Now, miles from a bright future
we buckle in the wind surprised at the swindle
how much slid away, how wrong we were
about what might have been right. No, it was never

but we held hope a feather in the wind falling
into gutters where a storm rages and the homeless
live against weather, with wet socks and cold feet
that atrophy with their loss of circulation.

There are so many traumas to contend with
to caress and hold close but out of sight this work
we do endless a battle for our salt for our pittance,
what we should give to be here. For we hold this world,

our corner, together, sweep our gutters and give hand-
outs more than we are able, we fall behind bruised
yet must rise from each stumble pray the next
generation will take on washing the feet of those

who’ve walked miles we behoove them pay forward
for what has been inherited. Yes, it is a mess
with many to blame. Years of serious backlash
to weather, but keep standing find the footholds.

– Julene Tripp Weaver

editors note: No exchanges, no refunds, all sales final. - mh clay

After a Few Drinks

featured in the poetry forum July 24, 2018  :: 0 comments

After a few drinks
The world shuts me down
The world shuts me up
And the head spins

The world’s din becomes sonorous
Fire spreads in the breathing tunnel
A numinous dragon entering and leaving
The sixth finger trembles
The seventh just mocks at your stupidity

After a few drinks
Thoughts abandon me
And I’m stress-free
Instead, images pop up
Like bloody nuances of Kathmandu city

15 minutes later I ramble nonsense
And liquor writes what I write not
And it speaks the words of underworld

I yell: I can still dance
These shaky touches rattle the revolving phone’s screen
And the room screams da da guh guh hazz hazz
I yell: stop the damn cacophony
(the world shuts me down)

After a few drinks
I empty the half-full Old Durbar Black Chimney
And fill the dwarf glasses
And empty self

After a few drinks
I shut down the world
A crow cuts this city into two

I think I passed out.

– Arun Budhathoki

editors note: That's pretty much it: empty glass, empty self. - mh clay

The Last of the Load-Ups

featured in the poetry forum July 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

A dirge for Not So Famous Amos, the Goofy Newfie, 2001-2011

You made the man
who collects your pooh
cry, seeing the blood,
and so did we,
as did they all as we left you behind.
After the man cried and the evening before we left you behind,
your head owled around your shoulder.
Rolling that imperious shark eye
over me, and then back to your dinner
(all ground and awash in a primordial gravy),
“All right, but this is the last time.”
The next morning
we did our perp walk and there you were,
installed in the usual place.
Your tail swept the floorboards,
but that was all. It was time.
We loaded up,
you making a big boy leap of hope,
the back seat impersonally received your scrambling mass.
Charging into the waiting room
(could there be other canines who thrived on being probed
and stuck and flipped and opened up as much as you?),
you had arrived, your beloved sanctum, your journey replete.
On the crabbed exam floor your head nodded, down with a sigh,
and peace sucked all the oxygen out of the space.
A glassine stillness shivered through us all.
Through my mind’s peripherals,
your blacky boy girth slipped past and lumbered down the corridor.
On to the kennels, to hobnob once more.

– Sharon O’Callaghan Shero

editors note: It's a sad-sweet, end-of-meet event; when down to the kennels, all! - mh clay