To Dance on the Ugly

featured in the poetry forum September 4, 2022  :: 0 comments

“Jinny always dances in the hall on the ugly”. Virginia Woolf, The Waves

I abhor everything that Jinny stands for,
her casual sex and promiscuous lore,
but I must admit she animates the book
with her billowing frocks and opening doors
and from her I learnt despite my scorn
to dance on the ugly, and dance for long.

In curfew darkness, I scribbled odes
by the haggard light of a famished globe,
a candle’s orb.

The rattle that Wilfred Owen deplored
in an anthem meant to disparage wars
now live assaults my metaphors,
who, unscathed, tap-dance a rhythm of their own.

And deaths that queued before my abode,
that abducted whoever I adored,
bequeathed an inheritance of fortitude,
of resurrection from every plight and woe,
a new-born soul.

editors note:

A perfect birth with every pirouette. (This is the title poem of Susie’s latest collection, To Dance on the Ugly. Available today on Amazon. Congratulations, Susie! Get yours here.) – mh clay


August 30, 2022  :: 0 comments

After undergoing a series of tribulations, I promised myself a good start but calamities, the outcome of sheer coincidences, befell me as soon as I had announced my resolve to purge my life of the defeatist stance (which some would call the Fate Syndrome). I pondered over some of the coincidences that derailed my life, whose presence even in fiction …


featured in the poetry forum June 29, 2022  :: 0 comments

As I was reading a witty treatise on artists and high critics
in which Oscar Wilde extolls contemplative existence
I looked at the protruding figures of The Last Supper opposite
my bed, upon which my eyes used to dwell every other minute
partaking of the bread and the wine within it.

There was a time when I awaited the sunset every early evening
and meditated over the celestial canvas,
the swallows darting across it
before the war shredded our lives
and clogged every stream of consciousness that rippled.

Our minds are now littered with worries
about the soaring costs of living,
the impossibility of being productive
without access to electricity,
the inability to travel with sanctions
that have estranged us from the human species.

editors note:

Such estrangement! Strange to us, strangling these. Think on that. – mh clay

In Distress

June 28, 2022  :: 0 comments

What is so special about grass? I ask myself. Is it their presence among our urban mess? Yet it no longer embalms a concept and many people do not believe in its aesthetic, medicinal, or magical essence in this age of malls and plastic magnificence. My dog eagerly rushes to any patch of vegetation on our concrete pavements. She lingers …

​They see a lobster

featured in the poetry forum April 20, 2022  :: 0 comments

​They see a lobster crawling out
every time he opens his mouth
to utter the words he had memorized
for a speech he never attempted to write.

They see a lobster shrieking out
every time he constructs a smile
that is unwilling to endow
his hardened features with the amity required
to lure the crowds.

They see a lobster reeling out
in the corners of his eyes
inebriated with tears that ripple
with self-love
as he gazes upon the sufferings of humankind.

editors note:

Such characters (recognize one?) are an affront to lobsterdom. – mh clay

A Thistle

April 19, 2022  :: 0 comments

The first men I fell in love were Robert Kennedy and Jesus Christ. I hope I am not blaspheming if I say that I found a prophet extremely handsome with his auburn hair and Celtic beard. I loved both JFK and his brother, but for me Robert was handsomer. I gazed upon my heroes long hours, until the Virginian (James …

Old Spice

February 12, 2022  :: 0 comments

He records the weight and breadth of her censorious words every night in his notebook. He keeps a chart of his tears, another of her screams, and a few tick boxes for the scarcity of halcyon days. His face has become a topography of his ill-hidden fears of displeasing a woman who had hijacked the best of his years. He …

A Chasm

featured in the poetry forum February 2, 2022  :: 0 comments

When you failed to impart your feelings to me,
I was bound to falter with hesitancy
for a beauty like yours had fettered my eloquent ease.

Nothing had repulsed me in your athletic physique,
a pair of arms, disarming my wit
whenever your sleeves unveiled their muscular feats.

A pair of eyes that probed without being intrusive.
A pair of lips that regaled with English translucence.
A pair of hands that intimated a world of assurance.

We drifted apart,
a chasm widening within our hearts,
submerging our hearths with early snowfalls.

editors note:

Looks good, feels good, fails better; a cold chasm, indeed. – mh clay

The Crying Game

November 26, 2021  :: 0 comments

I searched for something the least voguish. The location was an embassy though the occasion was only a job interview. London was in verdure with its tree-fringed roads. Sunrays multiplied in my eyes that beamed with joy – my first job interview since I graduated only three months ago. The interviewees hardly noticed my entrance into a very spacious room, …

A Free-Born Smile

featured in the poetry forum November 10, 2021  :: 0 comments

How can you abort
a smile that has been free-born,
that is neither cajoled nor bought,
that is not designed by a dentist who adorns,
that imparts to the onlooker a current of warmth,
that woos the worst sworn enemy with a truce,
that endows the oldest face with the glow of youth,
that makes a pair of lips eloquent without words,
that builds a bridge between nations that constantly fought,
that opens a gate into one’s innermost thoughts,
that rewrites a hasty letter with a cordial tone,
that rebukes the frowns that are the offspring of gall,
that humors a forlorn soul,
that exposes for the beloved two rows of amity’s pearls.

editors note:

With those priceless pearls? How can you, indeed? – mh clay