The Black Cloud

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

My darkness
Is unbearable
I lay underneath the covers
Curled up and blinking

Why
Do I feel so wretched?
Always?
If I had the strength I would change this terrycloth robe
Wash it maybe
Look out the window and not have it burn my eyes

Instead I lay here
I push the blankets away and
Look up at the pimpled paint job on the ceiling
The craquelure of antique white
I loathe that color
It pierces my soul with
Bland forbearance

What am I to do?
Nothing.
Survive.
Take a pill. Talk about it.

The phone rings as it does
My maid enters
There’s someone on the line
There’s a problem
It’s always the same

A rather large stegosaurus ravaging the south seas
A rich magnate with bombs and a timer
Laocoön’s prophecy coming true
It’s just too much

She holds the phone with her hands on her hips
waiting impatiently
I know that she has work to do
and that I am no help, stalling
There are dishes and laundry
She wants to wash these sheets
I crawl out and put on my tights
My belt
My cape

She hands me
my multivitamin and my smoothie
as I leave
but I’ll be back
and will slip like a python
into the new ironed sheets
before the evening darkness
Which awaits patiently for me
And I will stay there
Until that phone rings again

– Susan Wiggins

editors note: The prophet could not foresee the angst of superheroes’ existential ennui. – mh clay

It Depends

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

In the afternoon
we argue about the meaning
and spelling
of infinitesimal
you thinking it means
infinitely large numerous extending
me just the opposite
and though I am right
we settle on the infinite
which no one can take in anyway

– David Thornbrugh

editors note: When extending vocabulary renders us speechless. – mh clay

IMMIGRANT REFLECTION

featured in the poetry forum November 18, 2018  :: 0 comments

In my country
we only dressed for church
and let our privates dangle
otherwise. We studied
the webs of spiders, the
flight of swallows, the
whims of the wind.

We never learned much.
How to catch a fish.
How to dip in dance.
How to wait out the weather.

Back there we thought
that was enough. We
honored dogs, fed them first,
sprawled in the sun and tried
to howl in greeting.

We had some rules. People
brought things they’d found
to church and took other
things home. Sometimes
just a smooth rock or a flower
or a feather.

It was like touch chess here.
If you picked it up you had to
keep it and if you brought
it back the next week
people shook their heads.

But nobody would bite you,
not for that. I left before
I learned how we reproduced.
Maybe the same as here, dipping
and howling. I’m trying to
figure it out. What’s
different, what’s the same.

I’d go back. It doesn’t seem
right to wear jeans all day
scrunched on a sofa out of the sun.
I miss my dog. But I’ll
get over it. It’s part of the game.
I gave this girl a pebble
and she smiled.

– Tony Gentry

editors note: Custom can be consternation for newcomers. – mh clay

And

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

They didn’t know it,
but there were hazmat buildings
right next to an elementary school.
We were separated by a deep ravine
and trees that I was told

couldn’t be removed
without biohazard gear,
the branches so infected
that you could break them open
and a devil made entirely made of snow

would pop out.
Through a small clearing
I found a spot
where I could see the elementary school
looking like a romantic comedy film star

sunning on a boring Tuesday.
I screamed to it
to run
but it didn’t listen.
I turned around

and went back in the building
where I was told
I would be exposed to radiation
whether I liked it or not.
I didn’t.

– Ron Riekki

editors note: We may bloom toxic now, but half-life is forever. – mh clay

COPULATION

featured in the poetry forum November 9, 2018  :: 0 comments

The sun she became a woman
and spread her hot legs
for the young man in the moon
and oh what a wild child
that Earth is.
Never gives you the cold shoulder like Mercury,
the orgasmic war cry of Mars,
tantalizing sighs of Venus,
runs cold, rock-strewn rings around you,
or up and disappears like dark, irrelevant Pluto.

Just lives in blood and sorrow
and the ecstasy of its
history until
it will turn over in bed at last
and do itself in,
suicide by spoil.

– Vern Fein

editors note: Just like Mom & Dad; put all the elements for self destruction into us. – mh clay

Souvenirs

featured in the poetry forum November 4, 2018  :: 0 comments

I tend to pick some souvenirs
From not only the places I travel to
A memoir of the time spent
A miniature of that awesome monument,
But also from the strangers I meet
A smooth glide to make more space
A smart solution aiding a swift escape

Their bodies are their own worlds
Immersed and inclined in themselves
If it’s a world, it’s a place to visit
If it’s a place to visit, they have a gift shop
Showing all they had in store for the day
All memories that were stimulated
All philosophies that were ready-made
All gestures that were hand-led
I bet you most of it surprised even them

I surreptitiously grab these souvenirs
For no price is asked for them in exchange
But taking them does seem a tad bit discomforting

I go home and stuff them in my jammed jar
Sift through, and inject in my veins the ones
Those that add up to my ideal behavior

– Swagi Desai

editors note: It’s nurture when nature drives us to take from all we meet. – mh clay

Down Below

featured in the poetry forum October 31, 2018  :: 0 comments

It was a basement apartment.
Concrete steps without a handrail.
Faded blue chipped plaster walls.
There was an aroma of stagnate steamy
air and garbage. Light
bulbs hung from brown wires.
Echoes of dripping water. Heavy
footsteps in the hallway above. Pipes
ached from sending hot water to the
floors above. The furnace growled with
energy. Wires emerged between beams
and openings in the walls. A metal door
slams shut, waking the dead while
stirring the rats.

– Joan M. Donovan

editors note: On this Hallows Eve, we wickedly wonder what could lurk on either side o’ that slam. – mh clay

things we lost in florida

featured in the poetry forum October 25, 2018  :: 0 comments

we used to pick blackberries by the brackish lake edge
praying no gator would come up from the ghost-black depth
we used to hold hands in private
praying no daddy would catch a glimpse
we’d share a handle of whiskey down by the water
hiding from the headlights
now we either sputter or explode
and we both know
you’ll be back in a month
and I’ll let you wander in and haggle my price a little lower
we all get lost that way
see my soul ain’t exactly where I left it
but then neither are my keys

– Mela Blust

editors note: A lot paid for a little gain; but, keys are cheap as locksmiths. – mh clay

First Steps

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

I walked the old street last night
and found your front steps now claimed
by new sweethearts who are probably
ignorant of the historical significance of that
spot, marking as it does the starting place of
our long and harmonious relationship,
except for that rough patch in the late 80’s.

– Phil Huffy

editors note: Though place forgets us, we remember place. – mh clay

Gray Sand

featured in the poetry forum October 19, 2018  :: 0 comments

wet gray sand
gobs dropping through fingers

blustery day
wind slaps goose-pimpled skin

I create footsteps for detectives to follow
as of now no crime

a house on stilts
a lady holding her skirt above the waves

maybe the past can’t be revisited
but ghosts leave fingerprints

some think they are so smart like
those sails far out on the horizon riding the wind

that far free joy so unreal
as feet here walk around the driftwood, seaweed, rock

there’s something in the pit of the stomach
seawater, salt shriveling the human

everything has been decided
tides carry out the past, return only wreckage

where can one hide a body?
where can one hide a heart?
not in the gray sand.

– Dan Cuddy

editors note: No tempting a capricious tide. Keep your crimes to yourself, undone. – mh clay