The Case of the Cross-Country Skier

November 27, 2015  :: 0 comments

At last, at last, Wendell rests his skis at the other side of the lake in sunset, exhausted, satiated. He senses the water conscious and raucous down under the lake, glaring, straining upward, knocking against the depths of the ice again and again, enraged at his escape. He’s unwilling to look away, but does not want to cross the lake …


featured in the poetry forum September 5, 2015  :: 0 comments

It’s a beautiful day for living or dying
because if you die you live and if you live
you live. Also because so very close to
you a hummingbird sings without a sound
fifty times in the blink of an eye, and did
you hear no sound? That side of the
window pantomimes creation–sunset
hyssop and hummingbirds birthed in
bright silent light. All this packed in a
glance outside the window of ICU

while the serious man at the foot of my
bed (on this side of the window) expounds
in living sound cardiovascular navigation
and one-way valves forcing gravitied
blood to the heart. His graphic words are
seeable and auricular as Casper; he just
doesn’t notice he’s talking about creation
until I interrupt, and in this white space
he says (in parenthesis) he believes too.
All this packed inside the window of ICU.

There seems to be a choice: all these sights
and sounds loosed in hope of more days
to practice endurance so more dawns can
flood the days’ vignettes under warm lights
of hallway nights versus all the sights and
sounds loosed in the nod of death. To hand-
pick divine desire stupefies, and I wait almost
dispassionately, too curious to choose or not
too sure the choice is mine to make because
even through grace, that’s the nature of ICU.

Right. As if wear and tear doesn’t enter the
picture. Geriatrics aside, geriatrics raw, old
mind full, old heart holy, old dreams of wild
rides on a hummingbird’s wings never tried
before… if not for old age there would be no
choice, there would be no time, there would
be a body not yet full, not yet weighted, not
yet weary, not yet wary of healing. Surely it
would not be a beautiful day at all because if
you die you live and if you live you live.

editors note:

The tick of time, the bier of bed; thin as thoughts in a hummingbird’s head. – mh clay

Murder Mystery

featured in the poetry forum April 14, 2015  :: 0 comments

Would he have killed her by now
all neat and
tidy and in time
for retrospect, the
tying of loose ends,
bookending parents’
picture shelves, a few
years or more of watching
themselves widening time to
allow room for portraits stepped out of yearbooks?

Would he? Somewhere in circumstance would she
be his victim cut out of whodunit whydunit
climax… a character killed off for reasons
only an author knows, an author who
doesn’t have to say why she died?
Readers need to know. So does
the one who might have
suffered, but
only up
to the

Would he have killed her by now
if he hadn’t already died and
bloodied the old road,
splattered that old
road with every
last bloom
of her?

Maybe he would have grown
up to be a monster
and killed her
for loving

editors note:

This mysterious mess draws the detective’s conclusion, “Maybe he did…” – mh

Wanderlust II – The Breakable Girl and the White Wolf

February 12, 2015  :: 0 comments

A breakable girl won’t set a trap for food
much less know how to make one. But she
does want to know how to make one. Just
in case she’s thrown to the wolves one day,
snowed in on the freeway, hungry, cold,
fighting for something other than water,
other than living as long as water holds out.

No other riders sit this fenced-in ghosted
concrete because no one else could find it
who tried after she herself crossed under
the clouds. There are such things as white
wolves, but she’ll die before she’d set the
trap if she knew how to make it and set it.
She’ll die before the white wolf sees her

and she sees it through eyes locked onto
eyes. She won’t know what’s in those eyes,
but the white wolf will know what’s in hers,
no matter if she whispers, or wimpers, for
communion. It will know that in the end,
when the snow is gone and the water dries
and the girl survives, and the white wolf dies

by another force…
it will know the girl was breakable.

Wanderlust – III

featured in the poetry forum February 12, 2015  :: 0 comments

The warning came early so the book
was placed on hold. Not only that, but
she heard said that a hundred pages in
from there life would skin itself raw
and bloody and numb. It would come

hundredfold, where the crossing could
not be uncrossed, where the sobbing
could not be controlled, where the
story adapts to the reader’s reactions
to spirits of words, potions of words,

persuasions and predestined words.
The story is more than it was before.
It consumed her as a meal of anger,
wonder, savagery, bridled and broken,
bloody, raw; it and she were changed,

not because innocence is wordless, or
worthless, but because innocence has
far less words than a wanderlust has
places to be. Why would a girl chase
that crossing, knowing she’ll break?

