The Backwards Man in His Hotel Room, 1961

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

Preliminary Inventory:

Bullet hole decal in the window pane.
Bad dreams to pay for room service. Something
At the bottom of the ice bucket I don’t want to see.

Observations and/or Complaints:

Raze every hotel between here & the harbor &
You still wouldn’t see the ocean. Footsteps on the
Ceiling from guests gone home thirty-five years ago.

Conversation in the Next Room:

The penne is frigging ice cold. I sent it
Back and twenny minutes later here
It comes again with parsley sprinkled on top.

Conversation in the Room on the Other Side:

What am I, a moron? Hey, gimme
Those opera glasses, maybe there’s a
Vogue model across the street getting dressed

A Possible Solution:

The answer is static electricity, sir. The
Missing sock is stuck to the back of your
Shirt. I all but guarantee it.

It will turn up when you put your shirt
On the hanger. Failing that, you’ll encounter
It when getting dressed for dinner one evening

A Questionable Proposition:

The belt is reversible, also the vest. When you
Invert the lenses of your 20/200 prescription
Glasses, you can see through solid walls

A Game of Bingo, Perhaps:

Twist to the east, & lock eyes with the beast
Twist to south, & stare into his mouth
Twist to the west, all your sins now confessed

Twist to the north, & a cold blast of wind
Awakens you. How did I get on this glacier?
Better call the desk & ask for a Bromo-Seltzer

A Comforting Verse from the Gideon Bible beside the Bed:

‘If U R lonely Jerry the Bell Hop
Knows What’s What & can fix U up’
¬—Written in Margin of Psalm 23

Wake-Up Call Request Rehearsal:

Room 413, wake-up call for 6:30, and
Right after send up somebody to untwist
Me something is stuck & stuck good thanks

Some Final Thoughts:

The unanswered question: why are candies
In the vending machines in the hall so cheap
& shabby I have never even heard of these

Brands ‘Best Fine Sweets’ good God I
Have never hated anyone as much as I
Hate the man who picked the drapes

For this room but blessings on whoever
Purchased the waste basket in the bathroom
With the eyeball pattern, you sir are a god

editors note:

The same hotel hijinx, even after sixty-plus. – mh clay

A Bright White Kitchen in West Agoglia

October 7, 2022  :: 0 comments

My friend Lonnie asked me could I paint his sister’s kitchen on my day off? He would pay me $150 and it would take two, three hours tops. $150? I said. He told me his sister Nessa lives in a bad neighborhood in West Agoglia, and that was why he was paying so much. So much? (I did not say …

Big Stupid White Dog

August 9, 2022  :: 0 comments

“Those clouds look really cheap,” Ryan Bendix said to me. One of the big stupid white dogs had wandered into the field across the street and we were waiting for it to wander back. Our boss told us to “go get him,” but the field was a swamp that time of year, so Plan A was just standing there and …

Mercury as a Girl

featured in the poetry forum August 6, 2022  :: 0 comments

She knows how to crank a rachet &
Tune a car named after herself,
How to be a globe of silver syrup,
Shoot to the top of a glass tube—

How to sprout wings on her heels,
Rocket around the sun in 87 days,
Rubber band a comic strip round a rubber ball &
Toss it thru my open window at 2 AM

Followed up with something involving
A bicycle, before the dew evaporates from
The jungle gym in the playground. Maybe
She will pretend to be a human girl today

Or at least wear cargo pants? Me she tells
To cup my hands, fills them up so she
Can show me my own eyes — are they really
Silver? — in the toxic puddle which is

Herself. Too many adjectives, she smirks
& rebuilds a sentence capable now of
Withstanding “gams” & “gat.” Her shadow
Twangs spilling over these aluminum barrels

Me: —Didja draw the comic strip?
[No answer in her speckled eyes] —& then some motion in the trees as
She spins to retrograde

editors note:

Too fast to grasp, you’ll never hold her unless she holds you. – mh clay

Graduation Day in a Mercury Mirror

featured in the poetry forum May 27, 2022  :: 0 comments

You’ve never been so lovely
You’ve never been so liquid
Like a sky made of metal
Like a sky full of ashes

You smell like thunder in the meadow
Where we buried your mother’s Atari
Games last summer! Where we buried
A jar full of pennies and marbles!

