breathe easy

featured in the poetry forum September 13, 2014  :: 0 comments

there’s always somebody with a longer pipe,
a bigger hose, a higher car, a louder voice,
a holier prayer, a furrier cat, more modern p.a. system,
bigger book, crazier look, jazzier hook.

more bark-filled branch, more experience in romance,
fancier pants, better dance. more charm, longer arm,
higher IQ and more and more and more of everything than me and you.

there’s always somebody with a louder voice,
wider choice, bigger wit, more brawn and grit.
there’s always just somebody with more,
makes a grander exit out the door, owns a smoother tile floor,
lives on the street of greater jones, elicits bigger moans.
always someone who can outdo you.
so don’t try, don’t sigh, don’t rush, push, squash
swelter with bristle and gristle and effort.
burst with will, over-kill. let go. don’t try.

listen to the breath run out your nose for
one pure second, that’s all.
if you could forget who you are for one-quarter of a second
you could be more than you.

there’s always somebody who could out-run you,
out-gun you, out-smoke you, out-fight you, out-joke you.
show you his mansion in the back,
turn your palace into a shack.
meet you on 4th street and turn your feeling into second place.
predators, workers, normal people with intention or without
un-do you before you try–

hang it up, let it alone, be still.
don’t ask, don’t try, don’t pull-push.
if you forgot who you are and released,
you’d be satisfied. and there would be
no place to finish, first or last.

you’d be everywhere without dis-satisfaction.
you’d be in the center with everything and if you could see the rose,
you’d realize it’s bigger than the entire cosmos. then.
if you forgot who you are in that way,
in the center with everything, larger, then you could be found,
while the rest are holding tiny straws of false gold.

editors note:

And while you’re at it, tell me the sound of one hand clapping… – mh

ah, fools!

featured in the poetry forum April 1, 2014  :: 0 comments

ah, fools!
card players,
lovers of the
night – always
looking for that
perfect time,
willing, oh, so
willing to sacrifice
so much
for that one hour,
one day,
one gig – oh, fools – musicians
booking endlessly;
sending out the continually
rejected manuscript.
meanwhile concocting
new things on paper
and to anyone who will listen.
card players, horse players
throwing away life savings,
dreaming, dreaming
for the bite,
the bite
the biological high of huge winnings.
lovers, with seven wives,
seven husbands,
still not finding it.
mesmerized fools.
here’s another one,
immortalizing you.
and don’t forget
the surfers looking for that perfect ride.
this one’s

editors note:

Yup, such foolery, romping from ride to ride; takes dreamers from strength to strength. – mh


January 11, 2014  :: 0 comments

Coming into this place, it was like I was dropped from another planet. Fruit picker at 2 ½ cents a pound of strawberries, bar room musician, block buster scholar with academic title for recommendations needed by anxious friends, dishwasher at $4.60 an hour, resident scholar of the illiterate in the slums. Then I decided to read poems in bars. I …


featured in the poetry forum December 3, 2013  :: 0 comments

everything in
the simplest
moment of
life is felt
with the greatest
just as it is.
the taste of an orange
in a bowl,
the juice, the sweetness.
the yellow, golden banana
at its side.
the sight of a swirling squirrel
on a branch,
suddenly by
the window.
the pebbles along
a garden path.
momentary cracks into
another world: this one.
rarest gifts, again, measured
by the scarcity of an open soul.

editors note:

Poems are literary openers, lifting cranial compartments, in search of open souls. – mh


September 7, 2013  :: 0 comments

Jeff was seeing her. There was a series of events long before her that led to the male doctor. But first there had been the two musicians. Then they built the group up to three, then it was knocked back down to two and those two went out and conquered the world for a while. Music, that band, was the …


featured in the poetry forum September 7, 2013  :: 0 comments

when you hear a blues harp
it sounds like a wolf howlin’,
like an attack,
mournful animal.

those guys were
out there in
those tough territories
and those hard lives:
playing those things.

alert, alive, raging ears
playing those things,
explosive of their sentiments,
their lives.

able to slice
you with those things, those
hallowed instruments.

you get a ride of pain
when you feel theirs.

editors note:

Yes, indeed! Pain and anesthetic at once. Hurt me, heal me, harmonica man! – mh

Along Flatlands Avenue

May 25, 2013  :: 0 comments

I discovered a little playground. Preschoolers were running around. They were maybe 3, 4 or 5. I’m a white cracker: haggard, bedraggled, red-eyed, neurotic, irritated today due to anxiety—irritated more than usual, and some of it real. I visualized a minor news article: Bum found dead on the street, frothing at the mouth. At least I had I.D., so they …

underground remnant

featured in the poetry forum May 22, 2013  :: 0 comments

a junkie
stood like
a wilted flower
on 7th avenue
5th and 6th streets
in brooklyn
saturday, february 9,
xxxabout 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
everybody was busy
looking at the sleek shops,
strolling along
xxxas they were,
not recognizing a
fallen angel,
a piece of new york’s
that’ll still
be around long after
these sleek remnants
of parisian fantasies and vanities
dry out, dry out,
fade and fold
xxxunder new fickle ownership
and are gone.

editors note:

Undress a disowned angel, replace rags with neon lace. Empty on the inside, won’t chase the hunger from that face. Thanks, Carl! – mh


March 12, 2013  :: 0 comments

Three blondwood, circular tables joined together for the writing group. She had arrived earlier. The tables faced two large plate glass windows that faced out on the street. What you saw right outside the window, across 7th Avenue, were green-lit neon letters that spelled, PITA. He had two coffees in front of him. She said, “Is that your system?” She …


featured in the poetry forum February 16, 2013  :: 0 comments

blacks have
equality under
the law for 140 years
and she wanted
a new bedroom set.
women’s suffrage began
80 years ago, and she
decided on a new living room
set as well. eastern thought
has penetrated the culture
going on 30 years, and she
wanted the couch on the northern side
of the room, to create a look
she saw in a homeowner’s guide
to decorating. homeless die and freeze
in the winter. her concern was:
will her neighbors be jealous of her
porch furniture because
it is better? junkies seek god
in the ends of spoons and needles
as she shops for knick-knacks
with her hubby on the weekends.
proudly hasn’t read a book since high school.
defiantly asks why others do.
we don’t know what to tell her.
more soldiers die in afghanistan.
the world encasing
her golden staircase
but never meddling.

editors note:

A little inspiration from Good Housekeeping to color those specs; the rosier the better. It’s a grand world, just for me. – mh