Who Gets What

featured in the poetry forum August 31, 2019  :: 0 comments

I’ve been to Texas twice.
I was killed neither time.
I was not converted to Conservative Christianity.
I was not converted to Texas-style Barbeque.
I was not forced to color myself red
or an overlaid shade of purple.

I’ve been to two of the five Texases.
The residents told me the state should be subdivided
based on geology, which I assume means by rainfall.

The panhandle is a stretch of interstate highway
to be crossed on my way to eastern points of interest.
Amarillo, you are a great place to put gas in the gas-tank
and food in my food-tank.

Marfa is a minimalist art Mecca,
if the locals will permit me to apply that term
with mideast origins—
don’t miss the Prada store display
standing alone on the prairie.

I met a street corner group of Texans in Albuquerque,
who believe in only one book, the Book of Revelation.
I’ve met similar groups in the forty-nine states I’ve traveled thru.
They are like children, trying to stay up real late on Christmas Eve
with preconceived notions of what Santa Claus delivers
and who gets what.

editors note:

With such certainty, we claim to know what we can’t know. Believe it! – mh clay

Quick & Current

featured in the poetry forum February 5, 2019  :: 0 comments

I don’t want to be forced to argue
in favor of my existence.

Just because you cannot always see
my line of thought, my six-foot-five self,

does not mean I will not allow you
the last word as in the past.

I will make do with the clouds
that close in on the mountain tops

and blow aspen branches to the ground
or break pine boughs with heavy snows.

We see the effect of the wind upon trees,
but not the trees’ effect upon the wind.

It is that way with people—
impacts, no matter what type, effect both parties.

I collected enough downed wood
to stoke the stove most of the winter.

Yeah. I spend a lot of time trying to see
the fire’s flame beyond the yellow-orange tips

into the wavy lines of smoke-cloaked heat
rising up the chimney flue.

editors note:

Up in smoke? No waste when you’re up in it. Selah… – mh clay

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

Medusa

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

Leave

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

Mementos

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

Shikaakwa

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