You shine like a stolen radio
In the broken window of a pawnshop
You ripple in the wind like your sister’s belt
Nailed it to a tree by the buckle

What a morning that was, this is!
I couldn’t, I can’t close my eyes, I feel
Like a potato clawing its way
Through the dirt to look at the sun

You’ve never been so lovely
You’ve never been so liquid
Like a sky made of metal
Like a sky full of ashes

editors note:

That sight; a quick slipper, though indelible marker. – mh clay

Bow Tie Pasta

March 22, 2022  :: 0 comments

The trunk lid was 20 yards away, twisted by the force of the crash into something like a giant piece of bow tie pasta. She lifted the sleeping bag from the trunk. Mine now, she said. Police sirens dopplered. She hid first among plumes of steam, then in the underbrush, until the cops left. Did they not see her or …

Mercy Glory Cranberry

featured in the poetry forum February 26, 2022  :: 0 comments

Mercy in 2/4 time
Said she craved pomegranate juice

I saw the window flex
& beyond: 19 different greens

& before: a coffee can containing
19 colored pens!

So who slapped the kitchen counter
Flower decal? & who

Else saw the rippling puddle in
The refrigerator enamel?

— I almost saw but sang (as
Always) ‘I refuse—’

& it rippled on without me. Within
Me it rippled in reverse. (There is

A word for this, I ken, or there
Will be) Mercy Mercy

Trace my fingers with the plum
Pen! Mercy Mercy

How much linoleum
Have you converted inverted conveyed

& translated? O here
Is the sun, awestruck & amazed

Mercy he would like to borrow
Some of your pens

editors note:

Oh, mercy, me! Pass the pens. – mh clay

A Brush with Something Crazy

featured in the poetry forum November 27, 2021  :: 1 comment

A brush with something crazy
In the back of the barbershop
Some rice that did not cook up right
In the porcelain bowl

We could save the bowl by hanging
A galaxy gone wild (lots of impasto)
Just above it, or (my bad) is that
A frolicking salamander?

Nothing can save the rice
We should try again. Or should we.
Something has driven the parakeet insane
It might be the smell

Of the ancient comic book
Left in the table drawer, microscopic
Fragments of Steve Ditko &
Wood pulp engaging the olfactory

What parakeet could inhale such things
& remain sane? We are always one afternoon
At most from madness. You know
You should keep the lid on the boiling rice

And yet you have to check! Anyone can
Load up the brush with paint
& swirl it around, it does not make you
Van Gogh. It makes me nervous

Though. Brewing a new universe is easy,
Brewing decent coffee is not,
But you can do it if you take your time
& pay attention. The crazy parakeet

Couldn’t do it. Not in the back
Of the barbershop, anyway.
Just watch the traffic lights change, Polly,
& stop your swearing.

editors note:

Can’t paint perfection with a broad brush? S#*t! – mh clay

Night of 1000 Parties

November 20, 2021  :: 0 comments

The border between Paterson and Clifton is a double white line that runs down the middle of Crooks Ave. There was a party on Crooks Ave. one Saturday night. It was not as much fun as Ramon had anticipated. As it wound down, Ramon and a Clifton girl wandered into the cemetery on the Paterson side of the street and …

Awesome Breakfast Sandwiches

featured in the poetry forum August 15, 2021  :: 0 comments

They have awesome breakfast sandwiches
Probably excellent too is the coffee although
I use it just to give my milk my milk a tiny jolt
I can’t say for sure. The front window faces west so
I graze in a dim glow of reflected windshields
There is no direct sun till late afternoon when
I am no longer looking for a breakfast sandwich.

They have awesome breakfast sandwiches
The radio is tuned to Spanish spawts talk, just a
Low murmur in the background thank God &
Surely for the benefit of the kid who keeps
The self-serve coffee urns full, everybody else is
Russian with 5 words of English, or so I thought
Till the girl who makes the sandwiches

(They have awesome breakfast sandwiches) &
Arranges them under the heat lamp said to me
‘I sing and I have bass guitar which bald man
At the brew pub gave me. I would like to be
In your band.’
I do not have a band. Should I
(I wondered) tell her I do have a band? It
Would (I concluded) be a terrible mistake.

I’m sorry, I don’t have a band, I said. I think
You are mistaking me for somebody else. ‘No,’
She said, ‘Is not a mistake. You are somebody
Else.’

She arranged the awesome breakfast
Sandwiches under the heat lamp & later as I
Sipped my probably excellent coffee I
Began to think about what to call my band.

editors note:

First hit single won’t fly without the right damn name. – mh clay