Father’s Tattered Coat

featured in the poetry forum February 27, 2016  :: 0 comments

Father’s hand-me-down coat

sits heavily upon slouching shoulders.
Weights in its’ tatters.
Slows the maneuvers of
the son’s wayward feet.
Weaving down midnight’s pathways…

He, burdened with what
was never asked for.
This coat, he inherited.

After too many years,
the son’s tailor hands
and artisan’s care altered
the too long sleeves,
darned the moth eaten pockets,
sewed the weather beaten collar,
reinforced the cuffs with
leather and wool.

He keeps out the cold now,
shivers no more.
Yet suffers in summer heat
in beads of sweat and tears.
But still, he wears
father’s hand-me-down coat.

With the humbled pride
of a rehab’d hobo
who has finally accepted his lot,
he is his father’s son.

And now, with care,
father’s coat hangs right there,
biding its’ time
to be handed down again.

editors note:

The magic, mythical family mantle, passed from pater to progeny – perpetually. (read another one of our Founder & Chief Editor’s mad missives on his page; a real squirrel hunt – check it out!) – mh clay

The Best Seat

February 27, 2016  :: 0 comments

I floated under a tree
Delivered on the wings
Of a hot summer breeze
I feel almost Zen-like

Except, you see, this tree
Isn’t cozied up next
To a bubbling brook
In some lil nook
Of an Enchanted forest

It’s planted in Big D
In the seedy part of town
Where folks don’t come ’round
Unless to find a deal
On some crack or
Stolen goods

Yet I still find peace
In this urban scene
Sitting in a patch
Of sacred shadow
Cast by the very tree
I sit under

The far off laughter
Of corporate drones
In loud proud tones
Doesn’t take me away
From this serene scene
Or this lunchtime dream

The police sirens screaming
Their way to a crime scene
Echoes bouncing off buildings
Attempting to distract me
From the day dreams
I am escaping in

Even the squirrel swirling
His way up the tree
Is entertaining to me
Perched on a branch
Dropping seed shells
Right beside me

It seems to me
We both like this seat

editors note:

Squinting with the squirrels into satisfaction of seat. – mh clay

Popsicle Kisses

featured in the poetry forum August 14, 2015  :: 1 comment

(illustrations by Eddie Medina)

A bubblegum song plays
On an oldies station
Carries him back
To more innocent days

Remembering playground
Games of tag, (you’re it)
Trying to steal kisses
From the raven haired girl
Who had popsicle
Flavored lips
And a voice that
Tasted like ice cream
To his still wet behind the ear drums

After school
He walked her home
And waited for the golden moment
To sneak a kiss
And taste her popsicle lips
Before the dinner bell rang
And sent him on his way

editors note:

Bring back those golden oldies. We miss that kiss, so sweet to repeat (Read another mad love poem, a sad love poem, on Johnny’s page – check it out.) – mh clay

Mellow Melancholy

August 14, 2015  :: 4 comments

The mellow yellow fellow hangs around all by his lonesome. He can’t seem to find his other half to call his own.

His teary blue eyes seek to find her but he only finds twisted reflections of ancient memories hiding between the lines of erased sketchbooked dreams.

His canvas is warping. His painted smile is waning. His highlights and hues are dimming. Too many attempts at fruitless quests have got the best of him. The dream is fading like the lines that made him.

The mellow yellow fellow spies an empty canvas set before him. He imagines he sees traces of her in the field of nothingness. Perhaps from this blankness she will be born. Too long he has waited for the creator to put paint to palette. Too long he has hung around awaiting the artist to deliver love’s satisfaction.

But the mellow yellow fellow patiently awaits her creation and prays when she comes it’s not just another drawn out infatuation.

Johnny Never Came Marching Home Again

featured in the poetry forum May 25, 2015  :: 1 comment

But he did return.

He arrived in a box with a star spangled​
and blood striped flag, draped with care.

When Johnny didn’t come marching home again (so long, so long)
They gave him a funeral welcome then (so long, so long)…

​A warrior’s funeral.​
​Complete with a 21 gun salute,
​a lonesome rendition of ​
Taps, and a
​finely folded​
consolation flag. The same flag that came draped on Johnny’s

The boys held back tears, the men stood tall,
The ladies, one by one they called​…​

They mentioned Johnny’s name on the news.
They remembered his life and honored his memory.
They said they would always remember their hometown hero.
They all felt the loss

when Johnny didn’t come marching home.

