Featured Poems


by on September 25, 2018 :: 0 comments

there’s an itch between my shoulder blades —
the hardest place to scratch.

i convert to contortionism
and learn to fold myself in fourths.

i dislocate my shoulderbones attempting to eradicate discomfort,
but i break the joint so often, it never has time to heal.

i jump through hoops
and give no second thought to my safe landing.

i trust the ligaments have not yet worn away.

i reach toward the middle of my back:
touch the premonition of a stabbing,
scratch a scab that’s not yet formed,
place my fingers on a wound
that’s yet to come.

editors note: Oh, the pain we have in anticipation of the pain we haven’t. – mh clay

Seen And Not Seen

by on September 24, 2018 :: 0 comments

I stole this title
From an old tune
That isn’t sung but spoken
It reminded me
Of how I
Watched you that night
In performance
And noticed
How what you
Were creating
Affected everything
And how I went home
And have been writing
About nothing since
How you moved
Caught up in something
Better captured in a picture
Than in thoughts.
But as words are all I have
I’ll just say I still dream about
Untamed hair
Obscuring all but the motion of your
On the strings
And how my breath stopped
In that moment
And still does.

– Anne Mikusinski

editors note: To be a fan, to have a fan, to fan the flame and not flicker… – mh clay

Only God Knows

by on September 23, 2018 :: 0 comments

Only god knows how much I need you.
I miss you as much as the snow misses
a moment to fall above the cedars.
Everyone says that I should keep moving on,
but I hear your voice coming toward me
slowly as if I hear an echo from a distance.
Weeping, because of my daily routine, the
autumn season appears twice in one year.
First was from the cloud, second is from my eyes
bitter is how happiness tastes
I smile in my dreams, waiting to see you
before the train comes and leaves me in grief

– Ahmad Al-khatat

editors note: Such sweet longing; snow slurried, train taken, twice autumn and an aching heart. – mh clay

Lamentations on the Discovery of Evil

by on September 22, 2018 :: 0 comments

In my teens
I always slept with the radio on.
Even in slumber
I’d hear my favorite songs.
But, I awoke two different nights
and my regular music wasn’t playing.
That’s when I knew the world was changing.

First it was Martin
and then it was Bobby.
I spent the next hours
repeatedly sobbing.

The day after each event
I met with my friends.
Through our tears came sounds like the
ragged breath of tired dogs.
We stood as ones stupefied.
What were those sounds heard within the train?
It seemed
as if stars screamed
as we chanted for the sun to rise
against the news of those days.
The reporters
with their steely dissection
of the facts
were as
nettles on our hearts.

How many more years
would we be subjected to fears?
How much pain this all caused
even after the radio button was paused.
“Don’t worry,” they said,
“There will come a settling of what’s been dusted.”
“No,” we told them,
the world will never speed up again
because the center is now rusted.
And what we once believed
will never again be trusted.

We knew the Devil was a liar,
but he still showed us a horrible truth.
That man may love,
but also hate
and only man can create
those things that can’t be soothed.

editors note: It’s a hard pill, the consequences of our free will. – mh clay


by on September 21, 2018 :: 1 comment


– K.W. Peery

editors note: Haunted? Or, humbled? Depends on the take… – mh clay


by on September 20, 2018 :: 0 comments

When there is direct active verbal sparring
And people at each other senselessly sharp lash,
Or when head to foot in the thick of it downright jarring
Discordant voices like arrows at war point clash;
And when with frail unsteady rule of tide’s thumb
Unwarned the scales of fortunes startling dip,
There’s always some bright remedy quite close at hand
For that one restless wavering coin to flip.
For who are we to yell and shower blame,
Firm ostracise those left out in the cold,
Who living on shoestring from some strange shores here came,
And slam the door on faces lined with problems old.
May kindness-courtesy be at your threshold,
A smile heralds a seachange in the life you stark behold.

editors note: Heads or tails; winners and losers? Why not combine to see what two can do together? – mh clay

Precarious Is an Understatement

by on September 19, 2018 :: 0 comments

I am perched
atop a knife edge
balanced on a dead
tree trunk
on the lip of a volcano
suspended on a sheet of melting ice
floating on an ocean boiling with rage
itself in a miniscule depression
on a vast turtle’s back.
The turtle is
flapping its tiny flippers
desperately trying to cross
an ethereal nothingness
punctuated by wisps of mist.

There cannot be wisps in nothingness.

All of this is an illusion
conceived in the mind of a monarch butterfly
radiant with hope
or with love
or with nihilism
on the edge of extinction
perched on my nose
like a universe of feathers.

I remain teetering on the knife edge
as it cuts into the sole of my foot,
the fate of my soul
floating in
the misty, empty air.

The butterfly flutters frantically
trying to reach the end of the universe
it has itself created
but unable to lift off from my huge semitic nose.

Perhaps it is going backwards
it will die soon
it will live forever
Although if life is an illusion
then death is an illusion.

I am struggling to juggle
three flaming bowling pins.
My hands are burning.

I don’t know how long I can suppress a sneeze.

editors note: In all this tuck and tumble, we strive just to stick the landing; now this? No landing? (We welcome Ethan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay