featured in the poetry forum June 4, 2023  :: 0 comments

churchbells ring from the nearby shrine
through empty Sunday streets
memories of Durango and Cosenza we brought here
the bones and stone tools of mound builders & mammoth hunters
lay in display cases in the local library
as forgotten by the road builders as the ruins of Rome
or Tenochtitlan were forgotten before this
we are the wheat of civilization
it feeds on us, marches its armies on our backs
and in turn it tends us until the harvest
hungry for soil, space, thirsty, costly, and always growing

history, climate change, wilderness – the news from other countries
don’t mean much to us
we know our place in the scala naturae
we will mow our lawns, wash our cars, pay our taxes, and buy our bananas
confidant that the churchbells will keep ringing
in the distance on Sunday forever.

editors note:

Carry on, we. No bells toll for thee. (We welcome Dan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

watching Meet the Press

featured in the poetry forum January 15, 2023  :: 0 comments

watching Meet the Press
like I learned to do from my parents
drinking Sunday coffee listening
to bureaucratic buffoonery, professional pundits
insouciant propagandists who sing
a song of politics, money, deaths, and digestion.

watching Meet the Press
the hydra waits on a Florida golf course
civilized people never know how to counter
dictators… see them squeeze into a façade
smear the blood of slave-master granddads
over squinting eyes with the left hand
of right-winged eugenicists
see red blooded americans debate with hearts
of burning crosses

watching Meet the Press
my left eye involuntarily twitches
feeling for a while like I should do something
feeling as if my desire to change the empirical world
could end in anything
but two new serpent heads
with different names

editors note:

We buy that snake oil, never thinking about how it only comes from snakes. – mh clay

Up from Calumet

featured in the poetry forum September 19, 2022  :: 0 comments

Up from angled roads paved on top of ancient beach ridges
that were once the trails of indigenous people
from sedge meadows, calcareous prairies
too sandy, too wet, to plow
where sand was mined to build the railroads and highways
where king rails fish in greenish yellow slag leached marshes

Up 294 North, 80 West from Calumet
past Thornton Quarry, past Ford Motor Company
past the pig services plants
past metal scrap yards
and the Old Indian Boundary Line

past the Alsip water tower and the Swap-O-Rama red white and blue

past billboards that advertise
fireworks just over the border,
a showcase of all the local injury lawyers
who will get you the money the world owes you

past backhoes and cranes
and rows and rows of jersey barriers
past dump trucks filled with gravel to make new things
and others filled with broken pieces of old roads
to be taken away, but not very far
to join a hundred years of spoil piles
that riddle the South Side
as sure as air raid sirens will be tested on Tuesday mornings
and the coyotes will howl back at them from forest preserves
where they live unnoticed by their human neighbors
or occasionally are mistaken for dogs

The cars and semi-trucks speed directly at me
then under me, sitting in the Southland Oasis
above the overpass looking through walls
of glass at the traffic
watching the circulation of a giant heartless artery

reflections of beautiful young women moving behind me
float like ghosts in the glass… and disappear
I hear the year’s first red-winged blackbirds
far away; almost drowned out by the sound
of the traffic.

editors note:

What we can watch beside the dotted-white line. – mh clay