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


featured in the poetry forum January 6, 2015  :: 0 comments

My daughter is boycotting
companies that lie to her
or steal from her.
On her hit list so far:
Comcast, Apple, Hertz, Commerce
Insurance, Walmart, Sorrento’s Pizza
and a local gas station.
I warned her
that she’s going to run out
of stores and services
by the time she’s my age.
Fuck ‘em, she said.

editors note:

Ah, the search for truth in advertising; an endeavor for the idealist. – mh


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

In the park pushing my granddaughter
on the swings, guiding her
across the monkeybars
up the ladders and down the slides
the only man in the place surrounded
by trophy wives and buxomy blonde European nannies
but none of them not one of them notices me
with my new weight-trained body
thick shoulders and arms broad chest and back
pushing lifting climbing pulling (and flexing)
toiling in the afternoon sun
and I can’t comprehend why
I’m not getting a single look
or even a simple shallow furtive smile
from any of these beauties then
I get home glance in the mirror
at my 65 year old body and understand why.

editors note:

Alas, it’s not the seed, however vital and strong, but the seed dispenser who matters to fertile field keepers. Vanity, indeed! – mh

Electronic Man

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

Here we are in Boston the oldest most historic city
in the country bursting with unique art and architecture:
“Which way to the bar where they filmed Cheers?”

You can see the entire city from up here
a panoramic view everything from The State House
and Symphony Hall to Harvard and MIT:
“I need to take a picture of the airport with my iPhone.”

There is so much to see along the Freedom Trail
and in the Public Gardens and through Boston Common
the oldest city park in the country – statues lakes bridges
exotic plants street performers the Swan Boats:
“Hold on I can find some great tours on YouTube.”

The Aquarium divers are introducing some new species
and feeding 85-year old Myrtle the Turtle right in front of us:
“Oh look you can see it on the big screens along the wall.”

We can stroll along Hanover Street in the Italian North End
find a nice little place for a genuine Italian cappuccino:
“I’ll Google a place using my iPhone more efficient that way.”

Electronic Man knows it all won’t miss a thing
on this his first visit to Boston except for Boston itself.

editors note:

Our eyes, screens; our memories, recorded; our experiences, validated through playback. All now is meant for later… – mh

Shakespeare’s Ghosts

featured in the poetry forum January 23, 2013  :: 0 comments

What if you belonged to another man,
were another man’s wife
and I fell in love with you anyway,
I couldn’t help myself and fell in love anyway
with your beauty and charm,
your elegance and grace,
but I couldn’t have you
because you belonged to him,
what would I do then?
What could I do then?
Would I go crazy,
loving you from afar,
pining away, pacing a rut
through my living room rug,
the thoughts of you throbbing
like heavy trains through
my brain, chewing at my heart
like jackals gnawing a wildebeest carcass,
the vision of your ethereal femininity
like diaphanous bats haunting my daydreams
and my long dark nights too,
like a ghost in Hamlet or MacBeth or Richard III?
Or would I fold my tent,
abandon my quest for you,
go off quietly into that not-so-good night?

Upon instantaneous reflection
the answer is all too clear to me –
I would have to pursue you with every ounce
of my pale pathetic being,
move mountains, conquer the heavens,
how could I do otherwise?
We have only one life and one true love
and they must come together in one place
in time like a tornado touching down
on a clear flat plain
in the lightning and the rain.

editors note:

What if, what could, what does, what not, what ever? Much better, what is. – mh


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

Bobby! For crying out loud!
Your cousin Maria is beautiful!
I just talked with her on the phone.
She’s also brilliant and very personable.
I can tell she’s caring and loving,
thoughtful, considerate, and kind.
I found her picture up on Facebook.
Dude! I’m not kidding!
Oh my God, she’s simply beautiful!
You should see her, you’ve got to see her.
What have you done?
Where have you gone?
You’d be so happy to still be around
just to spend some time
with your cousin Maria,
to see her, talk with her, touch her hand,
breathe the same air she breathes.
I know you would. I know it.
Bobby! For crying out loud!

editors note:

These moments, friends long gone. How to share? Like this: Speak into the air. – mh

Three yards of loam

featured in the poetry forum August 19, 2012  :: 0 comments

Doesn’t seem like a lot of labor:
2 hours collecting and burning sticks
and branches and twigs,
some cutting with the chainsaw.
Then 2 more hours shoveling and raking,
raking and shoveling 3 yards of loam,
spreading it all around
where the old apple tree used to be.

But I guess it really is a lot of labor
because I’ve strained a muscle
in my upper back
that stings with every breath I take,
and my lower back and hips
still have burning pain and fatigue
and it’s 2 days later!

Muscles take longer to recover as you get older,
you get sore easier,
remain sore longer. But apparently,
I haven’t yet got the picture.
I still think I’m 24, have the stamina
and strength of my youth.

But I hope now I’ve finally learned my lesson,
this painful lesson of going easier on myself,
so I won’t be so sore and sensitive,
throbbing and burning with pain.
Hopefully I’ve learned finally,
to act my age – but I doubt it.
What man, what true man, can submit,
can agree, to go gentle
into that dark night?

editors note:

When not gentle in the day; damn sure, not so in the night. – mh