featured in the poetry forum October 16, 2022  :: 0 comments

No drop of moisture,
not even a tear,
only the dry underbelly
of grief left from
witnessing a beloved,
ravaged with age,
fade and pass,
and feeling nothing
but wonderment and relief.

Desolate and worn
is the heart broken,
no hope of storm clouds
to wash the wound
or wet the earth
in hopes of flooding
the dusty dunes,
which roll like dry waves
against the scorched horizon.

These are the endless
days of drought.
The lump in the throat,
a whimper in the dark,
ominous clouds but no rain,
as dry as the desert
or as brittle as the petal
fallen from the bloom
on a forgotten grave.

editors note:

Wishing need of umbrellas for all. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum December 23, 2021  :: 0 comments

Santa lives down the street from me.
He drives a white Kia.
I know it’s Santa
because his name is painted on his car
in sweeping red cursive.
I see Santa around town,
like in the waiting room at the dentist’s office.
I wanted to tell him my wishes,
but he never looked up from his magazine,
and I was too afraid to sit on his lap.

Santa has a garden behind his home.
it’s a lovely place,
with a greenhouse
and brightly colored raised beds.
I wonder what he’s growing?
Food for the elves and reindeer?
Maybe he’s cultivating peace and joy?
I wonder if that’s how he stays so jolly.

Santa lives down the street,
but this isn’t the north pole.
There’s no magic and it hardly
ever snows.
Winter is coming though.
It started with a sprinkling of symptoms,
sleet mixed with sorrow,
and now— a flurry of fear.
Please, please, Santa
can you spare us some cheer?

It’s a lot to ask, I know.
My wishes are bigger
than your sled can carry,
but do you have some holiday magic to spare?
Can you wrap me up in that big, red coat and tell
me it’s going to be okay?
You see it’s awfully dark out
and there’s a shortage of fairy tales.

editors note:

Asking a real tale for some “Ho, Ho, Help!” – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 26, 2020  :: 0 comments

we will not rest tonight,
the city pulses like an angry heart,
a vibrating, humming hive
swarming, billowing like smoke,
with stings as sharp as glass,
a genie loosed
cannot easily be put back,
nothing can coerce
the return to quiet when
one has discovered the wilds
of the undone,
blurred lines, broken boundaries,
where chaos and rage reign,
there’s no going back
to tameness now,
that we’ll never do again

editors note:

All wrongs put right! We rage for that. – mh clay

Too much time

featured in the poetry forum April 25, 2020  :: 0 comments

It’s like we’ve
always been here
locked in a circle
of deja vu.

Waking, the only
difference in night
or day, but still
all the same.

Same walls,
same window,
same faces inside
looking out.

This is our home,
our shelter,
the place we
become us.

But our
safe places
became our
new cages.

Time – the thing we
normally lack –
shoved down
our throats

choking us,
stealing the air,
until we give in
to breathe as one

synced to the sound
of a tiny hand
ticking slowly, so slowly
around the same
empty dial.

editors note:

Alone together, like before, never. – mh clay

Key West

featured in the poetry forum November 29, 2019  :: 0 comments

Desperation isn’t always
found in dark places.
Sometimes it lurks
in sunshine and sand.

It smells of salt air, fish
and Coppertone
instead of cigarettes
and booze.

It’s not a destination
as much as a spot
in your heart
or a corner in your head.

Key West is an island
at the bottom of America.
Shake us up and we all
land at the bottom somewhere.

Lay in the sun too long
and you burn.
Scratch an itch
until it becomes infected.

Cause a feeding frenzy
with a drop of blood.
Bury your head
in the sand if you must,

but please
whatever you do,
don’t let the land sharks
find you alone.

editors note:

Give them no access; shelter in place, lick wounds alone. – mh clay

Peter Pan of Jazzland

May 25, 2019  :: 0 comments

His name was Billy Ray, and he was anything but country. Billy Ray was the Peter Pan of the jazz scene during the 80s in Oklahoma City. The bass player had come of age in the 60s during the birth of free jazz. It was then he had found his religion and never strayed from the altar of Miles, Monk …

First Love

featured in the poetry forum April 8, 2019  :: 0 comments

When love was new,
each heart beat raw,
every breath
pulsed red,

and you wrote
poetry with
lines oozing
sticky sweet.

School days filled with
bubble gum kisses,
tear drop hearts and
breathy talks behind bleachers.

When it looked
like life itself was beginning
and ending with one word
one touch, one look,

and adults said
things like
“you’re too young
to know love.”

Disco ball nights,
pink petals and baby’s breath
fell like confetti on
crowded dance floors.

Then he danced
with someone new
as you embraced
the last song – alone.

Pain pulsed
in your ears
sounding like
deep divers gulps,

and your heart
slowly melted
sending droplets
to your toes

then adults patted your hand
repeating shallow words
you couldn’t comprehend
about fish and the sea.

editors note:

When we thought one wish was for one fish, we cried oceans… – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum March 13, 2018  :: 0 comments

I don’t know the day it happened
nor the time
I only know
I had a dream
and then one day
it was gone.

Was it age
or busyness, I do not know
when I grew up
lost my childhood
and became

Me who was
is not
me who is,
when did the laughter fade?

Was it pain
or loss
that took the dream
the youth
the me,
and buried them away?

editors note:

Under that dirt lies memory. Keep digging! – mh clay

the big house

featured in the poetry forum August 10, 2017  :: 0 comments

the house was too big
too empty

it echoed
her loneliness

with each reverberation
louder was the pain

it shook her
like a child shaking his jacks

before he throws them
to the ground

she rattled about
bouncing off walls

and bumped her head
a time or two

but nothing changed
the house did not grow smaller

or her emptiness lessen
and she wondered

if it even mattered
how large the house is

to people
who are alone

editors note:

Empty is empty; large or small do not apply. – mh clay

Waiting Room

featured in the poetry forum April 28, 2017  :: 0 comments

These are the days we dread, the days of unknowing. Life is fragile as an egg. You never know when a crack will appear and the yolk will spill away. Your test came back—wrong. We wait, more tests are done, more waiting. The longer we wait the more scenarios we concoct, dreaming about dark tumors flooding organs, masses teeming with life waiting to erupt. We google, we ask, we read, still we wait. Your smile has left as you turn your light inside searching for answers, questioning what you ate, drank, or smoked in the past. “I am healthy, or so I thought,” the sadness in your voice apparent. You feel betrayed. You run, you do yoga, eat sensibly, watch your weight and drink in moderation, but now this organ inside mocks you. You can’t see or feel it. You only have heard of it and its rebellion. The phone doesn’t ring today.
We wait.

editors note:

May our scenarios run unfounded. Please, let it be “negative.” (We welcome Lisa to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay