A Mighty Umpire

featured in the poetry forum November 14, 2022  :: 0 comments

a mighty umpire – calls me – asks me out – is basically a stalker
I want to be – on the upholstery team – noodling along – definitely safe

I want to be – in my dreams of powder – my dreams of powder
of the black and white silent era – amid plush maps – paper snakes

a snake knows how – to coil – how to strike – fast
a snake – can shrink or sting – on time – without memory

I want to be – rid – of the laws of the past – booked away – amid
snakes – candy – buttocks – a volume of voices – fresh from Oz

what’s gone – doesn’t always – go free – sometimes
what’s gone – goes elsewhere – an old horizon – wrapped in song

editors note:

What we want to be – is called safe – at home. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 18, 2021  :: 0 comments

If you separate sand from glitter
If you separate gray by days of the week
If you separate life into coins and cookies
If you take a cookie from the jar and put something else back
If no one else liked those cookies anyway
If your eyes are blue and you often think of the sky, what’s behind it
If you separate childhood from the girl in the blue dress by the river
If you separate the rain from the river
If you separate rocks from bruises
If you separate leave and leaving
If you separate good from goodbye
If you go with what you know and you know almost nothing at last

editors note:

Nothing at last. Yes! – mh clay

The Hit and Miss Colonic Game Show

featured in the poetry forum January 23, 2020  :: 0 comments

for Chase Dimock

First prize, a bank bag filled with randomly counted, worn out twenty-dollar bills. Second prize, a one month supply of apple pies, delivered freshly warm each morning, to take the place of bacon and eggs or yogurt and fruit or milk and cereal or a bagel and television or boredom and a cup of sighs. Apple pie always replaces at least two things.

The host isn’t much. A graduate of The Rip Taylor Charm School he checks his watch more than he tells jokes. His confetti hairpiece, older than he is. Some days his lips don’t move. The announcer impersonates him, throws her voice here and there, to keep things happening.

Every contestant gets a t-shirt no matter how he finishes. The t-shirt has the show’s slogan. Harold Bloom said he never thought an Emily Dickinson poem would be used that way.

editors note:

When your icons are shoved up your dark and lonely, will any Dickinson slogan do? – mh clay

On Someone’s Anniversary

featured in the poetry forum March 3, 2019  :: 0 comments

For the sake of argument, let’s have one. It’s been a while. At least a couple of hours since the last atomic blow up. You think the world would be better with sprinkles. I mostly disagree. Also, if I won the lottery, I’d invest in umbrella stocks and unicorn farms. I’m a planner like that. You’d spend it all on antique kitchen utensils and misshapen power tools, on oil paintings of Karl Marx and faux leather lampshades embroidered with the face of Mayakovsky. You’d start calling our house an estate and re-name it In Memory of My Feelings. That’s just like you. Plus, and I’m sure of this, your pockets would always bulge with quarters and breath mints. And your belt would be decorated with pet rocks in case you decided to take a swim.

editors note:

Winning won’t exempt you from going; but, at least you’ll be able to afford to go in style. – mh clay

Ghazal: Some words…

featured in the poetry forum August 11, 2018  :: 0 comments

Some words are heavy, filled with slow sadness, as
If each is a stone lifted from the pocket of the river.

Sometimes, we search hard for an epiphany. Lift up every
Green, mossy rock. Sometimes, guess what, there’s not one!

As a child, I thought rain had a meaning. Later,
I learned rain has many lovers. Gravity among them.

Once upon a time, I focused on the oyster’s bit of sand.
Now, I think of the lucky pebble in my old coat pocket.

My grandmother, fishing pole in hand, said I talked the fish away.
She believed fish, the best listeners, knew words by their ripples.

I have few beliefs. Words are vines that cover them. Grace is
Just dew that gathers in honeysuckle an hour before daylight.

editors note:

Hmmm. We become pearls to the extent we, as grains of sand, agitate our world? I could believe that… briefly. (We welcome Mike to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

The Chicken Riddle

featured in the poetry forum June 3, 2018  :: 0 comments

All day a chicken sits on one side of the road dreaming of the other side. She’s heard stories from her sisters, but thinks they are either lies or damned lies.
Cars move quickly down the road. No one slows down for a solitary, white chicken sitting on the roadside. It’s a busy road. A busy day. People have lives to live. Cars have services to provide before they break down or get traded. The chicken sits and sits.
She imagines the sun as a giant egg. She imagines clouds as giant eggs. She cannot dream herself to flight. So, back she goes to the barnyard and the clucks of her sisters.
On nights when the moon is full and the sky especially bright and clear, she sneaks from her coop and into the garden and imagines every row of tomatoes a dirt road that even her shadow can cross.

editors note:

So, turns out she didn’t; existential angst, an’ all… – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum March 27, 2018  :: 0 comments

the way you break my heart
just to play with glue

your hands all sticky
as you piece together
what was fine

each time,
it’s a little different

almost always, there’s
one piece
left on the floor

editors note:

Watch your step when you go for the glue; there are feelings on the floor. – mh clay