featured in the poetry forum January 14, 2023  :: 0 comments

. . . is he living in the past
he wonders
when life was simpler?

As the present continues sliding into a more and more
uncertain and dangerous –
let’s be honest and say foreboding – future
I find myself harkening back (harkening? seriously?)
to a more comfortable past –

where I’m dating my girl picking her up in my new
1966 Bahama Blue VW Beetle
taking her bowling, to the movies
dancing with her in the high school gym

where my brother and I are working at The Doc’s
caring for all those animals

where I’m a star on the gymnastics team
lifting weights with Tony and Ed

where the future is stretching out before me
like an exciting, mysterious road
of possibility and wonder
and I have all the time in the world.

editors note:

An old word to recall that feeling when the future was new. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum May 30, 2022  :: 0 comments

. . . even though you’re older
you cannot comprehend
how it happened so fast . . .

When you’re older
you wake up groggy
stiff and sore but I don’t get it
didn’t do anything yesterday
except eat and drink
watch a bit of TV
and yet now I feel
like I’ve just fallen off
the back of a truck.
There must be something
to be done about it.
Googling tells me get up
hydrate, take a kickboxing class
and I laugh and laugh.

editors note:

When you’ll hurt till you laugh. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 16, 2021  :: 0 comments

She never said a word
not one word
to me in high school

but I never expected
her to why would she have she
was stunning – beautiful and confident

athletic and popular
with her blonde hair and tight
unstoppable teenage body

so when I received a Facebook “Friend Request”
from her I hit the “Accept” button so fast
I fell off my chair!

And yet I still had the audacity
to expect her to respond
to the dopey note I sent her:

“I just had to say hi
now that we are ‘friends’ on FB,
how are you?”

Of course she never responded
how could she, no of course she couldn’t
reminding me that even after 50 years

some things never change
without upsetting life’s delicate balance
reminding me that I should have remained

tongue-tied and awestruck, content
with my humble place
within the universe’s unimpeachable physics
and oddly I am.

editors note:

As ever, obsessing alone. – mh clay

Frozen River

featured in the poetry forum February 19, 2021  :: 0 comments

Some physicists say (not Einstein) that time
is not like a river flowing
from the past through the present
into the future but instead a frozen river
no past or future no flowing of anything anywhere
everything that’s ever happened
or is happening or will happen is there already
frozen together (this is not the easiest
concept in the world to grasp)
time doesn’t move
just sits there in a big block of ice.
So theoretically I’m in our living room
back in our house on Northfield Avenue
Mom’s on the sofa watching TV
Gunsmoke or Perry Mason and I’m ten running
my Matchbox cars up and down the hills and valleys
that are her arms and legs
and I haven’t a care in the world.

editors note:

Here’s where we might like all our assets frozen. – mh clay

Boisterous Blathering

featured in the poetry forum June 16, 2020  :: 0 comments

I am swearing at the TV not in anger just me and the little woman in the room in the entire house (Coronavirus Pandemic has us sheltering-in-place only, coming out to grab some food every week or two).

I swear at the TV a lot at the moronic commercials and the even more moronic “News” people, can’t help myself it’s kind of a hobby lets me burn off an anti-societal aggression lurking in my bones. (I am a child of the 60s after all).

But like I said I’m not really angry just spouting and most of the time it’s funny:
“Another blurb about this virus during every fucking commercial feels like we are being beat about the head and neck with a 2 x 4”
“Holy shit even the traffic lady is telling us to wash our hands”

Been swearing at the TV for years decades even meaning no harm just a bit of boisterous blathering and it’s just the two of us like I said nobody else around a couple swear words here and there I forget the context but no harm done (I thought).

But just now she says (glancing at me across the room from the corner of her eyes) “Watch your mouth!” Seriously? What am I nine! And now I am angry, but not swearing.

editors note:

When you can’t social distance, mind your social mores. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum June 14, 2019  :: 0 comments

Found The Doc but he was dying so I lost him again
Found an old high school classmate who talked nonstop about himself
Found our Football Queen but time had not been kind to her
Found my best college friend but he had found Jesus didn’t need me
Found my old boss who wanted me to join him drunk on his boat
Found an old neighborhood friend who posted 100,000 images of cats
Found an old gymnastics team buddy still living at home
Found a semi-famous poet I admired who ignored me
Found an old work buddy but he didn’t remember me
Found an old poet friend who sent me all his books

     an old artist friend who showed me all his art

Found my first girlfriend who wanted to be my girlfriend again

     that’s when my wife said enough is enough.

editors note:

At a loss for likes, findings can’t confirm all requests yield right reciprocities. – mh clay

The Estabrook

featured in the poetry forum July 31, 2018  :: 0 comments

The plumbers two of them here for hours
trying to clear the kitchen drain:
snakes plungers Shop-Vacs . . .
and still the damn drain remains clogged.

Greg says to Dave go downstairs
check if the water is flowing
by listening at the Estabrook. Wait, what?
Did I hear him correctly? The Estabrook?

That’s my name. Greg’s brow furrows.
It’s a standard pipe fitting collects multiple drainlines.
Yes still used today.
Estabrooks are all over the place.

Wow. I never knew.
Why haven’t I ever heard of it?
None of the 47 million plumbers I’ve used in my life
ever mentioned The Estabrook. Bastards.

Anyway, we had to call Roto-Rooter Plumbing
& Water Cleanup, cleared it in 10 minutes.

editors note:

What common household appurtenance is named after YOU? – mh clay

Good being older because I know:

featured in the poetry forum June 2, 2017  :: 0 comments

– when to call the plumber and when I can fix it myself (most times)
– we no longer need a bigger house, a faster car
– there are no more corporate ladders to climb
– I don’t have to worry about impressing self-serving bosses
and idiot co-workers
– getting angry over political machinations is fruitless
– not to get into a tizzy over unwanted marketing calls
– I don’t become offended as easily as I once did
like when store clerks call me sir
– I don’t have to laugh at jokes that aren’t funny
– what I’m good at and not
– when I’m tired I can nap
– don’t always have to be right
– music is the nectar of the gods
– I can’t win every argument
– I don’t have to pretend to like football and golf, salsa and beer
– don’t have to paint the entire house over one weekend
– fantasizing about sex is a dead-end road
– memories become stronger and more important especially
when they involve my girl, my childhood sweetheart
– I still feel guilty if I have a slice of pie or a bowl of ice cream
but it doesn’t stop me

editors note:

The list grows shorter with years; focus, more singular, more clear. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 23, 2016  :: 0 comments

Now he’s gone and I find myself
strangely drawn
to the most important woman in my brother’s life –
statuesque, dark eyes, olive skin, perfect hair –
as if she’s drunk from
the Fountain of Youth (he didn’t
marry her, but almost).
And as she tells me she loves opera,
reads Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, listens
to Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Bach
I stumble for my words,
imagining his smirk and that
“I told you so” look in his eyes.

editors note:

Loss brings gain; what might have been becomes a wonderful “could be.” – mh clay

32 Poems

featured in the poetry forum July 27, 2015  :: 0 comments

After two and a half years
mentored by a famous Beat poet
from the 50s and 60s
he finally produces a booklet of 32 clean
lean poems.

“The title poem – Bouncy House –
was inspired by your daughters”
he tells his son
and his son’s wife
as he hands them the booklet.

They say “Thanks, how nice”
as they put down their iPhones and leaf
through the pages for a minute
before picking up their iPhones again.
“That’s great” they added and that was that.

editors note:

Isn’t there an app for this? – mh clay