featured in the poetry forum June 15, 2023  :: 0 comments

I have journeyed through rough seas
Past rocky islands that threatened to ship wreck me.
Through the place where
The Sirens thrashed my naked ears
With their gaping and tortuous voices
That razor a naked heart,
To this place
Where I least expected to find you.

Such is the nature of Aphrodite,
For She loves to heal with mirth.
Before I was aware
You were bringing
My heart back to its homeland.

When I first noticed
How you seemed to glow,
I realized that this
Movement of love and desire
That passed between us
Had drawn me to you.
We reached out to each other
Sang a silent lament
And formed a circle
With the dew from our bodies.
I knew then that
Something secret and precious
Moved between us
Surrendering our hearts.

With my heart pressed against yours
My lips against yours
I drew nourishment from you;
You from me.
Alone apart
We remain together.
We remain apart
Joined heart to heart.

editors note:

A god’s affair of the heart, together apart from the start. – mh clay

The Capoeirista

featured in the poetry forum March 20, 2022  :: 0 comments

To be on the alert means to be deadly serious,
to be deadly serious means to be sincere to oneself
and it is sincerity that finally leads one to discover the Heaven Way.
The Heavenly Way is above the self, which is mushin, no mind,
or “munen,” no thought.
When mushin is realised, the mind knows no obstructions, no inhibitions
and is emancipated from the thoughts of life and death, gain and loss,
victory and defeat.

From Zen and Japanese culture
by D.T. Suzuki

I dance;
I become but movement and form,
as I step out each move
in a flow of form and motion,
In this struggle for life and death.

I become water and find my measure against another,
win or lose,
This fluid movement is all I am – all I can be.

I throw myself into this dance,
its motion is treacherous yet beautiful.
This struggle to live, to die,
A desire to overcome –
This dance of artifice – fight and play – is ecstatic.

I step out these forms and find myself in this motion
that celebrates the heart –
The wheel of life and death.

In this movement, I find my death.
I lose myself in these forms – the dance;
Its treachery and its beauty.

I am!
I am an emptiness, nothing but form and motion,
There can be nothing else:
I am a Capoeirista,
“Capoeira mata um.”

editors note:

Dancing a killer dance. – mh clay

An Old Coat

featured in the poetry forum April 7, 2021  :: 0 comments

Camouflage by words
I walk this corridor
In a mirrored maze
Where fascination threatens to overwhelm me

In exploring this maternal space
I search for definition
Something solid to anchor my being upon
But I find only invented forms

Wearing this tattered coat
My body is a collection of words
Stretched between these edges
I am lashed by alien white spaces
I cry out in anguish
as I plead for resolution

A caged tiger
I pace each line away

I probe these vast spaces
As the dashing second takes me
Outside secure structures
leaving me to struggle with a divided memory
That vibrates to another time

What seemed certain then is now a flow
that carries me towards a certain future
A piece of debris
I am washed up on this rocky shore.

From darkness to darkness
I am a narrow bridge
Strung across an abyss

Dismissing notions of substance
I caress this maternal page
It offers a small reprieve
In this movement towards dusty silence.

Squabbling with broken images
Will always be a futile occupation
An unruffled world can relinquish
Disconnected moments
But all my precious notions
Leave me to slip into darkness.

editors note:

Still, we seek for rescue in our words. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum February 8, 2020  :: 0 comments

I sit in silence this evening
pondering how past events have led up to this day
how each feather of wisdom
drifts silently in the medium of memory;
the know becomes the unknown
thoughts linger for a brief moment
evoking overwhelming fear,
the distant sound of hunting dogs
merges with listless regrets
that never find resolution
but drift in and out of memory
questioning endings and beginnings
forming the garment of the self;
this wooly coat is pulled tight
against a chilly world.

This mirrored reflection stings the heart.
Yet each fully experienced moment
lights the darkness
leaving us no time to question
what might have been,
comfort is found only in hindsight.

I hope to touch vague longings
seeking intangible resolutions
that move through this experience of succession,
I search for another pattern
to hold reason and passion in tension.

I am lost in the marsh of memory
where phantoms lead me into speculation
searching the might have been
I tread over long-dead leaves
seeking lost hopes.

I struggle with these unresolved contradictions
as I move towards a dark future
where shadows juxtapose dissimilar images
erasing the known;
these images intertwine into frightening shapes
forming reflections that are not one but many;
tearing myself from myself
I know this pale future
laughs at these futile attempts
to avoid knowledge too painful to face.

