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.

Yule Shoot the Carolers

featured in the poetry forum December 24, 2013  :: 0 comments

Oh, ho-ho, what’s that, poet, you hate Christmas? It’s capitalism
with the heart of cannibalism as Coca-Cola Santa blows
sharp frozen snot rockets over sleeping Afghan children?
You want to slap the smile off Walmart’s mascot because
you survived the Black Friday plague but carry disease:
a Claymation childhood and a craving for hot cocoa.
You’ll use Red Rider to assassinate neighbor’s ornaments,
shooting down stars and couples in accidental mistletoe moments?

You’ll survive the Yule times, you’ll see, not by a king’s birth,
Ho-ho-ho! No! But by one good Christmas blockbuster.
Muppets and Griswalds can bring cleansing artificial snow.
Even Grinches and Scrooges are due for a 38th
no matter if the North Pole is run on slave labor,
no matter how many buy bravery by daring to want or desire.

All art is pursued bliss, and some will hate this, but all I wish
is for all poets to have a Mad Merry Christmas.

editors note:

By editorial decree, we extend this Yuletide blessing to lovers of poetry, as well. A blessed Eve to all! – mh

Paperback Prometheus
The Brief Life Shelf Life

June 8, 2013  :: 0 comments

We desire death in bookstores. Devour us for all time,
like a paperback Prometheus. But poetry? That’s what people
hope you don’t write when they hear of your scribbling.

Art by hand comes hard, then sells for nothing but a body’s
destruction. There’s love, but there’s no difference when you end used.

Surely, I spent too much time on my bio, back page blurb, seeking
a bestselling author’s photo: unblemished cheeks and bleached teeth.

Don’t work hard for bad art, it comes naturally, ecstatically. Know
you will be used: shelved to resell to loveless strangers browsing
for bargains: bushmen living on safari, hunting for a buck. Hasn’t
someone told them if they want to live, don’t do it off of books—

especially in the desert of writers no one knows—I am obscure, half price
but still worthless, sharing shelves, paper smell, set text on decayed trees.
Stiff but broken spines, I find myself for the first time, two for one, far
from Dr. Seuss, too close to Shakespeare.

Golden Dazzlers

June 8, 2013  :: 0 comments

Dance through tunes of a hopeless world, impressed only when
shoes are strained of toenails, broken ankles, and when ginormous
pulled groins are censored. We clap for final productions only;
we reserve cheers, like gold, for anything but hopeful failures:
uncooked golden nuggets of bulbous teenage bellies.

The smell of travel bagged chips collapses in seat cracks as
the collected audience shifts to complain to phone screens
so they won’t look up to see strobe-lit dazzle: tasseled sequin shame
as form-fitting as latex gloves over gasping human heads.
There are no sweat beads, but they wear never-weary smiles.

To work would be to stop smiling, and that’s all they have.
There is nothing noble in so many things, certainly bad dancing.
They are each perpetual failures in slippers moving in missteps with misshapen
thick hips before anyone screams that dancing is a bad decision.
The audience does not connect eyes, same as any first time,

ensuring at least one of us is having a good time. Young dazzled girls
should be anywhere else, on top of anything but a stage:
xxxUnder stars,
under their first boyfriend, under headphones, under the influence
xxxof music.

Swirl, Mad

featured in the poetry forum June 8, 2013  :: 0 comments

Our self-portraits are warning labels on cigarette packets.
Bones burn as white wedding chapels afire, alone among desert dunes;
as smoke stains heaven’s floorboards, we use angel’s halos as toilet bowls.
There is more than deviancy in our beautified bodies and emptying glasses.

We’re the boys and girls next door—you can hear our fucking
through walls. When it stops, we write about yesterday
for tomorrow’s sake because we won’t remember tonight.
And you’ll hate us, because we’ll love you for what you don’t—

We want your dull bones, chilled blood; we’ll bring you fire as
we move mountains to drain oceans. We don’t sleep, but we dream
for all who live to sleep. For them, we’ll see mankind’s monumental end.
We can’t tell you how to live—all writers write is how to live lost.

All we want isn’t fifteen-minutes of fame, we seek failure:
to write false starts, to stand at the sidelines sucking Gatorade
as people play atop a lop-sided slant believing all the world is level.
Say speaking up is the devil, we’ll just call it our nightly hobby.

Earth dry gulps but breathes a sigh of relief as we banish paper asteroids
to waste bins, but dies during billion dollar summer blockbusters.
Earth lives for Big Gulps and telling art to shut the fuck up! It’s trying
to sleep. But we keep the bed hot, sheets sweaty, the swirled world burning.

editors note:

The food of poets is not for the average constitution, is unconstitutional, but has legs; indeed, will skitter under your kitchen appliances when you turn on the lights. Readers, rest assured; you won’t eat our food, only our regurgitations. Ambrosia; like sausage, tastes best if you don’t know how it’s made. – mh

Three Eggnog Omelet

featured in the poetry forum December 25, 2012  :: 0 comments

Pancakes on holiday plates affirm life as
the children scramble around eggs to eat
all the bacon they can as puppy dog licks soaked socks,
thanking us for no fleas and plenty to chew.

Be kind, kids. Be the kind of rain
that makes construction workers pay for cocaine.
Don’t be sad too often, be happy and open to
being an island, making others safe. Be in love. Give.

We gave to the young generation’s rage
against the remains of the Greatest Generation,
when she screamed, “Save the wrapping paper!”

It wasn’t the act of giving. It was seeing
finger-pressed, perfectly taped paper
fully destroyed by little beastly fingers.

editors note:

On this festive day, some of us give the greatest gift we can muster: Giving in to holiday chaos. Let the fun be fractious, it’s OK. That’s why god made eggnog! – mh