Artists Painting Artists

featured in the poetry forum June 3, 2020  :: 0 comments

He only paints her burning eyes
She only paints his frozen smile
The only smell is chamomile
And only ginger casts a shadow

The window glass is blurred with paint
Every song ends with a crack
He paints her glaring at the sky
She paints him staring through his wine

She scrapes away the cobalt blue
He wipes her eyes with turpentine
Tomorrow he will paint her face
Around the curving bottle glass

Tomorrow she will leave her hands
Sinking in the tangerine
Until the kettle shrieks and rocks
Till burning metal fills her nose

He will paint her layers deep
On a perfect sheet of glass
She will stencil most of him
(In profile) on fields of brick

They spill their bowls into the sink
They change their pants, invest in sleep
And in the morning start again.

editors note:

What a glorious, artistic union! (Imagine the marvelous mess when writers write of writers.) – mh clay

I Am the Exorcist

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

The dead haunt me because they think
No one loved them when they were
Alive. “I have some bad news for you,”
I say, plugging in the toaster
They unplugged last night,
“Nobody loves you now either.
Stop hiding my razor. Stop appearing
In my closet. Stop doing whatever it is
You do to the 1% milk that makes it
Go bad in two days. And you know
How they say hair and fingernails
Continue to grow after death? Well,
Apparently it’s true. You’re a mess.
Never mind my razor, take my toenail
Clippers. I’ll get a new pair. Too bad
You died wearing those polyester pants,
Huh? I don’t know what the hell
You were thinking. All the rest of Eternity
In a Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt. And you
Didn’t even sign an endorsement deal. I
Don’t suppose at this late date there’s
Anything you can do about that breath?”
There is a sudden sense of cold air
Vacating the premises, and I go back
To my NY Post and morning coffee.
Tonight another restless spirit will try
To haunt me, another restless spirit
With undead armpits and K Mart sneakers
I’m ready.
When I’m finished with you
You’ll be sorry you ever died.

editors note:

No rest for the wicked… – mh clay

Spring fragments

featured in the poetry forum November 30, 2019  :: 0 comments

A brief dance across smashed vacuum tubes announcing ‘Spring!’
From cardboard speakers damp & broken, wandering
From one abandoned shed
To another, this mattress still infested
By teenage wildlife till late morning & a network of Christmas lights spread
Over the kitchen table blinking green blinking red—

The garden hose kinked and re-kinked around the hose-cozy,
A massive drop of warm water suspended from the rusty nozzle for (can it be??)
Hours while we faux-eclipse the sun
Through the blue & red gels in our 3-D specs (also cardboard), un-
Earthed from storage boxes.
‘Also dig my fez,
Out of the same box in the attic,’
Said I, ‘like sick!’

Twilight: combing glass out of the sneaker treads,
Enormous plastic banners unfurled on the lawn (actually ruined water beds),
You preserving on pixels some shiny fragments of the day,
Me stuffing others into metal cans, and rolling them away.

editors note:

When the next one comes around, keep your camera ready and your trash cans clean. (Read another mad missive from Jeff on his page – made us laugh out loud. Check it out!) – mh clay

Diner Shaped Like a Bull Dog

featured in the poetry forum November 30, 2019  :: 0 comments

She said, I’ll pull over here by
This diner shaped like a bulldog,
You stand by that KIDS UNDER 10
EAT FREE sign & wave, wait a
Second, put on this space helmet
& kind of jump into the frame
From behind the dumpster like
You are beaming down from space,
Okay now duck down & wait till I say ‘Go!’

I waited & waited but she never said ‘go’
Or anything else, she just drove away
Till my car was two dim red lights
Way down the mountain road. After a while
I took off the space helmet & went inside
The diner, I swore I was under
10. I didn’t really expect
To eat for free, I was closing in on
47, but they didn’t have to be
So damn nasty about it.


featured in the poetry forum September 1, 2019  :: 0 comments

Just a little bit drunk
I left, first, a hand print on the wall
Rusty from tomato sauce
And then, after an argument I can not retrieve
With someone I can not recall,
A flower of blood (?) on the bed sheet;
Mistook it, upon awakening, for another hand
But there were seven fingers,
All too thin for me.
While I was rinsing the taste of
Dirty metal from my mouth
My sweet angel outlined that stain
With a magic marker (black)
I thought you would want to keep this she said
(Me staring at her, the ends of my belt
Dangling stupidly)
It is exactly the shape of your soul.

