Nirvana in a Pill

featured in the poetry forum September 28, 2021  :: 0 comments

The little man with the sweetness of Nirvana written in the creases on his face had given me the pill I’d long prayed for. It was the pill with the answer to life, happiness, why we are here, why there is evil, whether there is an afterlife, how to cure the common cold, and the meaning of it all. I swallowed it down with a shot of whisky, as he had instructed, and began the 24-hour wait for it to take effect.

That night, a resonant voiceover interrupted my dreams to warn of unintended side effects. “Caution—this pill may cause blurred vision, dizziness, tortured breathing, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, diarrhea, constipation, hallucinations, palpitations, sheer frustration, indignation, anger all around the nation, strange visions, delusions of grandeur, feelings of utter despair and insignificance, nightmares, daymares, I-just-don’t-caremares, myopia, dystopia, give-up-hopia, and the common cold. If you experience any or all of these, do not call your doctor—it is too late!”

As I awoke, the strange little man’s face appeared floating in the air like a balloon. “Perhaps I should have explained that the 24-hour period for this pill to take effect is a metaphor,” he said. “The actual waiting period is an entire lifetime, from dawn to dusk of the body and soul.”

editors note:

Our daily dose can be a bitter pill. – mh clay

Life Advice

May 8, 2021  :: 0 comments

Vacationing in a small hut on the beach, or rather attending an unimportant convention, we stepped outside to a glorious morning: blazing sun, sparkling sand, gulls glinting and squawking as they swooped above, ocean waves dancing upon the beach. We began the long walk to the convention halls, my wife rapidly, impatiently ahead, gaining ground as usual. She swooped into …

Are We Poems?

featured in the poetry forum October 14, 2020  :: 0 comments

The story is writing you,
you are not writing the story.
The poem is your life
your life is not a poem.

Your life is many poems
perhaps an epic
of a wily adventurer

perhaps a sonnet
of a doomed love affair
a sun quickly setting.

Perhaps a poet is writing this
perhaps a failed comic
is stuttering it on a grand stage
as tomatoes rain down.

This poem is not being written
this poem is writing the world.

This world is only stories
this world is only dreams
an intricate bouquet of
milkweed, chicory, Joe Pye weed

that words strain to capture
flickering ghosts on a video screen

without writers there is no world
without a world no writers.

This world is flitting
always on the edge of

This world is eternal
it will outlive us all
all of us who create it.

editors note:

Gods and us, avid readers all. (This poem is included in Ethan’s recently published collection, “Words for Things Left Unsaid,” available from Kelsay Books. Read Mike Fiorito’s Mad review of it. Then get your own copy from Amazon or directly from the publisher here. Check it out!) – mh clay

Fruitflies Are Eternal, Poems Die Every Instant

featured in the poetry forum July 26, 2020  :: 0 comments

So many poets, so few readers.

Poems are born and die at an exponentially accelerating rate.

The lucky ones flock to their internet homes
where they’re downloaded by 3 people each,
glimpsed for 15 or 20 seconds,
flickering impulses of our collective conscious
lost to eternity.

Many are gorgeous
expressing the most profound impulses
of the human soul.

editors note:

Let those pleasing profundities light the luck you lift in 15 to 20 seconds. – mh clay

Ellington Lives, in Heaven, in Hell, on YouTube

featured in the poetry forum September 15, 2019  :: 0 comments

Angels dance on piano keys
spontaneous, blinding
hither and yon, traversing black and white.
Perfection in motion.

The marriage of heaven and hell
gorgeous chaos, tumultuous harmony.

A horde of horns
leaps in,
a mad chase
call and response.

Angels dance
a garden
of forking paths
a circuitous maze
each twist, turn, zig, zag, shuffle, leap, pirouette
perfectly planned.

This heavenly choir
satanic convergence
cackling cantankerous conversation
howls from hell to the heavens
in devious delight.

Our hosts from high and low
romance the raw repressed
bounce and bubble
a cacophonous choir.

Rocking in Rhythm,
summoning us all
to heaven
and beyond.

editors note:

Proof! The devil’s music? Stolen from above. – mh clay

Precarious Is an Understatement

featured in the poetry forum September 19, 2018  :: 0 comments

I am perched
atop a knife edge
balanced on a dead
tree trunk
on the lip of a volcano
suspended on a sheet of melting ice
floating on an ocean boiling with rage
itself in a miniscule depression
on a vast turtle’s back.
The turtle is
flapping its tiny flippers
desperately trying to cross
an ethereal nothingness
punctuated by wisps of mist.

There cannot be wisps in nothingness.

All of this is an illusion
conceived in the mind of a monarch butterfly
radiant with hope
or with love
or with nihilism
on the edge of extinction
perched on my nose
like a universe of feathers.

I remain teetering on the knife edge
as it cuts into the sole of my foot,
the fate of my soul
floating in
the misty, empty air.

The butterfly flutters frantically
trying to reach the end of the universe
it has itself created
but unable to lift off from my huge semitic nose.

Perhaps it is going backwards
it will die soon
it will live forever
Although if life is an illusion
then death is an illusion.

I am struggling to juggle
three flaming bowling pins.
My hands are burning.

I don’t know how long I can suppress a sneeze.

editors note: In all this tuck and tumble, we strive just to stick the landing; now this? No landing? (We welcome Ethan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Taxonomy of History

featured in the poetry forum July 11, 2018  :: 0 comments

There are three main branches in the study of History:

The History of the Past
The History of What Happened
The History of What the Hell Happened!

The last, less respected than the others, is sometimes known as The History of One Damned Thing After Another.

There are three even less reputable branches of history:

The History of the Future
The History of What Might Have Happened
The History of What Never Happened

Most historians don’t recognize these branches. Even some of the more refined poets look down upon them.

Still they are thunderstorms, pummeling fields of cantankerous, yearning weeds
young weeds that spout from drenched soil and spew outlaw seeds.

editors note:

Damn the outlaws; fix the dirt. – mh clay

The Force Is Not With Me

featured in the poetry forum April 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

I am the guy in a red shirt in every episode of Star Trek
Who dies in the first scene or two.
I am not Spock.
I am not Kirk.
I am not the guest vixen in a low-cut blouse and mini-skirt.
I am Crew Member #3.

In our own minds we are all the hero
A colossus astride history,
Xena, Warrior Princess.

* * *

A wise man
who realized his true significance in the Great Script of Life
recently threw himself in front of the morning metro train.

I was late for work.
How thoughtless of him.

editors note:

Another’s wisdom impedes us in our forward folly; heroes to die unnoticed. – mh clay