A legal writer considers: how long is a piece of poetry

featured in the poetry forum July 23, 2023  :: 0 comments

Addressing how long a piece of poetry is,
is tantamount to considering that age-old conundrum
of how long is a piece of string, notwithstanding, if,
in addressing the question pertaining to the length
of any given poem,
you used the aforementioned piece of string
for your determination,
you may not necessarily succeed
in the particular task of establishing the length of a poem,
for string is no measure of poetry,
but in doing so, you may
happily stumble upon the solution
to the heretofore unresolved issue pursuant
to the length of a piece of string, for,
in utilising a piece of string
to measure the length of a poem it must follow that you will have
established its length
in relation to the poem subject to your determination
and can therefore state categorically
that the length of the piece of string in question
is equivalent to the length of the poem
subject to your original enquiry.

editors note:

Strung out on legalese. Hard to kick at any length. – mh clay

Proud Mary

featured in the poetry forum August 10, 2022  :: 0 comments

Who was that?

This is her only child speaking, he with the seven children,
he without a father of his own to mention.

He saw her pointing

She, dwarfed, in her city growing,
in the shadow of the young man towering.
He with the straight back housing the battered rucksack
festooned with patches and other such knick-knack
that would plot his travels for you without your asking.

in the direction of Werburgh Street.

He was askin’

This is Mary speaking, his proud mother,
single and shamed by his conception, brave
in the face of rejection, stiffened her back
and kept him,

for directions to St Stephen’s Green.

all those years ago.

When Mary, his mother,
– not our Holy Mother, the immaculate one,
who also gave birth out of wedlock,
but our grandmother – refused

to offer up her son, our father,
to the church and state to save face and return
to a state of grace or some such nonsense.

But that’s in the opposite direction, Mam.

This is Tommy speaking again, Mary’s pride and joy.
Her world, her reason for living.
The reason she faced down the monochrome of morality.
Turned to her family

Well, Mary says to her son, her beautiful son,

– her chin tilting once more against the norm.

I don’t know where St Stephen’s Green is. But I wasn’t going to tell him that!

editors note:

It’s a challenge to give direction while holding to your own. – mh clay

A pissed-off pessimist ponders the peculiarities of New Year’s…

featured in the poetry forum December 28, 2021  :: 1 comment

New Year’s. It’s all resolutions and to-do lists.
Lists of all the things I know will be missed.
If I make one, I’m sure I’ll never find it.
It’ll hide down the back of the sofa – or behind it
Lists are bad.
Moses saw to that.
Thou shalt not covet.
Thou shalt not this or that.
Come on Mo, speak proper English.
Thou shalt not! You and your tablet!

We open the back door to let the old year out. How polite!
And then the front door to let the new one in. Big mistake!
That’s just asking for trouble. Are we missing a trick here?
What if we didn’t open the front door?
Didn’t let in the new year!
Just crouch in the corner, pretend that time has stood still.
And that no matter how bad, things can’t get any worse once we stay here.

And making resolutions is really just pre-emptive inventory of future failures and mistakes.
A rod for our backs, a Catholic kick-back for when things finally fall into place,
so we don’t lose the run, now that we’ve left the club,
and that’s the rub, you never really shake it, the guilt, and parties are great.
But the pretense of ‘bring it on’ – bring on the new year?

Come on! You know we’ll all be facing the same crap,
but with less capacity to deal with it in our delicate state.
Politicians don’t get any smarter ‘cause the world turns another revolution – Oh,
don’t mention revolution, the weak will still suffer,
policies will just get harder no matter.
So, yeah, let’s all inebriate, celebrate!
Bring on the shit storm once again, here’s to the hamster wheel, let it spin!

Let it spin, let it spin, let it spin!

editors note:

Keep it out or let it in; that wheel’s gonna spin and spin. – mh clay

I am paused.

featured in the poetry forum June 12, 2021  :: 0 comments

I am paused, it would seem.
What once thumbed eyelids open
mid-slumber to catch a phrase
in the act of art-making,
oblivious to its inopportune timing,
itself now surrenders to a vacuous torpor;
that state of being
unpossessed of the noteworthy
the mind an unoccupied territory;
a blank page
staring at its snow-blind twin
framed in a mocking mirror of doubt,
resurrecting the spectre of that
which first ever got in your way,
that sense of not belonging,
having nothing to say.

I am paused now, it seems.
And that which once closed my mind to the task,
that exclusion buffer of insecurity, inadequacy
the certainty that this role does not belong to me,
or the inverse, more accurately,
through third party prompting
no longer stands in the between,
words here trailing, to which are testimony –
I no longer hit pause – I hit start.

editors note:

Truly, much ado (eloquently uttered) about nothing. (We welcome Frank to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Do not self-isolate! (your house or your mind)

featured in the poetry forum September 7, 2020  :: 0 comments

From cave to shack to shanty
Luscious forest canopy
Humble abode, tenement slum
Brazilian hillside favelas
60’s high-rise, urban sprawl
90’s, noughties boom and bust
from all of this
our shelters from the storm evolve.

Hearth, once open,
invites only isolation in for tea –
where gadgets talk to satellites
that talk to family.
And strangers alike.
A world of breathless talkers, texters
connected, whatever.
Deaf to each other.

We have retreated inside
tongues tied by stigma,
cut adrift on a commode
of festering demons,
eyes blind
to the interconnectedness of a toilet pot;
that hub of revelation
where popes and poets
politicians and paupers
and the rest of the worst
and the best of us
the burden of stature or status,
succumb to the true nature of things
and come to understand
the great leveler of a toilet lid
in the upright position.

editors note:

As you open your eyes to this, you might want to hold your nose. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum January 26, 2018  :: 0 comments

The priest stood over me
in the name of the father

And he splashed me
in the name of the son

I screeched my protest
and still he splashed me

All stood by at the altar
as he splashed me

in the name of the holy
fucking ghost

I never asked for this appointment
never asked for this anointment

Lamb of God… he without sin…


editors note:

Sin without we, our father, etcetera. Hail mary, that’s a hoot! – mh clay