Would have thrown away
Or certainly washed
The sheet right then and there, soul
Or no soul, but that night
I learned the very sight
Perhaps also the smell
Of it got her going but good
Me and the angel
Banging away like a screen door in a hurricane
On top of my seven-fingered soul

If it is my soul
Frankly it looks more like
Texas to me
With a couple extra

editors note:

Let soul search cease when set in stain. Look no further than your Texas panhandled bang-fest. – mh clay

Pulled Pork Sandwich

July 13, 2019  :: 0 comments

One day Perry Beckett took a pulled pork sandwich to Bone’s basement and when he got there, he said he wished he had told them to put more sauce on it. “So take it back over there and tell them you want more sauce on it,” said Bone. “They got the sauce in squeeze bottles on the counter,” said Perry …

A Possible City

featured in the poetry forum June 15, 2019  :: 0 comments

The street terminates
In ‘The Tapioca Stairs’
25 granite steps dividing
Or connecting two neighborhoods
Tuesday morning pale blue sheets
Rise on the breeze
& French Reggae flavors
The tepid coffee until
It is more than tolerable
I think I can taste
Cinnamon, meanwhile the bird
Droppings promise to change
This dismal cul-de-sac
Into a garden (perhaps
Less dismal) eventually.

The dog at the bottom of the steps
Has worked a distant paw
Under her flea collar
The angle is impossible but
I predict success sometime
Before the first neon letters
Quicken tonight, I predict
So many lovely things, Oh well
There are store fronts and
Cafés with doorways it is
Always a pleasure to loiter
Within, exchanging a quip
Or flared nostril with this
Japanese detective (say) or
That Belgian photographer

’s model & later lounging
On the steps, dim violet light
Spreading across the bricks,
Deciding in which of these possible
Cities we will spend the night,
Deciding whether our window
Will open on the emerging sun or
The sun-kissed reservoir, and
What music will be streaming
Through the walls when
We kick off the blue sheets. Once
I thought I would wake
Every morning in a world where
The doors dilate and red shifts drop
Coyly to the bedroom floor

But most of the time
I wake up
In this one.

editors note:

We’re only ever where we think we are, right? So, it’s possible… – mh clay

Two Paintings by Pieter Brueghel on One Wall

featured in the poetry forum March 9, 2019  :: 0 comments

Half the world we hauled into the sky,
Rocks rising in fishing nets,
Dirt & stone ramps spiraling up,
Carts jammed with ash and
Black maple to frame the windows

We broke for lunch
Pointing with our sandwiches
At a cracked window frame
Well, that won’t do at—

For a second the windows framed a flying boy

A trick of the light! We laughed
And barked, warm beer shot
Out of someone’s nostrils,
All right, enough, we need to plane the door again
So let’s get back to—

Then burning feathers,
Burning wax, the far-off scream,
We filled the windows
And watched him pump and flail
All the way down
To the diamond hard water

The world stopped making sense
And so did we. All words failed.

We cobbled our own alphabets together,
New letters no one could read.

editors note:

Some will watch, while others will Icarus be. – mh clay

Biography with Lizard Tattoo

featured in the poetry forum December 30, 2018  :: 0 comments

I thought I was the king of the garbage cans
But now I know I am a fabulous invention!

The fly strip over the kitchen sink drain
Is a choral symphony with a nutty fugue in the last movement!

I want to turn on the faucet and see a silent movie with Buster Keaton,
A new one! & I want a picture of a monkey on the label

Of my soda bottle! I want more blue everything,
Please! I used to be a strawberry,

But then I got hip to the whole strawberry thing
& now I am full of moons and half moons

Right up to the eyeballs. My light is reflected light
But it is still sweet as butterscotch,

& the witches on roller skates slow down
To say nice things about my lizard tattoo.

editors note:

Ain’t no resolutions without resolve; know what you want (and what you have). – mh clay

Okra Palimpsest

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

A quiet night at home
Struggling to unwrap
Her phantom alphabet
‘This is a rare remake
That is better than the original’
She insists, we are talking about
Black-eyed peas & collard greens as
Someone slides a telegram under
The door as if it were 1943 & a
Black & white world, it is a note

On crisp music paper
Requesting us to lower the volume
Of the hi-fi. We do not have
A hi-fi. Do we know anyone
Who composes music? She rubs
The flat of the pencil across the words
& a grocery list emerges
Also a doodle which might be
A turtle or might not. ‘Every vegetable
Is a palimpsest for a vegetable

Now defunct,’ she says. Someone
Knocks on the door. ‘It says so on
The okra can.’ That was a whisper.
‘It does not say that
On the okra can’ (also a whisper)
(Even quieter)
& then no sound at all
Except the pounding on the door
& the man shrieking at us
To turn down the hi-fi.

editors note: Over written to right over and request to turn it down. Really! Revisionists all. – mh clay