the aftermath of a rejection letter

featured in the poetry forum December 17, 2018  :: 1 comment

no gold in the air
stahl’s world of
perpetual darkness.
no fields of dreams
in my backyard today.
I’m a gunshot wound
to the head, a blues song
bleeding from broken
finger tips. I’m a
bukowski man instead
of some others.
…some of the others
with cheerier news.
no funny jokes like:
after math is English.
aftermath is only sorrow.

editors note:

Sorrow is how some sums add up. Gotta do your own math… – mh clay


September 8, 2018  :: 0 comments

George Tango sat on the L train, on the gray, hard seat. He spotted a Liz Smith gossip column headline in an open News, spread wide by a middle-aged man in a slightly weird, off-green Hamburg hat. George got off the train dulled by the headline of Liz Smith, dulled by the weather, dulled by life. He walked one-half block …

lady with a wart

featured in the poetry forum August 21, 2018  :: 0 comments

you see a lady
in a red bandana
turning a corner
wart on her nose

in a busy
wall street

you’ve been
through 3
board meetings

and meanwhile
your wife demands
you make a stop
at the cleaners

on the way home
to pick up
a white blouse

two of your kids
are down
with the flu

and there are
bills piling and
weekend visitors expected

and dinner’s ready…

and at midnight
you dream of
that lady.

editors note:

Sometimes, things that matter are masked by those that don’t; or… do they? – mh clay

‘monkey mind’ of natalie goldberg

featured in the poetry forum April 3, 2018  :: 0 comments

it’s not the lack of focus
or the lack of a coherent
statement, like they teach
you in the schools and jobs.
it’s the critic jumping around
moreso; the critic sniping
at you, blaming you for
trying, citing your
demanding propriety,
demanding truth, telling
you to quit, telling you it’s
only right, feeding you
stories on every level:
genetics, societal labeling,
innate talent vs. your lack
and ‘let’s get honest’:
the fairness—and you!
stopping the balance
of the scales which are right.

the norms of the old south,
when all understood who
was who and what was fair:
the voice, and truth—
telling what to do.
close your notebook,
shut your computer.
i mean it speaks with
such vengeance, pull
your paper from the typer
cartridge, if you still
use those— don’t get
so poetic: don’t look
at the sun in the morning.

i still care enough to
write this, breaking all
taboos where you’re
not even supposed to
think the thought.

i’ve already made
a mistake against the tyrant.

editors note:

The worst wrench in your works is you; that tyrant has no teeth. – mh clay

Larry’s Karma

March 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

“Kerouac would have hated the computer.” “And why is that?” “It would be too tempting to change things.” They always got into that. ••••••• The story was good. It was about a fight in a bar which our writer had the pleasure of witnessing, having been then employed as a musician in that bar. The owner, named Nicky Holiday, was …

Cubie’s Corner

December 30, 2017  :: 0 comments

Cubie sat at his COSTCO-purchased, black leather folding card table. He began pondering the possibilities of another short work. He was lucky because he sold a crime novel of 38 chapters, and the sale brought him some free time for writing. I’m playing with the devil, though, and soon my luck will run out. The devil of luck with the …

thoughts late at night at an open mic

featured in the poetry forum November 15, 2017  :: 0 comments

the wounded, the limited and the damned
the stage hogs who speak tritely
singers who announce histories of songs
before ruining them
messianic nuts who read terrible poetry
and believe they’re
announcing cosmic events. poets who
dance and scream bile
with drums, tambourines, castanettes
on tapes m.c.’s must play.
tuneless guitarists, cliché-muttering
nuts thinking they’re
doing a talking blues, little birds
tweeting around their
skulls, and more. democratic ideals
are always good
but theory and practice are always different.

editors note:

Yes. Ever seeking to rise above, one’s best is another’s bust. – mh clay

This Is What Love Is About

September 2, 2017  :: 0 comments

“You see, there’s always an increase in stake and a gap and a back up against the wall. Now, look…” He flicked his cigarette. “No matter how much you write, you want more.” Lilly was just listening. Herb was in one of his moods. “It was cool, so clever, the way that thing just arrived in me.” Herb lit another …


featured in the poetry forum July 15, 2017  :: 0 comments

something about this guy’s glasses,
in his glasses,
his shades
and me sitting writing
not concealing,
bearing it,
embarrassed over the
and inefficiencies
and flaws over
my body of work –

his body
he’s getting

the only way to build a body
is through
shattering it in nakedness
in vulnerability in uncertainty
in naïvete.

the only way to destroy it
is in protection.

editors note:

So, take off your shades. I dare you. – mh clay

blue guitar

featured in the poetry forum January 12, 2017  :: 0 comments

there’s a musician
falls in love with a blue
a blues guitar
a blue guitar.
a poet, a heart
of music,
a beam of light.
bought it in
a pawn shop.
with plenty of
blues brought
it there in
for rent
cigarette money
maybe a nip
of wine and
received far
less than its value.

then sold to
my friend
way over
the denominations
of a fair price
by the seller
over the glass counter,
saxophones on the wall,
toasters on the shelves,
trinkets in glass counters
with wrist watches, slacks
on hangers, jackets, skirts.
who falls in love with a blue guitar
in a pawn shop window?
somebody wanting to pluck
the strings for jitterbugs
across long, wood plank dance floors,
like the poets running to puddles
to record the raindrops,
while everyone else
misses the dance.

editors note:

Best when played with eyes closed. – mh clay