The Goddess of Sabotage

featured in the poetry forum August 11, 2023  :: 0 comments

It wasn’t real but it was true. The story I told.
Sea wind making the trees bow down, but not
to me. Between two cedars I make a door.
Open it. Walk through. It’s how I leave, exit

by exit by inciting an alternate ending.
Breaking away. What never happened
always happens. The world and its cruelties.
Out in the forest a spark in the big wide world,

in the small bones of my house. My roof
against the rain. Wall by wall against
the wild sea wind and the myth I create of it.
Falling down under the weight of the moss.

It’s how I create myself how rot by rot
by rote by paying the price which should
have been enough. Whatever I build falling
down. Erasing myself into legend, into a story

I never lived but live again. Dried bits of grain
chaff by chaff and I chafe at it. It was supposed
to be quick and easy. Myths have always been
the best part, pebbles I toss into the ocean, throw

by throw in the throes of passion, or something
like. Don’t mind me, I was only saying my life, word
by word, tale by tale with talons. Hoarding stones.
Counting stories courting the trees, fir by fir by fire.

editors note:

A steadfast stand to make a story stick. – mh clay

Gods of New Seasons

featured in the poetry forum December 5, 2022  :: 0 comments

November sun sparks
rain, igniting scraps of leaves
draped over naked, shining branches.

The wind: ice. The sun:
a thin hand on my back, its touch
a reminder of July’s oppressive blanket.

How I’d tried to escape it
in sweaty sleep, not any sheet
to cover me, not any wind, only July smothering

my skin. You in the cooler
basement, me too stubborn to move.
Dreams that night carried me on waves between

barely sleeping and barely
waking. Summers will always be
like that: hot and inescapable — Winters like this:

rain, wind, autumn air
ice-hot, ice-cold. Years spiraling
around and around until we dizzily brown

and fall off branches,
spinning to murky, mucky ground
where rain dissolves us into tissue, fragments

of bone. It’s enough
to make me restless, send me
out into the trees where the wind thickens

the fall, frees rain
in drops onto my face and hair:
cool, wet peace. I remember a night beside you

another place another
time, when, through the open
window above our bed, a wind brushed bright snow

from the roof next door
onto me, startling me into
cold grace. So grateful. So glad to be alive.

editors note:

Embrace that blast; alive, at last. – mh clay

The God of Undiminished Returns

featured in the poetry forum August 9, 2022  :: 0 comments

It’s how we hold this moment between us
in summer day’s slow farewell as it shades
into the small quiet night. The dim of it.
Please share that lightening peace.

Its sole stillness is rich with so much hidden
inside. Folded into its many pockets. We’re warm,
safe where the sea breeze lifts our hair.
Please share that lightening.

Because we know the night is not truly
that. It’s full of travel, us working our way
through hoarded scraps of the previous hours.
Please share that.

Don’t let their ragged edges saw at us
while we fall, minds shrill and brittle,
into the icy labyrinths of our dreams.
Please share.

Around us is the travail of nocturnal creatures,
when you’re most gone from me, off into
your own story, the likes of which are only yours.

editors note:

When bringing your own to ours, please, lighten up. – mh clay

The Gods of Piled Stones

featured in the poetry forum March 10, 2020  :: 0 comments

I am a coward now, afraid of bullets, of sirens,
of cameras. Of the moment of truth and then
nothing. When you crawl into the cairn

you carry your living marrow under its stones
into an other place, an other world. If stone
is death and wood is life, what then here

is bullet and bone? At winter’s solstice
the defeated sun angles to touch the wall,
anointing it with buttered light breaking

with new ferocity but now at summer’s solstice
there is only my own shadow inside the shadows,
a darkness cast by only me. Is it enough?

It is must be enough. It is never enough.
The silence here is full of no triggers, sets off
nothing but wonder and is crowded with souls

who were richly remembered but not now.
Now they are unknowable. You can wonder,
imagine, but only the stones know. Until you feel

that hand inside yours. The cool warm echo
of human touch. Illusion, that palm those fingers. Elision.
It is progress against the impossible. It is nearly enough.

editors note:

The smoke, the mirrors, the things left out; all we have to make it enough. (We welcome Neile to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

God of the In-Between

featured in the poetry forum September 12, 2019  :: 0 comments

These are the ones who don’t want me, them, those
and these: the ones with fire-crisped edges bent
and crackling who dream the orange-tipped tickling

those whose syllables are ice, the frost clouds
their rimed clothing; the aged, the young, the thin-
and thick-skinned, the raging, the quiet,
the small-minded,

the big-… I pace the never-claimed betweens, inside
the branching edges, the assents neither majestic or
pinched where there is passage for two (not one
or the many)

rooms with seats for us few but not crowds, neither
parsimonious or grand, which doesn’t mean I know
nothing of passion or still perfection but that I know
how to live

editors note:

Wondering how many are these few? Is there an in-between these in-between? – mh clay

The Solstice Gods Mess With My Head

featured in the poetry forum June 28, 2019  :: 0 comments

I feel drunk–with what? Summer maybe. Perhaps
it’s the salmon light of sunset on the patch of far clouds

that hits me like a bolt of Lagavulin lightning, or it’s that
luminous blue after sunset fades that sinks me like some

fruity azure cordial, too sweet with such a bite, just before
the light drifts black. Even though it’s morning now,

the brief night’s effects linger. The world feels strangely
weighted to the left, or my body does. I can’t help but lurch,

left left left. And my head swims with those silvery little bullheads
that dart from your feet when you’re wading

in the woven light of the tide. My head so distant
from my feet but silver dashing everywhere. I round about

my summer chores. The raspberries drop into my hands,
but the black currants must be convinced to let go.

I wrestle with them a bit just like I wrestle with the idea
of sleep, how to sleep when the nights are so sweet

and so brief? How not to sleep when the night breathes
lavender velvet through the window? Days so unbalanced

they lie about the hour as long as long as they can,
longer than anyone should, stretched beyond reason

till I know there’s been a day full of more
than the usual hours, so full of the salty summer sky

I drink down hard until I believe these nights will grow longer
till they’re ever shorter again. That the earth spins just like me.

editors note:

Salt summer; spun shadows, long cast. Solstice suckers, we. – mh clay