Johnny didn’t enlist to be a cog in the great war machine.
​But he knew the ultimate price
​might have to be paid
when he raised his right hand and said:

“I, Johnny Citizen, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

​When his Country called, he did his duty.
With a lump in his throat and with pride on his side,
Johnny went off to ​fight.

Let reverence and remembrance reign this day (so long, so long)
Remember the ultimate sacrifices made (so long, so long)…​

He prayed.
He prayed every day he awoke alive,
and doubly so at night,
to live to fight another day​, so help him God.

God was there on Johnny’s lips as he took his final breaths.
​So were the fading memories of home.
So were mom and dad.
So were brother and sister.
So were friends and lovers.

And so was this final scene –

​A warrior’s funeral.​
​Complete with a 21 gun salute,
​a lonesome rendition of ​
Taps, and a
​finely folded​
consolation flag.

This is what Johnny saw as he looked up
at foreign skies.

He never asked why.
He knew this was his time.
​He knew this was his duty.
Johnny said his last prayer
and his final goodbyes.
​No fanfare, no fame.
Just another life given,
a sacrifice made
in ​this deadly game
named ​

So may we do our patriotic part (so long, so long)
Be grateful and thankful for this warrior’s heart (so long, so long)…

And remember the meaning of this day,
When all the Johnny’s didn’t come marching home.

editors note:

Here’s to the day when no new boxes come home, no new flags are draped and folded, no new tears are wrenched from newly aching hearts. Thanks to Johnny O for these Memorial words! May we learn, at last, to practice war no more. – mh clay

GI Magi

December 21, 2014  :: 1 comment

When word from our platoon commander came at 1800 hours saying that orders from Regiment was that we were to be heading out on patrol at 2000 hours, in full battle rattle, none of us were surprised. The Corps didn’t give a squat what day it was. Why would Christmas Eve be any different than Labor Day, Veterans Day, or …


featured in the poetry forum November 7, 2014  :: 0 comments

And I hide

And I travel

And I am pleased

And I die

And I create

editors note:

Johnny O writes to our delight, and we write with him. (Happy Birthday to our Founder and Chief Editor! He’s a double-digitarian today – you guess the digits. ;) ) – mh

American Dreamin’

featured in the poetry forum July 26, 2014  :: 0 comments

I’ve seen the American dream in faded, aged pictures of my immigrant family, who barely escaped Nazi occupied Italy in the bottom of a cargo ship shortly after WWII ended… equipped with not much more than the clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, and seeds of dreams of golden-paved American streets planted in their hearts.

I’ve seen the American dream in the big-shouldered, blue-collared Chicago streets sewn with train yard threads weaving the cloth of my youth where Midwestern hardened men fought the bitter elements to battle the machinery of box car couplings in sub-zero temps to ensure that they brought the food to the tables of families whose dreams are as basic as having their next meal to eat.

I’ve seen the American dream in the degeneration of my X generation who were raised in a world chockfull of fears that the Commies were near and “the bomb” would knock us clear into oblivion any day while mama and papa were away at work, too busy trying to make those elusive ends meet.

I’ve seen the American dream in barely 18-year-olds who raised their right hands with me to take the oath to defend our great nation and wore our country’s cloth, vowing to battle those hell-bent on taking away the dreams of our fathers.

I’ve seen the American dream twisted in Middle Eastern enemies’ eyes, who despise our freedoms and see our dreams as demonized things that these martyrs have destined themselves to destroy.

I’ve seen the American dream in the Teamstered truck drivers who filled the dock doors with their 18-wheeled machines, trekking our wares over the highways and byways to where they are needed most, to feed this industrialized, capitalized dream.

I’ve seen the American dream in fearless and feared, bearded bikers who fly their freedom flags on their backs and swear to God almighty that whosoever tries to take away their dreams will suffer the slow and painful death of a treasonous expatriate.

I’ve seen the American dream in the helpless homeless men who wander predawn outside my urban doorway, looking for some way to survive just another day without starving and hoping their dream turns to views with brighter hues.

I’ve seen the American dream in the aged lines of our country’s elderly, who see that this land is a far cry from what it was way back then and hoping to forget that it’s just a skeleton of what it once was.

