Halfway Friendly

featured in the poetry forum February 17, 2018  :: 0 comments

In the land of ten-thousand bent nails
peace skews a little sideways,
right of the pot smoke, left of the unregulated industries.

I do not own a claw-hammer.

I am not a tenacious advocate of Emily Dickinson.

If only sunflowers grew in my sister’s garden this time of year,
Wisconsin would be a much brighter place
or simply possess more yellow beneath gray slate.

editors note:

Peace, from what we don’t and what we aren’t, would shine a little brighter with a touch of color. (Read another mad missive from Kenneth on his page; about branded belief – check it out.) – mh clay


February 17, 2018  :: 0 comments

Paul’s beliefs petrified.
He has not changed his mind since.
Some of the farfetched theories
he read in checkout-line tabloids
turned into cults
that demanded designer uniforms
and telegenic high priests
and a rash of logo-printed items
in a gift shop adjacent to the sanctuary.

editors note:

We always invest in what the market will bear; believe it or not. – mh clay

I Remember #02

featured in the poetry forum February 4, 2017  :: 0 comments

I remember my four sisters being only one sister
seen without my glasses on the morning after
three too many pints.

I remember kindergarten as the place
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches went to be tortured.

I remember the easy bake oven
the next door neighbor girls owned
and how their mom cooked hash-brownies in it
and forgot about them when their uncle Larry rang the doorbell
and did not come back to the oven till over an hour later
only to discover we’d eaten half a dozen.

I remember buying a Barbie doll with my birthday money
as a present for Suzie’s birthday a week later,
but my dad thought I bought it for myself
and drank away the next few days and nights panicked.

I remember my first puppy shit on the floor
and I loved him all the same as I cleaned it up
as we worked out person to puppy communication.

I remember the birthday clown that scared me
limped home markedly, after I hit him in the shins
with a home run swing from my brand new baseball bat.

I remember basketball tore up my right ankle three times
and my left ankle two times and broke my left wrist in five places.
I was very, very slow in figuring out
basketball liked me less than I liked eating Brussels sprouts.

I remember screaming every cuss word I ever learned
at three drunk hunters who mistook me and my dog
after they fired shots in our direction,
claiming elk are in season and they purchased their permits.

I remember the ghosts that fill this room
like talc covered hands clapped to a cloud
and they whisper every baby name
I cooed to my daughter as I changed her
as she changed me.

editors note:

Sweet remembrances. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 20, 2016  :: 0 comments

My Buddha wears a red dress, spiked heals
and a Chicago Cubs tramp stamp.

My Quan Yin appears both as a sparrow
and a mockingbird.

Morning’s acolytes speed away from me
wearing bright colors and the latest running shoes.

If I gave you my Get Out Of Hell Free card,
would you give me your veteran’s burial right

so I may rest eternally under the sycamore shade
of Antietam’s national cemetery?

By now the coyotes have dragged
last night’s white tail deer road kill into the wood,

so you may exit the house without witness
of that particular mechanized savagery.

Even the worst part of me loves you,
forgives you, for the oblique issues we howled last night,

each of us too lone wolf under a full moon
to hear the hunger and loneliness deep in our bodies.

The worst part of you, takes my Cubs hat
and wears it to keep your hair out of your eyes

as you work on the pickup truck’s engine
or on a walk in the rain that inspired Noah’s toil.

editors note:

Knickers nabbed in Nirvana. Ommmm (my)! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum June 13, 2015  :: 0 comments

Paul reached into his curiosity
for a chocolate chip cookie
but found a bicuspid the tooth faerie dropped
back when he was six or seven.

Paul placed the recovered memories
of being six or seven
in a box in the basement
without sorting them in any manner.

Somehow, this liberated a small pair
of sky blue flip-flop sandals
that tracked nineteen sixties beach sand
across the living room carpet.

And the echo of playgrounds past
kept coming out of the speakers
when the radio tuner glided past
ninety-eight point six on the dial.

editors note:

Savor those stations on your memory dial. Save the sand in your pockets. (We’re glad to see this mad missive from Kenneth, a long time Contributor to the Swirl. Read another memento from him on his page; about fire and a kicking cow – check it out.) – mh clay


June 13, 2015  :: 0 comments

Our city staggered about in a foggy haze
some people claimed as pollution,
but most of us knew was a drinking problem
that always happened this time of year
on the anniversary of the fire that seconded it,
while scandalous tales of O’Leary’s cow
stagnated the news papers
and caused image editors to photoshop
fake full moons in old daguerreotypes
of a long ago wooden skyline
that stank of stockyards
and an irreversible river
and buildings slowly sinking
through wild onion and garlic
and the bones of Fort Dearborn.

Physics Lab

featured in the poetry forum April 9, 2014  :: 0 comments

In Genesis god creates light and the light
commingles with the darkness
and needs separating:
photons and dark energy
get to know each other in intimate ways
and some particles cancel each other out
in blazes of matter anti-matter explosions.
And god thinks, Shit! this light and dark
stuff is fucking dangerous.
God begins to separate the light
from the dark, but there is a vast amount of both:
a volume equal to four-thirds Pi times
forty-six and a half billion lightyears cubed.
God creates a cosmic dust pan and broom
and begins sweeping light and dark into separate piles
long before god names day day or night night
because god does not wish to do a lot of explaining
to all the science fair judges
about his newly created heavens and earth,
especially if all these continuous explosions
mean god has to start creating all over again—

That would mean missing out on Rebecca’s birthday party
with all the other gods who got their science project right
on the first try.

editors note:

Edison failed 1,000 times before he made light. – mh

Spring in Oregon

featured in the poetry forum September 14, 2013  :: 0 comments

We lived on paper
in the abstract idyl
of a lonely writer
in a small apartment
inside the District of Columbia.

We lived in an old Victorian.

He’d wake us up with the tapping
of his fingers on the keyboard
and I’d stutter a bunch
as he back spaced-deleted
something I think I wanted to say.

I was always glad he lined our street with Alders.

My lover was incredible
in all manners of incredibleness
and I’d show you pictures of her body
but there are no pictures
that the lonely guy added to his manuscript.

Our dishes were hand crafted ceramics.

Each sadness seemed to work itself out,
sometimes in oblique manners,
and ended up with a lot of kissing and hugging
and great sex soaring high into the atmosphere
on the visceral emotions
spawned by whatever disaster
was cured by a miracle.

It seemed like we were our own church.

One day I woke on my own without the tapping,
without a thought in my head
and I blinked a lot while looking around at everything
that now had a crow motif
including a tattoo on my left shoulder
I don’t remember getting.

My lover woke when my hand brushed her back
and she said after a moment’s thought
We could go back to page one
if you feel uncomfortable.

editors note:

Page one is so full of possibilities, no matter how you remember it. – mh

Even When It Rains

June 9, 2012  :: 0 comments

Your painting
where the sun
wears the lipstick
of someone
who kissed it on the cheek
hangs in the tree
from a limb
where I carefully
placed it
so that when I wake
in the morning
and look out my window
I will always see
your blazing kiss.


featured in the poetry forum June 9, 2012  :: 0 comments

The shining light that comprises God’s being
strode through the prism of a rain drop
dangling from a white lilly bloom
and broke God into all God’s components
whether they be in the visible bands of colors
or the invisible bands of ultraviolet
and infrared.

All of a sudden there were many Gods:
a God of nose hairs
a God of hangnails
a God of pre-cancerous cells
a God of blue bottle flies
a God of dangling modifiers
a God of dandelion parachutes
a God of calcium deposits on toilet rims
a God of coughed up fur balls
a God of tiny, purple alpine flowers
a God of bird shit that splats
on freshly washed car windows
and so on into all the multitude of things
that comprise the one true God.

And in that instant God’s image
appeared in many places around the world:
on pieces of toast
on bars of soap
on rivets holding airplane wings together
on the tips of horse hair paint brushes
on iron filings manipulated by magnets
on page twelve of a Batman comic
on the lever that puts the charge in the electric chair
on the joy sticks of video games
on the cum laden stains of cheap hotel room sheets
and so on to all the multitude of places
an image of God could appear.

And with another step the shining light
that comprises the one true God’s being
moved past the dangling rain drop
and the multitude of God’s manifestations
reformed into the one, all-being being
that holy books have tried to quantify and qualify
that artists and musicians have attempted
to instill into their art and music
that children play with
when they speak to their imaginary friends.

editors note:

Don’t need 3D glasses to see our imaginary Friend. Good thing, since neither the theaters nor the distributors want to pay for them anymore. Step outside and look around; our Friend is everywhere. – mh