So she can save the white wolf.

editors note:

Here is where story writes the writer; readers beware. (Read another mad missive on Beth’s page; a prequel to this one – check it out.) – mh

The Corner Church

November 25, 2014  :: 0 comments

Sacramento, deep seat of a subcultured sin,
natural dreams of a would-be housewife in campfire
kumbayah stonewalled by disappearance within
a total eclipse of the star of bethlehem…

orgasmic choirs canonized the disco ball
and the dance went on and on and on… babes and beer,
mary and jane, last calls diluting alcohol,
enriching blasphemy on the way home to

plunge into dreamlessness yet right as rain to claim
“pleasegodhelpme.” Later (while he wasn’t helping),
desolation’s rotted hands clapped and scared the blame,
the pain, on nothing more than simple shame on me.

“Tears have been my food day and night,” take me home,
take me home. Take me to last chance, to that corner
church across the tangled, urban catacombs,
those trip-wired boulevards buried under the sun.

Just one mourner wept in this cavernous cage
of worship; dangerous prayers echoed hollow,
desperate prayers swallowed whole by an empty stage,
by a deaf God, a wordless God, a missing God–

a harrowing thought that took on a life of its own.
No news is good news, they say. Well, cry me a timeworn
“pleasegodhelpme” over and over, alone
on a peopled planet, dicks and janes holding hands

in a California theme park one fine summer day:
suddenly awed in the watching of all that Good,
free from fissures of men. Maybe I prayed away
redemption in that church so long ago;

or, it could have prayed itself in and followed me
all the days of my life, weaving in and out of
shadows and light, leaving old rugged tracks easy
for a sinner to trip across, to fall in Love.

Jimmy Cliff I love you too, suddenly your song-
popped, sun-buttered lyrics breathe; I can make it now.
Look all around, there are reasons it took so long
to see daylight through dreams I’ve been praying for.


featured in the poetry forum November 25, 2014  :: 0 comments

There are things that make you come out of yourself:
starlings suddenly swooping up out of the trees,
scared off by car horns and four-letter words,
or it was just collective urge to write
out visual grammar gone berserk:
all dots and commas and asterisks
gone crazy against the sky.

Startling from our point-of-view,
usual from theirs.
Together a thing that makes you come out of yourself.

There are things that make you get over yourself:
“Why do cars keep losing their tire lids on the
side of the road?” “Can you imagine that
for me and describe it really good so
I can imagine it too?” And “You
can be stupid but only if you
let me be stupid with you.”

Startling from our point-of-view,
simple from theirs.
Together a thing that makes you get over yourself.

There are things that turn your selfdom inside out:
when a fellow says he almost met his maker,
and weeps not from fear of losing his wife
(or his life), but from shock and awe of
almost meeting his maker; would your
heart rip out of its bag of bones to
catch up to this kind of love?

Startling from our point-of-view,
humbling from his.
Together a thing that turns your selfdom inside out.

editors note:

Surprises come from within when awakened by happenings without. – mh

The Newspaper Clipping

featured in the poetry forum September 15, 2014  :: 0 comments

Why did you leave it there on the table
for me to see?

Did you want to enable
me to betray my hiding place?

Did you want me to tell you
what I have feared and what I’ve faced?

Did you want me to cut through
years of unspoken lyrics here-

and-now? Finally? Where I grew
up? You said nothing, loud and clear,

so I read it, and turned to
see if you saw me wipe a tear,

see if you saw me need you,
see if you saw my hope appear,

then disappear, unable
to open up my hiding place

for you to see.
Why did you leave it there on the table?

editors note:

A passive-aggressive conversation starter. Let’s get out that skeleton and make ‘im dance. – mh

Fifty Days in Witness Protection

featured in the poetry forum June 25, 2014  :: 0 comments

There was a death, a hard one to hang your hat on,
not that any hat rack has a corner on holding
emotions while hearts carry on across the coffee
shop floor to a corner table sanctified,

a temporary sanctuary, two walls meeting up
with one latte, one private space in a peopled
room, soothing isolation facing opiated unity.
A temporary time between goodbye and hello,

protected, loved, gifted. Salve for an open wound
between tomb and womb. Oh troubled Jerusalem!
Where did your hearts go when consumed with grief
and in need of a place to bury consciousness

yet know you still breathed blood? City gates and a cup
of goats milk (hats hung, lattes slung), and the drone
of faded hallelujahs (lifelike conversation)
took you, takes me, to the mother of all whodunits.

editors note:

That hat’s a black fedora and the reveal is going to be something to see, in the end. – mh