I’ve seen the American dream in the children’s eyes of the next generation, who will be raised on standardized grades, equal praise, fading classes, unemployed masses, man-made disasters…

I see the American dream every time I look in the mirror and it’s clear to me that I am, that you are, that every man, woman and child in this land of the free are the dreamers of the American dream and that the power is in our hands to mold this clay and keep dreaming of better days.

editors note:

We are immigrants, all! Better we dream together… (This’n came from our Chief Editor in response to a request for poems on the subject of The American Dream. It’s a grand dream we share and you don’t have to be American to share it, either…) – mh

An Irish Kinda Spring

featured in the poetry forum March 17, 2014  :: 0 comments

On a fine Spring day a friend and I were sitting on a park bench. As we started talking, I gazed down between my feet and noticed I was ankle deep in clovers. I commented to my friend that I have never discovered the four-leaf kind before. He chuckled and informed me he thought they were a mythical make-believe kinda thing.

I knew that they weren’t but couldn’t prove it while sitting there scanning the mound of obviously three-leaved scenes I kept seeing.

And as the seconds turned to minutes turned to hours, my gaze stopped staring downward. We shared some quite right-on insights with one another. Our time turned to talking about less make-believe things. Heavy things. Heavenly things… like the passing of life, the loss of love, the madness of the earth below us and the swirling heavens up above. I could feel change a-comin’ and changing me profoundly while sitting soundly in our park side seat. I could feel seeds inside me taking root. I began to see the blessings flowing all around me. Once believed to be make-believe things could once again be a reality…

As the sun started playing hide-and-seek behind the trees, shadows sprouting legs and running from the horizon, we realized time caught-up and life was calling us back home. With a heartfelt embrace, I thanked him for this gift of friendship he had given me and the things he helped me to see and believe in again.

And as we were starting to part, I looked back down towards the ground, where there seemed to be nothing but a sea of three-leafed clovers. Then to my eyes’ surprise I saw it standing clear, like it was there the whole time… the elusively famous four-leaf clover rising above the rest. With an “ah-ha” I reached down, plucked it so tenderly and handed it my friend, who moments before said he didn’t believe in such things. His eyes grew child-like and wide when he saw my find. I told him he helped me today to believe again in things I thought were lost and gone forever. And because of that, this lucky clover showed itself to me and told me it was my turn to return the favor in the form of a found four-leafed-clover.

editors note:

Pluck one o’ these from your four-lobed brain to place in your four-chambered heart to carry you four-ward through your un-four-told future, with luck. (Lucky are we to receive this treasure from our Ed. in Chief, Johnny O’lson. Thanks, JO!) – mh

Am I a Poet?

featured in the poetry forum November 7, 2013  :: 0 comments

Poet: 1) a person who composes poetry; 2) a person who has the gift of poetic thought, imagination, and creation, together with eloquence of expression.

Am I a poet? It seems to me there are some missing pieces to complete this puzzle. I’d love to own the romanticized title, but sometimes… most times, I just don’t know it. Am I truly a poet of some kind or just an imposter? I gotta ask because…

You won’t find me sharing my new born written words freshly delivered off the typewriter… or notebook… or iDevice

And you won’t find me presenting a new poem to the world every day… every week… or even every month

And you’ll rarely find me pondering my lines of rhyme in some hip bookstore or corner coffee shop

And you won’t find me putting out chapbook after chapbook filled to the gills with my prolific words

Only once in a great while will you find my name in forums or in crews spewing out what’s currently on my mind

And far and few between will you find me free flowing poetically baring my wares for all to see

And almost never will you find me reading classical or modern or anywhere in between works of poetic masters

And you won’t find me riding the train of quatrains or riding on the schemes of sonnets and things

However, you will find me hiding between letters and words and allusive alliterations in the scribbles and riddles flowing from my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, my dreams. Sometimes I succeed and find a rhyme scheme. Sometimes… I don’t.

Sometimes I’m inspired by all the things I see that come to me on muses wings and deemed to be called poetry… by some.

Sometimes my futile attempts fail completely but the act alone is therapy and even if no other eyes see it but mine… it was well worth the time.

And sometimes it all comes together in the beginning, unravels in the middle and then falls all apart in an orgasmic ending, exploding and creating something new in this world. And it is then that it ends and I lay down my pen and nod my head and answer my own question… yes, I am a poet.

editors note:

In our Mad annals, this one identifies as erstwhile AND ever. (A Swirlin’ Happy Birthday to our friend and founder, Editor-in-Chief, Johnny O!) – mh