featured in the poetry forum July 20, 2019  :: 0 comments

Here we are wet and moldy in a trench.
Here we are in World War One.
Here we are in France.
You can be a German if you want.
I’ll be British or maybe French.
We are warring brothers of the trenches
We smell of rotting corpses all around.
We are both wet and muddy,
Stumbling to fit our gas masks on our faces.
Somebody’s sent our way the mustard gas.
We don’t know if it’s from them or us.
The winds are variable that way.
There weren’t supposed to be but here we are gasping.
The machine guns have stopped spitting death.
The air’s the color of mustard
And everything’s still and quiet.
You feel in another world
And you almost relish the moment.
You don’t expect to survive this shithole war.
You want to ask one of your buddies
In the trench to kick you in the ass
For allowing your stupid self to get in such a pickle.
We were all such dum-dum bullets.
If you’d become a chemist instead
You might have invented a ketchup gas
That could nullify the mustard gas.
You’d relish the idea that all the poison
Gasses could be named for garnishes
As hurricanes were named for women.
I’d make a mayonnaise gas that melts
A soldier’s skin into a pasty white.
A peanut butter gas that when it clogs
Inside the body causes a slow death
In the shape of a peanut shell.
A butter gas that makes you dream,
Before you die, of a better world,
Smooth and creamy. Both you and I
Will float above our trenches in the
Butter gas beyond at last all the farce
Of nationalism, away from racist
And homophobic cracks, to embrace
As only human lovers are able,
Dreaming to a transcendent space.

editors note:

Seeking the ultimate condiment of compassion. Please! – mh clay

Stiff Neck

June 8, 2019  :: 0 comments

We kidnapped the barber with the stiff neck. I was against the plan but had only one vote. The rest of the guys were in awe of our friend from Princeton. He had a lot of family money in our small suburb. We called him Coney because his head seemed cone headed. His red hair and crew cut accentuated the …


August 25, 2018  :: 0 comments

It was the late seventies and I’d never known any woman like Marie, who would cover one whole wall of her room with naked men centerfolds taken from Playgirl Magazine. Marie had graduated from the university in Cedar Park and was now in a medical program at Galveston’s Sealy Medical Center to become a medical photographer. “You’ve got some interesting …

Bringing Up Little Beasties

June 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

Hello, everybody! Great to see you. I guess you can tell by looking that I am a geezer, a crank, a codger, an old fart – as well as a wizened wise man in an age that can’t tell wisdom from information. After making that profound remark, I’m going in another direction. I know what information is but don’t have …

Life, Today

featured in the poetry forum May 31, 2018  :: 0 comments

Jesus, would you look at that idiot,
really, take a look at that sucker,
roll the window down nice and easy,
stick your head out and get a good look,
Jesus, pulls up right behind us,
a millimeter from the back bumper,
it’s fucking two in the morning, we’re
on a down slope at the light, he’s in
one of those ungodly four-wheel drive
minivans or some such shit, and he’s
got the high beams on, he’s laser
lighting us, the movie projector beam
slashes through the back window,
ricochets off the rear view mirror
and cuts into our eyes, the whole
car’s lighted up like some alien
spaceship is hovering above us,
more light than inside the newest
convenience store at the corner
of Mount Parnassas and Homer
Avenue, more light than your Father
puts out from his high holy throne,
Jesus, what is your world coming to,
they don’t care, they high beam
you everywhere, going down the
neighborhood streets, going down
the two lane blacktops, Jesus, it’s
not that they are mad, it’s not that
they are trying to do you in because
they got a grudge against the way
your Father made things, it’s just
that they fucking don’t acknowledge
a place for what’s beyond their own
special selves, Jesus, high beaming
you, everyone, always, the fuckers,
here and universal everywhere

editors note:

These days, even at night, you gotta wear shades. – mh clay

The Golden Sunshine

November 11, 2016  :: 0 comments

I saw Jadene, my neighbor across the street, take a sledgehammer to her small brick house. She was working on the east side, smacking the red bricks cemented in a row right above the cement pad, cracking bricks and then removing chunks with a small crow bar. I don’t know how long Jadene had been at the task. When I …

The Games

featured in the poetry forum October 26, 2016  :: 0 comments

Here’s John, honestly in himself,
Wanting his cock in cunt,
Not caring beyond beauty,
The bodies divine, wanting
To stay and walk away

And here’s Mary, unsure too,
Wanting it too, in love
With beauty but fearing
It’s name, calling it “cute,”
Thinking John’s might be

The one for babies,
And they want it
Both soft and hard
Fire quick and molasses slow.
You know how it goes

The Humorous, the intense
The Light, the dark
Forever and a day
Both Liberty and security
The whole swinging ecstasy

And all the while
Here comes the beginning
Of the always saying
You’re the one who’s
Got it all wrong,

And soon they turn
burned with anger,
Righteous as anyone’s God
“Try to learn respect,
I’m not a piece of meat!”

editors note:

Just a game, which everyone plays for keeps. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum July 19, 2016  :: 0 comments

May not come from China but
Usually contains cow bone

Use the animal, right? If
You are going to kill it

Use it like the plain’s tribes
Use their sacred buffalo

Imagine, as I know you can,
Bone China placed out for

Family on the dinner table,
Set out well, formally, with

Good silver, a white table-
cloth, gorgeous flowers,

The kind that you like,
Right for the season. Now

Imagine that you do this
Once a year, perhaps on

Thanksgiving, so to bring
Back in spirit your mother

And your father, the bone
Contained in the China

Comes from their cremation,
And your lovely table would

Not be so arrayed without
What they did for, and to, you.

editors note:

Flesh from flesh, bone from bone; thanks for life and thanks for home. – mh clay


April 15, 2016  :: 0 comments

The way I see it, Diane, you know, I did her a favor, the way things were going I hate to say it, but I would have needed to kill her, reporters flying in from New York and Los Angeles to interview her and write her up in magazines, she got her colored picture in Gentlemen’s Quarterly, couples we knew …

The Gun of the Brownshirts

featured in the poetry forum March 5, 2016  :: 0 comments

The GUN is always waiting… waiting for the hand. It sits on a shelf hidden from eyes, so quiet, so patient, yearning for the hand that understands what’s needed. Without the hand the GUN feels cold and lonely. It won’t take any hand. The GUN wants a hand that senses down in its bones all there is to fear. Fear is what keeps a person from becoming great. The GUN knows the hand wants to settle things, here and now. The gun knows it acts as a seed when it marries the hand. A new time begins when the gun is taken. Terror dissipates and the fearless man walks forth. He carries now the answers the world doesn’t know it needs.

editors note:

Sick and sad is the nation engaged with GUN in conversation. – mh clay