A Place for My Dead

January 20, 2017  :: 0 comments

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 —

In sleep.

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,
and thoughts—

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.

editors note:

No gun control here, only boyhood emotions; mutilation as metaphor, to ask, “What’s it for?” – mh clay

Southern Cross to Carry

July 9, 2016  :: 0 comments

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
true tragedy—

Anyone speaks for the dead.

Progress of Clocks

featured in the poetry forum July 9, 2016  :: 0 comments

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.

editors note:

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

Sentimental Snowcapped Romance, Seasonally

featured in the poetry forum December 25, 2015  :: 0 comments

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.

editors note:

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

Tap Wall Vipers

December 25, 2015  :: 0 comments

Serpents smell of beer, thriving in kegs, tap lines.
Thirsty? Lap up a viper pit as tongues twist tales
of sweetness, when snakes strolled to dance floors
to spill in curled cursive how drunks will fall in spells.

They’ll take in everything from throat to tail
while wearing their eyes inside your own,
powdered nose cobras loving the value of venom.

Earth’s oldest thin dragons spit poisonous sugar from inside
women made of scales, muddy faces of manmade prayers,
never to slide into sunlight.

All that’s known is to strike when passion
is how bites feel to the bone.
Nothing’s more intimate than teeth.

The slither of colors across cheekbones,
drunks teach snakes to preach.
Fuck them down their jaws, right through the fangs.

Snap and suck out a deeper scream.
Draw blood as the Holy Spirit never does.
I only pray to taste the dirt you’re living on.

editors note:

When the fangs are flying, there’s only one way to run; in a serpentine fashion. – mh clay

Engagement Photos & Young Love & Ampersands

December 24, 2015  :: 0 comments

Everyone wants love but no one asks for this.
Before making love, make yourself coffee
because all you’ll do is make yourself tired.

Before making love to the camera, look the best
you’ll look until you’re in a little black burial dress.
Live a life with no wedding gowns, like you’ve always wanted
each other, never another, drunk or sober.

Everyone’s in love but no one looks in love on their phones,
using U for you, taking photos alone in bathrooms.
Shave your chin and armpits, suck in curves, take time,
you’re no second best, no one else’s chilled leftovers.

Break hearts, be in love, aerate flowerbeds with heels.
Play in the shadows on the world’s most magic hour,
kiss for the photographer as an axe murderer jumps from wildflowers —

Earth’s orange hue is gone quick, so we don’t have time to die,
even if you think your hair stalls the sunset.
It doesn’t, it splits like a bad date’s check.

Time here is to convince yourself you’re in love
until you say people in the photos aren’t alive anymore.

Those humans meant everything,
but soon you’ll be certain those kids are dead.

editors note:

When the bloom is off, by god, it’s way off. – mh clay


December 24, 2014  :: 0 comments

They wrecked the halls when the whiskey eggnog was snuck into the dorm after finals ended. Jeff was everyone’s hero. He bootlegged enough to of the ‘nog to keep everyone lit and alive until New Years. No one has to leave, joy demanded it. Parents were concerned within hours, though. Then snotty, boggy vomit fell from the dorm’s roof as …

Shirts and Skins (Thanksgiving Mornings)

featured in the poetry forum November 27, 2014  :: 0 comments

Maze-fed country boys pray to one god on game day
before televised tradition, when morning games pre-game adulthood.

By late afternoon’s traditional feast, all will be NFL MVPs.
Super Bowls, not equations, couplets, complex histories or simple metaphors
inspire, only giving thanks to bodies maintained to be entertained.

Balls, the hopes of inner-cities—it’s the same as for country rats
raised on Nike and gravy-laced overtime heartbeats,
time spent dreaming about being the sexiest men dead or alive.

Some boys savagely skin themselves, demanding nudity with
Gatorade-stained mouths, cornucopias of curse words.

Shirts and skins!—the death sentence of fat children.
Running, like swimming, is safe in a shirt: no one knows what’s underneath—

Games are wars, and boys know bodies don’t matter, only the body count
over grass the color of badly born babies born to be picked last.

Savages and sweat-dressed saviors pretend to play
with knuckles the color of Sun Dancers, the game is everything
we were born to be and be thankful for.

editors note:

On Game Day, it’s the winners who give thanks; the losers wash the dishes. – mh

Killing Field

July 18, 2014  :: 0 comments

The way you can’t swallow, a thick throat, swollen with the need for a wet drop, that was their country. The hunter left his family to gather supper, a hog to slaughter. The kill would happen early, while the woman and children would pick cotton. The hunter would return with blood on his hands, food for bellies. With death, there’s …

Summer Loving Unbeliever

December 24, 2013  :: 0 comments

We owe everything to those we love
but are indebted to hate, like heat.

Santa and snow both work for Jesus, seasonally,
so the gifts come in mysterious ways, occasionally.

How will snow fall? Slowly, or devouring year-around beauty,
only noticing a bland white world on the way to work.

How will gifts arrive? One-by-one, or all through the roof?
How will I die? In a million pieces, or in a one old shell?

You wait for Santa, or salvation, or snow, just to wait
until you’re old enough to know waiting is all we want.

But you can always laugh at butthole-shaped snowflakes.
And if they never fall, you can die knowing

with luck, we’ve lived to when we can remember
what never was—

What we never were: things of beauty,
angels singing to the newborn king.