Featured Poems

Tough Hide

by on August 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

They’ll do you in
With such thin skin.
Please, dear, I count on you:
Tighten your hide
For a bumpy ride,
Grow it an inch or two.

Girls, they’ll cut
Through your mild heart.
No, darling, this won’t do:
Turn it to stone
And make it known
Rock is softer than you.

Crooks will pretend
To give you a hand.
Take care, I’m begging you:
Weaken your trust
If you want to last,
Beware, whatever you do.

So, with tough hide
On this bumpy ride,
With heart, harder than stone,
And with zero trust
You’re bound to last —
So what if you die alone.

– Irena Pasvinter

editors note:

Survival need not be solitary. – mh clay


by on August 28, 2016 :: 0 comments

Equality’s rare
In most regimes, most regiments, work or pleasure,
Where hierarchy comes into play
But in what counts, in combat fair
Giving measure then for measure
They levelly beat the lights out of day.

Sophistication, elegance reigns
In the upper class like sugar crunch caviar munch
Till it’s time for one upmanship
Ah then who cares
It’s punch for punch
All whole swing, free for all, all unzipped.

Exchange of ideas
On the other hand as it ought
Like conversation cool
Is meted out gentlemanlike to peers
Thought for thought
Where we play by the rules.

Businessmen and marketeers
Exploit imagination’s stream.
Silver or gold plated
There they go selling dear
Dream for dream
To all (and sundry) unmitigated.

– Saloni Kaul

editors note:

Bottom line growth is nothing funny. Imagination – equality, sophistication, ideas – are great if they make money. – mh clay

the jaywalker

by on August 27, 2016 :: 0 comments

we’ve lived in the same building
going on eight years now
see each other in the hallway
the laundry room
in the basement when i’m throwing out
the cat litter, food scraps and booze bottles
on this long street we pass each other
maybe three or four times a day
going nowhere good
me to work or the liquor store or to the grocery
and he to go and sit
in the laundromat or citibank vestibule
and with each passing it’s the same thing
how’s it going?
have a good one
each time we meet in the apartment, too
there are these customs we have
a head nod, a tip of the hat
i don’t know which one of us started it
eight years of these trite greetings
and no other conversation, thank god
well, yesterday i was coming down the street
coffee and a bagel and a wicked hangover this time
and he was coming up the street
we both looked steeled for the same old same old fate
when suddenly he broke between two parked cars
hustled his old ass across the street away from me
with angry people honking their angry horns
leaning their heads out windows to curse him out
on their way to church
not even a head nod my way
eight years broken in one bold move
and as he limped off toward wherever
i watched him
not angry
not sad at being shunned as such
but feeling happy and full of grace
that someone in this world
had finally taken the time to get to know me
and what i really wanted
after all of these silly
wasted years
on such hollow kindness.

editors note:

Honesty for false honors? Good trade! – mh clay

Cheap Trick

by on August 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

One slight; one night; once among the neon
and the bar room noise
The chaos
Seemed to be alien vaguely relative, somehow familiar.
The action something invisible something unreal
Although important for need of mankind
The need for when all else has drained
Down away away away…

All their eyes were distracted by
The neon, billboards, and garbage blowing about
Now forgotten
Yesterday’s wants now gone – bellies empty
Unrequired – yet to cut out as a cataract
To forget the image.

editors note:

The impossible trick; to unsee a thing. – mh clay

Bird Songs

by on August 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

I passed you every morning, for we had a routine
And like a good New Yorker, I kept my head down
I did not look at you, not even once
But I listened, for it was impossible to avert my ears

You spoke to me, uninvited, every time I went by
The things you said were maddeningly inconsistent
They rained down, a chaotic soup of judgments
That I was left to wrestle with in my own time

One morning I heard you smile even before you spoke
“You know what I like about you?” A pause.
“I like the way you make yourself laugh when you’re all alone.
That is,” you pronounced, “cute and quite endearing.”

Another morning your voice wasn’t as soft
“You know what’s really sad?” Silence.
“What’s really sad is how much energy you expend
Worrying about what other people think of you.”

We carried on in this manner, you and I
How many days or weeks or months I could not say
I clung to your sing-song voice throughout the day
Despite my self-admonitions to do otherwise

And then one day, as I approached your nest
I stopped and looked up, making eye contact for the first time
And there you sat, surprisingly beautiful in your knowing
You laughed and the sound echoed across the years

I knew then who you were, and I relished my understanding
Your mouth opened and let fly no words, only a bird song
It was joyful, and I knew what you were telling me, and I believed you
“Now,” you sang, “we’re getting somewhere.”

– Christopher Minton

editors note:

“I’ll bet you think this song is about you.” – mh clay

September Journal: Monday, September 30, 2013

by on August 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

As earth rolls the horizon up and
away from the sun’s unflinching glare,
the long-armed light splashes shifting patches
of sparkling margarita lime high
across the clinking leaves at the tops
of trees. The breeze shakes variegated
pom-pom shimmy-shammies. Short skirts fluff
and shiver their pleats. As they giggle
in irrepressible voiceless
childish glee, miss and hit flutters of
spiraling unhurried leaves drift through
the dark cavernous lower branches
to hide among shadows blanketing
earth. Earth’s roll moves on as the dark ascends.

editors note:

Arboreal ecstasies, last minute mayhem before dark. (We welcome Don to our crazy conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay


by on August 23, 2016 :: 0 comments

it was like doing the cha-cha on a sheet
of glass; the side street was carpeted
by pebbles,

I could as well imagine walking my feet
on tiny rubies, emeralds or diamonds
crunching and grunting

but the watchmen’s children invented a game
substituting marbles cleverly

their laughter filling the air like the sun
sparkling on thin windows, the light
falling on their hair like a crown of prisms

their beams reaching to the sky
telling the birds to join in the play

maybe it had rained stones
the night before
or snowed grey/black crystals –
nothing can be a bad thing
happiness can be transparent, after all –

editors note:

Pebbled and child-laughter happy. No darkness on that street. – mh clay