UNSTAMPED POSTCARD

featured in the poetry forum July 22, 2017  :: 0 comments

One
Split tan shoe
One
Ripped blue shirt
One
Patched green jacket
And some super glue

All of them
More than enough

For this Monday
For a month on Friday
For this ticket backwards

For never in
A million years
Will bones laugh back
Or skulls make cracks
About a lack of success

Like this bus
The wheels turn quicker
Ever quicker still

From there to here
And back again

Like this bottle
Like this tobacco

Like this unstamped postcard

editors note:

Destination the same. Wish you were here! – mh clay

ST GEORGE

featured in the poetry forum April 22, 2017  :: 0 comments

That’s just how it is
On any given day here

The bad backs for benefits
The psychotic breaks

Nobody cares
If you have just moved in
If someone has
Put a brick through your window
Or if you work on the bins

Tobacco
Drink
Drugs

That’s all that matters here

Pornos for girlfriends
Emergency loans for the fear

That someone is coming
At any time of the day

That rat-a-tat-tat
At the back of the brain

Like those pink pills
Those any pills
Sleeping tablets at noon
Always chewed never swallowed
Like the street by blue lights

On any night
Like last night
Coming down off bad speed

The fire engines, police cars
An ambulance for the stabbed

No, I said, officer, I didn’t live there
No, I said, officer, I didn’t know a thing

I’m sorry, I shrugged

That’s just how it is

editors note:

No quiet days in this neighborhood. (We’re doubling down with JH today; read another, tightly wound, on his page here.) – mh clay

EVER STILL EVER THEN

April 22, 2017  :: 0 comments

Breathe in
Tighter

Breathe out
Repeat

From A to B
Then back again

Violent
Deep
Irrational

Like that scaffold pole to my spine
Like that monkey wrench to my knees
Like that cold steel pressed to my head

Yes
I can break bottles
Punch walls and smash chairs

But it never stops
It never does

From riverside to corrupt border town
From Bangkok street to south London park
From Kowloon bar to Beijing cell
From public ward to crematorium

These shadows do not fade
They only sink down deeper
Into the cracks

Opened by the sustained and heavy blows
Widened by the grief, humiliation and shame

No
This infection does not heal
This memory will not cure

Like the noose and the taut rope that pulls

It just breathes in
Tighter

Ever tighter still

LADIES & GENTLEMEN

featured in the poetry forum February 23, 2017  :: 0 comments

Like dogs
We sit
And we wait

Like stations for buses
Like boards for announcements
Like pigeons for crumbs

As if the end’s going to change
As if it’s going to get better
As if we’re going to get wise

Like Buddha
Like Jesus
Like Muhammad Ali

Man
To say we’re the greatest
Means even less than our words

editors note:

Just keep waggin’ that tail… – mh clay

SUN OILED SNAKE SKIN

featured in the poetry forum November 26, 2016  :: 0 comments

I tried it once
And it wasn’t good

It just made me sweat
And think way too much

That old scratch
I can’t itch

That pretty wife
That I miss

I mean
If all these meat markets
Are cheap flip flops and shorts
Then what’s the point of the sun?

No

It’s all just –
Me, me, me
Ain’t it babe?

Praise the lord

This whisky
This beer

This tiny locked room
That stinks of dead flesh

Sure
You can dip it in chili
And soak it in garlic
But it’s still just a bad photograph

This hollow temple that we bow down inside
This family of blood that we scratch on the walls
This history of bones that we soothsay for signs

No man
I tried it once
And it wasn’t good

That sun oiled snake skin
Tastes like
Rooster, pig, rat

editors note:

When the cure is worse than the disease… – mh clay

AN OTHER

November 9, 2012  :: 0 comments

Another day
another city

filled with
more people
more buildings
more cars
more madness

all glimpsed through the windows
of this spy’s grey hungover eyes

It could be
London,
Beijing,
Moscow or Rome

It doesn’t matter at all

Everywhere is the same
when the Mind is lost
in this crowded mind –

alive
yet dead
to all of these forms –

shaped by the light
of plastic perceptions
and stained by the smog
of an impulsive desire
to understand all of these things
which can never be understood

either today
or on any other day

in this phantom city
which neither exists nor does not exist

as it passes through me and I pass through it

editors note:

It’s one thing after another for a bee in the hive; a moment of self-awareness, swallowed up in the buzz. Om. – mh clay

Dirt & Dust

August 4, 2012  :: 0 comments

How beautiful this world is,
when you stop fighting fate
and embrace the dirt and dust.

The only imperfections in it,
are these thoughts – this consciousness.

editors note:

When from ashes comes this blink of life, live so our dust makes the dirt sing. Don’t give it another thought. – mh clay

If I Go before You Do

March 7, 2012  :: 0 comments

It is getting late,
time is pressing,
of that alone I am sure.
Confidence
is an empty thing –
a lake into which
Narcissus likes to gaze.

What do you do these days?
Is it the same as me?
Rewind, reduce, erase?

Sometimes, I think
I would like
to talk to you about many things.
But when I consider them more carefully,
they become but one:
time, time and time alone –
the need to grasp at that
which can not be held,
the desire to understand
that which can not be understood.

It’s absurd isn’t it?
All these questions, answers, inquiries, replies?
The wish for meaning
is nothing but a hole in the ground.

My expectations. Dash. Zero.
My hopes. Dash. None at all.
If I go
before you do,
plant radishes for me.
I will plant cabbages for you.

editors note:

Aha! A vegetable version of “nothing ventured.” If nothing is all we get, then I’ll take radishes any day. Nirvana! – mh clay

Nec Spe Nec Metu

September 16, 2011  :: 0 comments

A pariah,
a parasite,
a fugitive
with no fixed address,
money or provisions,
these blue grey eyes
topped by
a spiked blonde crop,
belong to a stranger
to everyone but trouble,
the charming villain of the piece.

In bright
midday sunlight
warming the back of my hand,
smoke twists round
my fingers’ black edges
twitching on an ashtray’s rim.

Golden shards
bounce off its cut glass
and illuminate
the right side of my face
but leave
the left side in shadows;
filling
my arched brow’s furrows,
sinking into my sallow cheeks.

Today
may be young
but I’m drunk as hell
and sick and tired
of listening to
happy hour philosophers
and staring at the same picture
hanging on the too-white wall.

Yeah, I see you,
you bloody fool:

sitting at the back of a bar alone,
half obscured
by the darkness that surrounds you,
eyes pointed up at a painting
lit up by beams
shining through a small window.

What the hell
are you looking at?

The shopping crowd,
jostling in the street outside
and the plastic gangsters,
part-time crooks,
wide-eyed old men,
and morning after wrecks
putting the world to rights inside.

My laughter smears
with the squares of light
across the sticky floor.

Shut up.

There is no truth, beauty or grace here.
Nothing that will outlast our tawdry days.
All your posturing is absurd.

Do you think anybody cares?

Smash the bottle. Pick up the chair.

I don’t.

Get the hell out of here
before I tear away the separation,
slash the space between us
and cut off your balls and fry them in oil.

You want a vision of paradise?

There ain’t none in this damned place.

Too proud to be humble, too strong to be tender,
it’s going down man,
down,
down,
down.

Holograms are We

April 29, 2011  :: 0 comments

Laughter bellows
from my shadow
as empty panes pass through my prism
but pull in faces from far and wide
with these holograms of freedom
to stimulate the dream
that feeds the city’s dynamo.

Disconnected
from this inattentive current
flowing through the flux of avenues,
my eyes roll up and gaze upon
the mirror ball of dead diamond suns
around which
the black hole of our reason spins.

All these illusions;
flashing between one and zero,
are nothing but a trick of the eye
refracted by time’s rays of light
into a world which will cease to turn
when all this pointless information
slips past the event horizon
and the drone of this overcrowded sphere
is replaced by the silent symphony above.