Antlers, still attached to frozen plastic bagged deer heads, stare as my husband sits into a sagged old lawn chair in our new garage. Old paint buckets to touch up new scratches we put in our new world pyramid around us. We didn’t need a map to find a home with one another, just a compass. But the damn severed …
Light chased and you carried its weight.
When we spoke, you saw, illuminated our words.
Can’t photograph breaths but what’s breathing,
used to speaking to ghosts, rarely seeing ourselves
lucky with eyes but few measure colors between black and white.
How we’re attuned to shadows isn’t as beautiful as how
we’re exposed in light that speaks for our story.
We see you in dark rooms, measuring
what we see, as we are, how we are.
Vision is but eyes aren’t perpetual so hold to this—
as you saw us
as we hope we sound—profound, ignited bends in shades.
Permanent swirls in static.
This is Tyler’s tribute to our friend and Mad Brother, Dan Rodriguez. Dan has moved on to the next great adventure and we will miss him greatly. No one could bring our words to light like he could. – mh clay
6th Street, hanging as Jesus Christ’s parents
under their son’s cross, hoping he plays a tune, that dying
is an act for city lights while dirt birds perch
in unfinished future rises freed from walls for now,
not spot lit silver cast from bank windows above
6th Street telephone pole people stuck wearing deep
staples from artists before stripped away by a curbside
rock star Christ with god on a guitar for one song
for the end about how Heaven doesn’t have husbands or wives.
6th Street, I’ll pry by teeth until I taste pecan shells,
bite bare all that’s shucked underneath to taste
the middle of what’s not the best but not the worst on
uneven sidewalks as trusting as a liar’s song escaping
bridge ribs while eastward bats bend sunset waves.
6th Street fangs only for small things, never your neck (that’s mine)
in bars leaned as alchemic notebooks with potions to become
monsters eating cities left behind by light
feet on streets, potholes filled by fallen faces.
6th Street posts holed up as hearts.
No matter who hangs, never
take them down to hold.
See only yourself in asphalt as dusk
skidding brake lights spell out
never go home.
To be a rock god (not cod), where fishers of men string guitars (not nets) to strum up new believers. – mh clay
After prayers for small town dreams, miniature struggles for good grades to play sports before graduating to find someone to get caught up in a wedding proposal so ladies in room 39 can tally praises or prayer requests, Janice speaks wearing the elbow chub of Sunday school authority, “And now we can see there’s a new face with us today.” …
Sporadic stone edges aren’t precious gifts
inside wide throats swallowing sparse praise.
Fingers in orange soil pull rootless weeds—
miracles, gifts never asked for but forced on all.
The secret is never keep it to yourself.
Insistent life breaks earth, opens hope that
our dead don’t rise as earth spits crooked flowers.
What’s given are wildflowers grown on buried grandfathers
never knowing love should flow like whiskey off chins.
Christ’s birthplace of hay accepts kings
but desires sacrifice in all shades between
mountains, marred seas, any world bodies drop.
Field weeds spill, bless corners of carpet church steps.
Wrinkled petals under fingernails stain as blood.
What plants, pulled, can plant; perceptions, previews, post-mortems. – mh clay
After racing stop signs jutting from small town Texas school buses dull in pre-dawn’s sunray deprivation, I park where we used to play. Tossing basketballs into a net without a backboard, occasionally one would volley next door where my friend’s dying heart was pushed by an electric wheelchair and a young shaking hand. A teenage boy dying from ataxia, the …
Her exes have guitars or play guitars
or gave her a ring.
I leave behind a lit refrigerator light to storm
drunk into summer’s inferno and lose my keys.
I know strings, how they break from fingers.
California apologized for winter wildfires, Texas never
offers thick skin for seasons or oranges from trees
to feed and keep quiet until flames claim yards.
From glass, an unlocked bedroom window,
I bled onto a pillow under open air, a lave of falling ash.
Hearing gridlock before tomorrow’s first brake light,
all I say to the burning atmosphere is
Let me be the crack in your concrete
as I think about our buried first poem,
the one about traffic and kissing
at every stop.
But now, it stops with ash on the wind,
torn down with words I put back to my teeth
to talk backwards and build her up a world.
editors note: We can count down, but can’t start up anew. The burns are 3rd degree… – mh clay
Too much sleep to believe fireworks come twice a year.
Wish for the darkest night of human life tonight
through blinks, light bleeds as nettles dig
in flip flop heels before taking thorns home.
Summer burrs burrow, eyes lock with bitter stars.
Braces stain teeth to charred briquet legs.
Best not believe in heat, it’s here for us all,
fire for those below waiting on explosions to chase
shade under seats to the suffering of sticker arms,
rattlesnake seeds, hot dog bites spit from bit lips.
Believe fireworks can do anything but fall
as we will
never glance down, never see where we are.
Rarely do our explosions die alone
as we do
not whisper if this is summer’s funeral.
When year after year becomes year-after-year, we struggle to make meaning from the melee. What do we mean, anyway? – mh clay
“Dos horas,” their mother said before rolling up the windows and sitting in the music of air conditioning and radio. Bass shook their peeled back window little league football numbers. The Lopez brothers breathed on reflex as they walked into the volunteer fire department. Voting, city meetings concerning softball field noise violations, and courses on how to give life to …
“Let’s go into the blue,” was how I invited her to trespass onto the backyard dock. We weren’t prepared for more murk than color over our borrowed sludge lagoon. Sand was as far away as winter and we had splintery wood planks offering our bodies to lake water dragged twice this year already. Sounds of tree services already hacking and …