Featured Poems

The Fish Ladder at Diamond Hill

by on May 27, 2016 :: 0 comments

in some distant far off
sleight of hand
there stands a colossus
on its head

heart long ago
turned to stone
and breath to sand
ringing ringing ringing

eyes above the sheen
of kings
beyond the hollow
logs of barks
recording marks
of shallow ways
beyond their means
with bells that
rang and rang and rang

ears sheared
by cloud fleece tip
scales of kippered pounds
leaving their appointed
rounds writhing on grounds
of incriminations
discovered upward
rung by rung by rung

editors note:

A precarious climb to the top; wring tight those rungs. – mh clay

May Journal: Friday, May 31, 2013

by on May 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

Late morning breezes riff the vines and
branches, playing hide and seek with small
promises tucked beneath wide open
leaves. Beside weathered fence slats, yellow
winks along cucumbers and squash vines that
trail down from well-composted mounds. Their
open sweetness imbibes the bees’ probes
and kisses. Pale green and pencil thin,
pears dangle beneath perky leaves set
to start long itineraries toward
ripeness. Fig nubs stand, beneath dark green
umbrellas, erect and hard. Neither
rhyming nor reasoning, breezes riff
streaks of movement down and up each tree.

– Don Mager

editors note:

Our Springtime rascal, the riffing breeze. – mh clay

Scissors Cut Paper

by on May 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

I can’t stop buying scissors. I walk into Home Depot for red geraniums, leave with gardening shears, green ergonomic handles. Piggly Wiggly for a roasting hen. Shiny poultry shears. At a garage sale I find a pair of hedge clippers. By December paper cutters, pinking shears, hair trimmers — any blades you want are boxed in the kitchen pantry.

Saturday he takes his 14 clubs & disappears. In hot water, I clean scissors. Prop them on the counter before drying with muslin. Each blade I shine with baking soda. In high school I hung with cutters. They used whatever worked — broken glass, coat hangers, paper. Arms tracked with violet scars like stretch marks hidden under long-sleeve shirts.

Reflections in a Golden Eye: Mrs. Langdon uses garden shears to clip her nipples when she loses her baby. Snip snip — easy as pinching off deadheads. Sunday in January, I hold my left nipple between the blades of barber shears. Warm steel triggers goose bumps. Is a nipple like a finger? Can they sew it back on?

Recurrent dream: blades-down, scissors drop from the ceiling, rattling & hissing. Impale the cherry nightstand, down comforter, my Land’s End bathrobe. I crouch in the tub, rocking to the sound of hail. Open my thigh — blood a rusty penny melting on my tongue.

I get an Alabama divorce. He signs the papers & hauls his Titliest clubs, La-Z-Boy & mahogany desk down to Florida. Parting words: The cat stays with you. I keep Moot, the crystal & the condo. Start selling the scissors on E-Bay, box by box.

– Chella Courington

editors note:

Slice to a  clean slate; sell’em off to start again. – mh clay


by on May 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

men in suits,
and ties,
tribal warriors,
battling for turf,
believed their own,
naïve ignorant bastards,
boundaries shift,
and borders in dispute,
fears flamed,
culture assigned,
along with taxes.

editors note:

This is how we roll in the land o’ the free. How about your country? – mh clay

Red Hot Anger

by on May 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

How to pale a red hot anger
When rods of pain stroke
And all day long it grows stranger
Beholden to stronger folk.
An anger that knows no voice
Born nor bred by choice
Leave me die in a quiet corner
Seize the day and all of that
Close your eyes insipid mourner
Remove your mask and raise your hat.

editors note:

Open face, cool head; take on the after instead with laughter. – mh clay

The Struggle

by on May 23, 2016 :: 0 comments

It’s an excruciating journey
to walk amongst them
when they’re all united
to march against me
Picket signs
they signed
the proclamation
It only took a glimpse
but that glimpse
is good enough
To fuel their shallow tanks
ignite the flame
and burn down a place
they’ll never comprehend
nor even try to see it
in a bilateral
point of view
The only thing that counts
is how it’s portrayed
in the eyes of a conservative
No room for me
on the one way street
God forbid
you do your own thing
They’ll make you feel special
if you’re not like them
will leave you battered
and angry
It’s an endless struggle
I’m pleased to be alone

– Michael Marrotti

editors note:

We can get’em to look, but we can’t make’em see. Alone, indeed. – mh clay

If This Finds You, I Tried

by on May 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

My sin wasn’t bigger than your sin, yet your name was driven into the mud.
We watered that seed together, and our rose, forever with its thorns, began to bud.
Why? I’m sure your friends wanted to know. I didn’t have that magazine cover smile
or that endorsed glow.
But for you it wasn’t about that. It was about the passion left to the dance floor.
That kind of raw passion that left you craving more.
I couldn’t keep a secret because I wanted them to understand
that the heart resembles blood surrounding a clenched hand.
In an alternate universe, you and I could converse.
They write ballads about criminal couples, and you and I share a verse.
Haha there I am, caught captive in my own home
Plagued by a picture of my youth hanging in the catacomb.

– Daniel Lattimore

editors note:

Past partners in perdition, reveling in recall. – mh clay