Featured Poems

Beginning of the Lunar Year

by on September 21, 2021 :: 0 comments

At one point I thought I knew
but that was long ago. More recently
I’ve taken to reading Dilbert who looks out
from his thin but colorful frame
of an office that could be anywhere. He stays energized
and in the groove by keeping a list of what he’s got to do:
taking private messages off his voice mail,
riding waves with co-workers.
That livens the whole affair
and maintains him in ways he thought impossible before.

Then she called. My evening’s looking up.
There will be thunder in the reaches,
some humorous negotiations over wine,
alternatives will be presented, claims adjusted,
a new accounting will be made.
I’m enthralled by the prospect.
I can see it now: I make smoke signals,
look for responses, offer a prayer
as if this were the beginning of the lunar year.

– Dale Cottingham

editors note:

When love is the objective, it’s moonlight over megabytes. – mh clay

Homegoing

by on September 20, 2021 :: 0 comments

And what if dying is like
that time I got out of school early
because I had an appointment
and I pushed open the heavy doors
and walked out into the day
and it was a beautiful spring day
or a late winter day that smelled like spring
and if it was fall it was early fall
when it’s all but technically summer
and there was a whole world going on out there
and it had been going on out there the whole time
that I was stuck inside with time
and teachers and rules and equations and parsed sentences
but now here I was among the tribe
of the free and I could go this way or I could go that way
or I could just sit down right here on this bench
and look around at all the freedom
that was mine and also the work crew’s
breaking for lunch beneath their ladders and also the woman’s
pushing her stroller along the sidewalk and also the man’s
walking his small dog and smoking a cigarette
and it belonged to the cars whooshing by with a sound like
the wind in the trees and the wind in my hair
and the wind all around me and inside me
and also above me chasing the clouds running free
and suddenly there was my mother
looking somehow a little different
in all her freedom and all my freedom
until she rolled down her window and waved
to come–now–hurry
because I had an appointment
which felt like a real buzzkill
and I briefly considered turning around
and walking away from her
and going off on my own somewhere
to be alone and free for a little longer
or maybe forever
but then I realized there was nowhere for me to go
except home

editors note:

Dying to get home… – mh clay

THREE AUTUMNAL SONGS

by on September 19, 2021 :: 0 comments

1. DARK

the moon is keeping watch
bolted onto the nightfall sky
wind carries the clouds
delicately past
like gray fragments torn away
by our brooding.

2. CLEAR

the clouds fall toward the horizon
dipping past the farthest treetops
like passion they are so immense
yet silent
leaving the absorbing sky behind
to fill with new longing.

3. COMPASS

warm day for an autumn
walk in the dense woods
screeching blue jays
sandhill cranes croaking
branches giving off their leaves
like teardrops
a few at a time
and then the cathartic calm
wind shushing the treetops
leaves pattering across the earth
in the sure direction of
a promise.

editors note:

A Fall with no landing only turns on turns in promising directions. – mh clay

If

by on September 18, 2021 :: 0 comments

If you separate sand from glitter
If you separate gray by days of the week
If you separate life into coins and cookies
If you take a cookie from the jar and put something else back
If no one else liked those cookies anyway
If your eyes are blue and you often think of the sky, what’s behind it
If you separate childhood from the girl in the blue dress by the river
If you separate the rain from the river
If you separate rocks from bruises
If you separate leave and leaving
If you separate good from goodbye
If you go with what you know and you know almost nothing at last

editors note:

Nothing at last. Yes! – mh clay

All in My Feelings

by on September 17, 2021 :: 0 comments

Maybe it was listening
to George Michael sing,
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” on repeat,
or three days of summer rain,
the drops hitting the sill
in their unsteady rhythm.

Maybe it was my husband
calling to say, “I miss you,”
or my beautiful friend,
who pulled me into his lap
and kissed me so deliciously
my head filled with light.

Maybe it was the vaccine
running through my body,
spinning off cells to save me,
or Harlem waking from its long sleep,
people in parks again,
barbecues,
drinkers laughing at the bar.

Maybe it was another song,
the diva shouting, “I want you,”
over a disco beat,
and how that chorus caught
in my throat like a sugary sadness,
hunger, gratitude for living.
All of those feelings. All of them.

– Isaiah Vianese

editors note:

Yes! All of them! – mh clay

Along the Outlaw Trail

by on September 16, 2021 :: 0 comments

Strewn loonily enough
above, below, beside me,
words, messages undone
or up too tight,
lie in thrall.

Shadowland imposters
preach monotonously,
windswept egos are poised
above insecurities,
advocating their conjunction
of letters, syllables,
drained of innocent proposal,
purpose, balanced on wishes,
presumptions, parabolic
emotional curves
and abject, untutored devotion.

Great stories intertwine
with great jokes,
the best of them,
sudden, percussive,
tingling through bone marrow,
chopping at the freeze
inside, intolerable,

at the final breaking point,
releasing us
to glad horizons.

– RC James

editors note:

Glad must horizons be when words are loonily strewn. Yes! – mh clay

Lob, Lobe…

by on September 15, 2021 :: 0 comments

Those sounding waves, years traveled light
are spokesmen for the nation’s state.
I say more often masculine,
most alpha lead, some girl allure,
on screen, pass billboard, TV slot.
So in control of people’s ear –
eustachian tube and beaten drum –
and if repeated time enough
as drip feed washes over brain –
sought after words gain loudest cheer.
The easy poll, to tick the box,
supply to power what think they want,
but first whet and manipulate,
and make believe solution’s served.

– Stephen Kingsnorth

editors note:

Eloquence is answer. – mh clay