The sandwich shop sneeze guard is layered with disgust, a windshield driven through a locust plague. Braelynn leaves the stack of hardening foot-long shells of bread to clean the circular common patio table of ladies who arrived fifteen minutes until closing time in a Baptist shuttle to order twelve six inch tuna sandwiches. No chips, diet Pepsis. Across the floor, …
Chevy stepside rust fades when Texas horizons distort from blue to grey, promising only the crawl of darkness. Stark against crepuscular atmosphere slants a white house filthy from foundation to deteriorated shingles. The frame sags into dry Texas soil. Ancient worms and creation’s bones partially devour what’s inside, memories of no one who returns here, hands in pockets hoping to …
Rubber tires don’t stick to asphalt in August as boys stick to bragging while drinking. Longnecks and short stories in a shuttlebus jammed on a Texas highway nowhere near wide enough. “Don’t say anything about what we’re talking about, we’re different. We just needed to get out of high school and grow.” I assure groomsmen and their groom I’m as …
Harvest Road took women and no one was bothered. From God’s eye and Internet maps it was easy to discover the street but miss sidewalk cracks where dark things with wet skin made night sounds, piles of departed and disfigured pets found under lost animal posters, and ghostly annual October Klansmen hanging in mesquite trees. Karen absorbed all this on …
The fuck stops here, in a room of strangers, once lovers.
Close eyes and enunciate ex-ter-min-ate with
no separate breaths between hello and goodbye
spreading across infinity, from sheets to space,
rung around mysteries inside bedside table rings,
but never slipped on any fingers.
Bar receipts crumble as petals in pockets, scarves tug as nooses,
stomach knots tie one off better than drinking to any horizon.
Beer isn’t paradise, it’s the discovery of gods
drowned in disillusion, betting on nightmares
and occasionally lucky sunsets for some of us.
Taste fingers slid between teeth, prints trace the tongue,
imprints of dirty doors and girls lied to and called whores,
safe in sending kisses to bottoms of glasses, never sunsets.
Beer-bungled, clumsy commingling; benevolence blundered, consequences unconsidered. (read two more on Tyler’s page; a romantic reader and an uncaring killer – check’em out!) – mh clay
Drunk talk is a love song for wobbling grackles
cawing a rhyme scheme of past lovers’ names.
Don’t seek drunk kisses, they find you
in a high-rise where vinyl afterthoughts pile.
In her atmosphere, all I craved was her body of work
after bars and a stroll as uncomplicated as her bookshelf.
Our town’s got lies to share, shaven legs to slide,
but all I cared for were her barren margins.
Too many bookmarks, too shallow into pages.
Much unread – unloved.
“The books are all mine, in me.”
Same as drinks on lips used to touch others’ glasses.
Permanent sunset mounted her mattress.
She’ll photograph more sun, she promised.
I thought: Don’t. Photograph the dead.
Drink, swallow them in their moment.
Here’s a lover’s chance to catch up on his reading… – mh clay
I discover my shadow over dead crows off a red dirt road
and tell myself to kill only my age in talons on tension wires,
pick teeth with beaks, weave an oily feather necklace, a gift
to a Texan woman as tall as telephone wire conductors.
BB bullets hit feathers as soft as whispers in ears,
as freely as step-parents exiting homes.
Crows die in sleep as aged Baptists hope and pray to die as they lived —
One crow for every year I grew into a murderer, certain
BBs would be the last thing they’d see fly before slipping
down light into my new shadow darkening useless wings.
No one’s said killing opens invisible doors to dead worlds.
After one kill, boys sway with the edge’s drop,
what falls off tongues as birds from skies:
There’s no beauty in the world if there’s no world,
only static shadows, a place for my dead.
Miracles of flight fall to gravity’s authority as a Saturday soldier
takes life down bent iron sights, pump-action modus operandi,
feathers clutter a garden of roadside berries, more rot than fruit,
In life, death holds nothing…
Death holds no life when it does arrive.
More bored than warped by remorse, BB grease,
plastic mechanics made me lick trigger fingers
after killing many but slaughtering only time.
Kicking red dirt clumps down the road
where human foot prints are mine among claw imprints,
shadows colored as feathers, carcass echoes —
The road most traveled has the most bodies.
No gun control here, only boyhood emotions; mutilation as metaphor, to ask, “What’s it for?” – mh clay
Drink our brother’s blood like rum
as liquor green glass filters room light.
Pray something grows but be mortified it blooms
as rattlesnakes ‘round noose ropes.
Carry crosses above gravestone colored capitals
and hope roots don’t stem from past
cast curses towards daughters or cast stones
pelting sons, meddling bruises in deep black tones.
Flags don’t keep anyone warm, but burning them does.
Hold communion with kerosene, hands high, tongues out;
feeding vinegar to screaming children hanging
in a bloodborne tree, begging souls below to stop flames.
But we can’t tell the difference between bloomed fruit
and two hundred years of broken necks.
We know how they look. We know how they sound.
church bells toll in unison, telling the living
Anyone speaks for the dead.
Look at the healthy grass grown in Dallas,
even in a life of closed eyes, we see the city
quarantined by the gods of July
among skyline bones, weaseling in kitschy graffiti.
We’re all good, with only moderate genocidal relations,
pale riders on paler horses seeking more hurt than Heaven.
And summer has only begun to bleed
as crows see our hope in karma but sing us no songs.
Only a few lick blood off fingers, all of us say in hope. America’s religion,
where there are no saviors for those won’t value others. Still,
something’s in those open holes in chests grown since childhood,
beating as we move mountains of dead through generations,
reluctantly to thoughtlessly allowing others to the top,
adding to our Babel of bodies, all to look God in the eye
and demand it fucking weep for what we love to see die.
Caught in a cavalcade of carnage; we can’t break free. (Read another of Tyler’s mad missives on his page – check it out.) – mh clay
Winter’s a season to carry in a pocket,
hoping it’s as pretty as remembered.
Holy ghosts of Christmas pasts, futures and presents
wish our world ices under heels.
Some search for angels in snow,
expect gifts they know they’ll love,
or will explain what a life feels like.
Find what’s built, don’t crumble with it.
Grow experiences outlasting heartbeats.
Every night’s holy. Drain glasses, always feel full.
Sing simple carols as loud as favorite swears.
All hallways wear mistletoe as years become old loves.
Be lucky stomachs are as knotted as lights
before kissing, breathing out ghosts goodnight.
An eternal Season’s Greeting from our Short Story Editor (also a poet in his own write) for all who would keep their ghosts alive. (Read two more from Tyler on his page; greetings, for contrast, from a brief season in hell.) – mh clay