Featured Poems

He Hadn’t Always Wanted to be Somebody’s Girl

by on August 11, 2022 :: 0 comments

From the benches, black with people,
there went up a muffled roar…
Ernest Lawrence Thayer: Casey at the Bat

Some boys like to wear dresses
& play with makeup — at first
he wasn’t one of them. But under-
standing yourself takes time; &
even longer to come to view gender
as a fluid concept. He became more
body conscious, spent time looking
for a particular fit to fit his body;
until sparked by a comment from
a member of his Facebook group,
they started going to the mall, trying
on clothes. Began to relish dressing
up, late nineties style with low-rise
jeans & mid-drift tops, not so much
a personal taste as a required uniform
that helped them express their sense
of style. Even wore heels when she
went out. Serious about it. No longer
role-playing. Now dressed for gender.

editors note:

Whichever way your fluid flows, dress for success. (We welcome Mark to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Proud Mary

by on August 10, 2022 :: 0 comments

Who was that?

This is her only child speaking, he with the seven children,
he without a father of his own to mention.

He saw her pointing

She, dwarfed, in her city growing,
in the shadow of the young man towering.
He with the straight back housing the battered rucksack
festooned with patches and other such knick-knack
that would plot his travels for you without your asking.

in the direction of Werburgh Street.

He was askin’

This is Mary speaking, his proud mother,
single and shamed by his conception, brave
in the face of rejection, stiffened her back
and kept him,

for directions to St Stephen’s Green.

all those years ago.

When Mary, his mother,
– not our Holy Mother, the immaculate one,
who also gave birth out of wedlock,
but our grandmother – refused

to offer up her son, our father,
to the church and state to save face and return
to a state of grace or some such nonsense.

But that’s in the opposite direction, Mam.

This is Tommy speaking again, Mary’s pride and joy.
Her world, her reason for living.
The reason she faced down the monochrome of morality.
Turned to her family

Well, Mary says to her son, her beautiful son,

– her chin tilting once more against the norm.

I don’t know where St Stephen’s Green is. But I wasn’t going to tell him that!

editors note:

It’s a challenge to give direction while holding to your own. – mh clay

The God of Undiminished Returns

by on August 9, 2022 :: 0 comments

It’s how we hold this moment between us
in summer day’s slow farewell as it shades
into the small quiet night. The dim of it.
Please share that lightening peace.

Its sole stillness is rich with so much hidden
inside. Folded into its many pockets. We’re warm,
safe where the sea breeze lifts our hair.
Please share that lightening.

Because we know the night is not truly
that. It’s full of travel, us working our way
through hoarded scraps of the previous hours.
Please share that.

Don’t let their ragged edges saw at us
while we fall, minds shrill and brittle,
into the icy labyrinths of our dreams.
Please share.

Around us is the travail of nocturnal creatures,
when you’re most gone from me, off into
your own story, the likes of which are only yours.

editors note:

When bringing your own to ours, please, lighten up. – mh clay

A Certain Something

by on August 8, 2022 :: 0 comments

Addicted to Socrates
Going crazy in cafes
Using colors symbolically
To paint
A perfect picture
Of self-disdain
On the splinters
Of sharp relief
In the overpowering
And the nagging uncertainty
Of the certainty
Of disbelief

editors note:

I’m certain of that, too… I think. – mh clay

sunday in the suburbs

by on August 7, 2022 :: 0 comments

cursed again
another round
of boring ass fried chicken
universally bland
not one damn bottle
of hot sauce in sight
they’ve fried it that way
since nineteen and sixty-three
in a strip mall surrounded
by other strip malls
as sunday in the suburbs
goes on in that blasé
he has risen kinda way
vanilla candles hold hands
with east pittsburgh refrigerators
work an afternoon six pack
tip silver with pirates
on every flat-screen
every child locked in a device
sun through plate glass
leaves a little light on the bar
fighting through the dark
it’s a small victory
even if it’s not
damn, it feels
like winning for a change

editors note:

Goin’ on for the win. – mh clay

Mercury as a Girl

by on August 6, 2022 :: 0 comments

She knows how to crank a rachet &
Tune a car named after herself,
How to be a globe of silver syrup,
Shoot to the top of a glass tube—

How to sprout wings on her heels,
Rocket around the sun in 87 days,
Rubber band a comic strip round a rubber ball &
Toss it thru my open window at 2 AM

Followed up with something involving
A bicycle, before the dew evaporates from
The jungle gym in the playground. Maybe
She will pretend to be a human girl today

Or at least wear cargo pants? Me she tells
To cup my hands, fills them up so she
Can show me my own eyes — are they really
Silver? — in the toxic puddle which is

Herself. Too many adjectives, she smirks
& rebuilds a sentence capable now of
Withstanding “gams” & “gat.” Her shadow
Twangs spilling over these aluminum barrels

Me: —Didja draw the comic strip?
[No answer in her speckled eyes] —& then some motion in the trees as
She spins to retrograde

editors note:

Too fast to grasp, you’ll never hold her unless she holds you. – mh clay


by on August 5, 2022 :: 0 comments

She marks her way

With pixels on a screen,

Tracing out shapes

To make sense of the visions.

The universe

Is random.

She tells herself.

Not everything

Happens for a reason.

But she hangs on

To the glimmer

Of purpose

Or determination,

Of order

In the chaos.

Hope is the voice

In the dark.

Even if it’s only

Inside her own head.

editors note:

No need for despair or dread. The whole thing is in her head. – mh clay