Still, something remembers;
memory is present to a self,
something is explored
someone does this exploring;
or is this feeling a card house
built by the imagination
to protect the self against a cruel night
too severe to meet with an unprotected gaze?

editors note:

Our future laughs from a dark beyond. Maybe shades are best for looking into the past? – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum January 28, 2018  :: 0 comments

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. – Oscar Wilde

After the money
Has changed hands
Puppet of fantasy
To what silent place
Do you retreat?
On the street
They snugger and stare
Behind closed doors
They come in despair
To have fears
Cleansed in tears
As you walk that twisted street
Head turned to the sky
Many admire you

Your temple desecrated
All ruin and decay
Yet in that compost
Heap of the heart
A tiny seed struggles
With the earth:
One tenuous shoot
Reaches for the stars.

editors note:

It’s all compost; fertilizer for the soul. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum July 21, 2017  :: 0 comments

I sit here tracing these words across this screen
Looking for other possibilities
That can slide beyond the measures of reason
These days my day’s measure is spent
Searching possible futures
That leave me stranded here
In this distant present:

Measuring each word written
I sit in a shady place
And pace each line away
Writing a last refuge
A prisoner pacing the yard
Each word a step
In this battle with meaning

Experience will remain
A mixture of loss and gain
I am torn between a head
That reasons
And a heart that knows

I trace borderlines
Weighing possibilities
One past with another
Looking for connections
Still experience remains
Wrapped by silence
I will not let this rocky world
Shatter me.

editors note:

A little shredded, but never shattered. We make what meaning we can. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum October 29, 2016  :: 0 comments

for Vittorio

Feeling like a piece of debris
In life’s flooding flow
I come here to enjoy the show.
A place for the dispossessed.
Its dark cave light
Offers a coffee-cup shield
Against the ticking clock.
A cafe patronized
By interesting people
Or so the sign said.
Wonder why I am here
Hiding in this blue cloud.

Remember it’s a place
To sit and dream
Drifting with memory’s stream.
Anguish just lost moments
Searching the menu board
While Billy Holiday’s voice
Filters into the night.
Safe in this warm glow
I sit in the corner
And watch characters
Exchange masks
Playing the night
With these star-splashed themes.

editors note:

Walk right in, folks. No cover. Masks optional. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum November 22, 2015  :: 0 comments

The day is racked and tortured
Its windy spaces tranquil yet stormy;
My silent heart cries out
And I breath deep
To prevent tears
From falling down my cheeks;
For only tears
Can articulate these inner silences
That tear at my being;
Tears only can make sense
Of these longings
That remain illusive and inexpressible.

My heart cries out
And I breath deep
To prevent tears
Welling up into my eyes;
Locked in silence
Each of us must hold
This loneliness to the chest;
I hunger for something
That I am unable to grasp.

My heart cries out
And I breath deep
To prevent tears
Falling down my cheeks;

I yearn for a woman’s embrace
To feel the arms of another
Wrapped around me;
There is no-one.

My heart cries out
And I breath deep
To fight back tears
That threaten
To roll down my cheeks;

I long for that which I have never had:
Knowing that all desire
Must be ship-wrecked by an alien world;
Knowing dreams and defeat form a singularity;
While windy spaces remain tranquil yet stormy.

editors note:

Alone, we enter. Alone, we exit. All seek “together” in between. – mh clay

These Dark Days

featured in the poetry forum May 3, 2015  :: 0 comments

For Leigh, on her birthday, with love in my heart,
I dedicate this poem to you, starlight.

Some days I think
in a deep dark gloom,
and I ask myself this question:
​D​oes love truly transform?
Is love a bright light in this
dark and vicious world?
I wonder in silence.

Then you are here.
You show yourself to me,
and once again I fall deeply in love with you.
In wonder and amazement
I love you as a father should,
other times,
as a friend trusted and true,
sometimes as a lover, a woman.

When you shine,
your starlight,
such beauty in a dark day;
a bright sun,
transforms my heavy heart;
shining on in the darkness,
your beauty​ ​- a star –
moves my heart to love.

When I see you bright as the sun,
I wonder at your beauty
and your bravery.

We are all dust.
Our bones, our flesh
made from the dust of distant dead stars.
This place, cruel and hard, is not our home;
We are only visitors here,
each lost and alone.

We hunger for our home;
Is it as close as the heart,
as distant as the stars?

I look into your eyes
and my heart is lighter,
that place of light
just a little closer.

editors note:

The answer here is, “Yes!” Light + Love = Transformation (We are happy to welcome John back to the ranks of our Contributing Poets. Read this and more of his madness on his reinstated page – check it out.)​ – mh clay

The Cafe

featured in the poetry forum January 24, 2013  :: 0 comments

To Nick and Dave at 381

Each morning I make my way
To this familiar place:
This refuge from the world
Located inside a public place.
I sit in the corner day after day
Taking in the atmosphere;
Surveying the faces of other regulars,
I see in each storm-swept impression,
That lingers on the surface of each face
Before it quietly slips away,
Ripples of meaning, moving outwards
Towards an imagined centre.

Under a grey tent of cloud
I sit here allowing my mind to wander
Over past understandings;
A flawed memory looks backwards
To make sense of the past.

In this place for fugitives
All are dispossessed
Running from a scorching world;
In here life is safely captured
In the reflections of a mirrored wall.
An outside sends us out of ourselves,
Eye meets eye,
Torn apart by contradiction
We are thrown into a sifting world.

Glancing over to the side of the room
I find myself lost
To reflections sent by another.
In the space of a glance
We explore a place between inner and outer.
These perceptions mould our world
Forming a dispersed self
That must find sense in this fragmented world;
Reflections formed by reflections,
We move between understanding and understanding,
Always with a vague sense
That things could be otherwise.

editors note:

Anonymous observers, mirror opposite mirror, infinite reflection of everyone else. – mh clay